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I'm always amazed at the mix I get in my advanced art class. A handful
of AP studio kids who have good to fantastic drawing skills, a majority
of those who just love art and aren't too sharp in their skills and
about 5 to 8 total goof-offs who just got passed along.
A book I like to use that works with this diverse group is Bert
Dodson's "Keys to Drawing" (paperback). I think someone else in the
group mentioned it at another time.You can practically go through the
book...even read parts of it to the students as they work. I also use it
for my beginners.
I just finished a class I took in figure painting at the Art Institute
of Southern Calif. in Laguna Beach.(What a great school!!!) Anyway, we
discussed a lot of books. The instructor was Micheal Jaucques....a local
artist and superb teacher. He had us bring books on our favorite artists
and look carefully at their work and analyze it.
I always have students look at artists' work but this year we will be
really taking the work apart. I plan to have them cut up copies of art
reproductions to separate the large shapes, rework them into a new
composition. Also having them sketch in black watercolor or thinned
tempera from badly xeroxed (set the controls too dark) of art
reproductions so they can see the main shapes and begin to analyze
balance and repetition in the compositions.
Another book we looked at was "My Way With Watercolor" by Claude Croney.
He shows some good examples of doing small sketches of shapes as value
and composition studies. The book is a bit dated but has some great examples.
You can never underestimate the value of drawing for your students. I
plan a lot of thematic lessons with lots of tie-ins to artists and
issues but this year I am putting more emphasis on basic skills.
Corona del Mar High School
Newport Beach, CA
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