look-see-draw-move to the seat to your left-keep going

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This is the last week of school and the group has mastered technique. They developed skill. We have a couple of days left in the semester and I take the opportunity to one more time (this semester) get students out of their comfort zone. It’s invigorating for everyone.

This still-life is made up of a variety of shoes (familiar objects). Some students lend their shoes (for added color and shape). This is the first assignment where I instruct everyone to move quick(er). I remind them to look and as usual tell them to put down what they see. I call time and have them move to the seat to their left. They do not take their own supplies with them. They use what is in their neighbors supply box. I meander through the group and  when the student appears ready, I hand him or her color-pastel. No one has used color in this class.

By the time we are complete everyone has moved emotion aside, eased into the exercise, used color pastel, and made quicker decisions (utilized confidence).

Can you see each drawing has at least 4 pairs of hands in it?

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looking closely and the value of seeing

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It seems right that this last weekend, on an early morning run, I find two objects ↑. The small, golden pinecone catches my attention as it shimmers in the grass. The larger pinecone waits for me at the end of my run. I bring both of them to my studio and consider the following Monday (that would be yesterday) we’ll be holding our first semester critique. And the subject-matter is the pinecone.

A sign of good things to come?  Oh yes!


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Here is my new group. Their completed drawings fill the wall behind them. We critique, among other things, some fine pinecones yesterday.

The first full assignment of the semester is a contour study of a complex natural object. You’ll see students give me more than that. Yes – note the fluid lines! I am  pleased with their careful observation and drawing. This is the first time they use markers to start and complete a work.

For many of them this is the first time they spend so much time looking at one thing (at least 9 hours if not more). One student asks if she can keep her pinecone. I tell her she can keep it if she has bonded with it. I have! I spent a lot of time with it. This is the value of looking and really seeing – I think out loud.

Here are some of the pinecones as well as some homework assignments (subject-matter of their choice). Note the titles…they tell you something about the group.

Yes…we are off to a great start!

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Sofia’s Pinecone

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Jennifer’s Separation

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Nati’s The thing….

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Gabreila’s Life Lesson

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Bravilio’s Nature

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Sofia’s Pineapple, Strawberry and Lemon

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Nati’s Lemon or Lime

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Matt’s  Orange you glad I drew this?

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Yari’s Y el aguacate?

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Gabriela’s The Pain of My Eyes

I also have a couple of returning students. And while they pick up where they left off last semester and use mixed media, they have to keep focus on the line.

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Neomi’s Through Life

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Gwynn’s Charcoal drawing

keep up the practice!

One looks, looks long, and the world comes in. – Joseph Campbell  


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Before the final critique begins I watch and listen as students appreciate each other’s work and note their individual progress. Some students remember how nervous they were on the first day of class when I said they would not be using any pencil in my drawing class.

It takes a while but finally I get them to organize so we can begin class.

IMG_5465It’s been a good semester. This group is full of personality and support for each other. Here are a few highlights from yesterday’s critique.

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Adriana’s Master’s Reproduction

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Angie’s first value study – cloth and pattern and knot

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Popay’s value study, cloth, pattern and knot

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Cassidy’s Black Teapot

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JT”S Gorilla Skull

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Angie’s Pitcher Study

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Vicki’s Teapot

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Popay’s Still-Life

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Mariah’s Gorilla Skeletal Study

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….. over and out. Keep up the practice! I yell as they exit the studio.

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more seeing

When it comes to value, that’s when we find out why most paintings are boring and others will knock your socks off. Harley Brown


This assignment is not just a Value study, it’s also the student’s first complete Charcoal (or color Pastel) drawing. They work at controlling a medium that is not easy to control, in relation to the marker they just left behind. They can move this medium, pick it up, and put more of it down. They pay attention to the surface. They learn to develop edges. This is about the time many students stop taking breaks, and the classroom gets very quiet. They focus. I particularly enjoy the intensity of class at this point.

I ask them for a different sort of seeing. Most of the students are drawing in Charcoal and have to translate a color into a value. They explore lights and darks and shadow. A few students work in color Pastel.

They’ve learned to look closely and now their seeing is so much more heightened.

Ivon

Kim

Art

Yeda

Erica

Julieta

wanted for messing with charcoal and pastel

The semester is unusual in that I only have 4 female students in the class.  What’s more unusual, none of them are present at the start of critique, this week. Eventually one of the women does show up. Better late than never.
In the meantime, we have fun with the class photo.  We create a line up. The only thing these men are guilty of, is drawing with charcoal and pastel.

Critique is good. Everyone appreciates the finished drawings….they’re strong compositions. We discuss the challenge of the material, that everyone experiences. We discuss the variety of the values, and the surface of the drawing. We talk about how realistic something appears in terms of the cloth, and we talk about space, layers, and edges.
I’ve discussed this assignment before (11/30.2009). We’re in the midst of working with value. It’s the first real charcoal drawing many of the Drawing 1 students have ever worked on (keep this in mind when you see their work below). One advanced student works in color, with pastels. They complete a value scale right before starting the still life. They know by the time the value scale is finished , elbow grease will be required, from this point forward. Also necessary and in development, is another form of patience.  It seems they just learned to control the marker, and now they have to let that go…because charcoal…has it’s own very unique challenges, in terms of trying to control it.  It goes everywhere.

I always notice the class, in general, becomes more quiet with the charcoal studies.

Davin and Misty


Max

Rachel

In all honesty, I find it very hard to be in the classroom teaching, on some days.  I want to be drawing too…that’s what watching the students learn this particular medium especially, does to me.

Warren

Kevin

Andrew

Arturo

 

Davin, Drawing 2

The end of semester is quickly approaching. One more drawing, and one more critique.