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So glad to hear other HS teachers are having problems with horizon lines,
bright blue skies, strips of blue and green; well, not GLAD, I guess,
just relieved. I thought maybe I wasn't teaching something correctly.
After years of struggling, including painting and sketching and lecturing
outside, this year I gave each student a color landscape photo (like from
a calendar) cut in half and told them to use that as the basis for their
landscapes. Since they only had half, they would have to finish the
other half. These were overall the most successful landscapes I've seen.
Yes, I did have to point out the actual color of the sky in their photos
to a few of them, but something about having it right there in front of
them seemed to make the difference, even more so than working outside.
I've noticed a lot of beginning students have trouble observing and
drawing/painting from life, which I stress, but less so working from
photographs (which I explain is the next best thing). Of course, then I
have to deal with the issue of copying someone else's art work vs.
changing it to make it their own, then I have to argue that photographs
are indeed works of art...ad nauseum