September 23, 2011

Triumph of the little people

Can I refer to all of them as 'my' children? I worked with my daughters second grade class again yesterday...they RULE!

I have been making these little sheets  for them to warm up with. It's still hard to get a room full of 2nd graders to pay attention and do the same thing. Actually, it is pretty funny how much they DON'T listen.
I tell them to copy the box above, line, tone, shading, gradation, contrast, crosshatching, dots,erasing etc. Copy that first and remember guys: you need to develop your hand mussels to draw these kinds of lines, just like leg mussels for soccer, or arm mussels for tetherball or arm wrestling. I am promoting specific muscular development as much as I am trying to develop their keen little eyes. 

 I'm not using gimmicks, and the results may be hard to measure, but through these basic warm ups and looking and drawing projects - they are learning to observe.

Each class we start with the warm up lines and different ways of making marks with the pencil. It's like learning the alphabet. What can a pencil do and how they can control that.

Then we do blind contours. They are understanding the concept so much more this week. It is an  emotional thing for me to see this transformation happening because, if they practice this, if they get comfortable with this way of looking and drawing, they will be able to draw ANYTHING for the rest of their lives.

Draw what you see, not what you think you see. Look with your eyes, not with your brain.


I believe a foundation in art begins with learning how to observe. 

I wanted to say to them that there is no right or wrong way to make art, just different ways. But, it is a discipline like math or english, and as much as it benefits a person to learn to spell, and put sentences together - knowing how to observe, and translate those observations into drawings will be an invaluable ability.  

Why? Why do we write? Why do we do math? They are navigational tools, communication systems. They allow us to innovate and explore, to quantify and record. 
Art is that and so much more.

I see it as a back and forth. You learn how to look at a thing like it was the first time you ever saw it, and with virgin eyes you explore it's nuances while recording it with your pencil.

Then you learn how to generalize, you gather general information and techniques that help describe the object faster. I think for me, its this back and forth, between the general and the specific, the trained and the innovated, the method and the made up that produces the drawings with the most integrity.

By blocking out an object in general shapes on a page they are starting to experience an awareness of the general form of a thing, they are stretched beyond the attraction point, the thing that catches their eye and need to think about the whole first. Think of this in terms of the rest of ones life. Looking at the big picture first, positioning the framework then go for the details. 

And then there's  that thing called perspective. An individual point of view...and in my opinion, there's nothing better for these guys to explore than the concept that there are other perspectives out there and most are not exactly alike and this is a good thing. If you accept that someone else's perspective is just more information about the object or subject of your mutual exploration - you're on your way to having allot better time on this planet I think. 

I need to listen to myself here right now. PAY ATTENTION Holly.

At the end of the class I had them all draw me, from their own smart, sweet, oh so talented perspectives of course.

I am so glad I was wearing stripes!

No comments:

Post a Comment