Otis symbolizes many good memories of our kid’s elementary school. It was then, a small neighborhood school which was warm, diverse and caring, under the leadership of a terrific principal who greeted each child and parent every morning and at dismissal by name.
An owl is still the school mascot. My husband carved this one in 1993. It was a time when our entire family including grandparents, spent many hours with special art projects, art fairs, musical performances, PTA events and a host of exhausting but fun school volunteer activities. A golden time.
I love to pre-prepare my sketchbook with various media to kick-start a creative page. Of course, there is nothing wrong with sketching directly onto a blank page, but a wet into wet watercolor wash is every so much more exciting to play with. The above face rendered in blues, is the result of a wet into wet blend. The second, in the violet family, is an ink into wet watercolor. The actual sketching worked many days after the prep, is quick and rendered simply in pastel pencil. ~Fun~
Any memories of a pear, a Chianti bottle, and a bicycle wheel propped, draped, lit, and placed in front of you on a rainy Monday morning? Ring any bells? Art class and the mandatory still life.
What I think makes this time-honored and very useful drawing exercise somewhat more interesting, is the freedom to choose the elements and choose the placement of the elements. Kind of a no brainer. So, here is a time-worn marionette, a war-torn miniature bird house, and a pig candle. Two twelve-year-old friends agreed upon these objects and took charge of the composition. Point# 1:Participation equals investment.
Point# 2: The approach is similar but the two drawings are so very delightfully different from one another. Both are well done. Both artists have had the same instruction. They are the same age. But look at how each work conveys the sensibilities of each artist. Look at the expressions of the marionette faces in the drawings. One artist made a choice to ignore the drape, the other made it part of the composition. One chose to embellish the marionette’s clothing, and the other chose to ignore the pattern on the shirt. One has marionette strings and the other has no strings. Look at the unique energy of the pencil strokes in each drawing.
My mantra in the studio is “draw what you see with your eyes, not with the shortcut your brain wants you to take”, and that’s good advice I think, for an exercise in drawing. Ultimately however, our eyes need our brains and we do see differently. I find this fact absolutely thrilling.
Nice work Kate and Audrey!
Were you the kid who got lost in your paint, glue, and other art materials? I mean it literally. Maybe you know a child who sees her own body as an extension of her paper or canvas or sculpture. While her peers are relatively neat and disciplined about their creative work, this child jumps right into the creative process in such an intuitive manner that she seems to lose the boundaries of her creation.
I’ve seen just about all methods of making art. One is not “better” than the other, though there seems to be a common characteristic among most of the miniature mess machines (and I mean that affectionately). Kids that “jump right into” the work, all seem to have a very strong sense of design. They also seem to be less interested in figurative representations, and more interested in intuitively dividing space with expressive color, line, pattern, and or texture. Most are pretty independent and let any adult in the room know that their particular process is necessary! This immersion method, if you will, has nothing to do with impulsivity or lack of attention span, rather it is more about spontaneity and self-satisfaction in building a few strong separate elements, not necessarily with the “finish” of the work in mind, though there is almost always a finished piece.
These assertions I have just made about this kind of artistic process are by no means scientific. They are just observations gleaned from watching children, create (my own included). There are many different styles of visual art and there are just as many ways to go about learning to make it. Therefore, if you know a child who needs a bath after an art project, celebrate her passion. This child is little by little, building a joyfully solid artistic foundation by taking the process in on her own terms and essentially teaching herself. A wonderful learning style.
I would like to thank Audrey. She is an intuitive creator, and the artist who made the beautiful paintings above;her hand as well as the painting directly under her hand. When she has finished the canvas painting, I hope that Audrey will allow me to publish a complete image of that piece as well:)
The title of Callie’s piece is “Tortured Fruit”. A really fine acrylic painting that beautifully depicts the actual unfortunate fruit. Callie achieved the realistic effects in this work through a series of acrylic washes. This is a time-honored technique of the “Old Masters” tweaked for the materials we use in 2011. I think she created a fabulous painting.
Most students are back at school. The September phase that I like to call “transition” is in place. It’s the settling in period- for parents, college students, and K-12’s alike. Teachers must experience this too. It’s about becoming comfortable with new terrain. In my experience, “transition” seems to last approximately two weeks.
I’ve played with a couple of visual translations of the “transition” state. They are all digital illustrations, and I’ve included the steps in the process of making them.
I’d love to illustrate your “transition” stories throughout the month of September. So, leave me a comment describing how you’re feeling about going back to school. How was the first day? Do you find yourself lodging with a particularly interesting new roommate? Will the first day of middle school vividly reside in your memory forever? Have you recently graduated, but still feel the pull of this back to school passage? Parents, teachers, you count too. How are you feeling about this annual autumnal migration?
Sketches brought to you by the glories of Photoshop and Wacom tablets: