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Re:[teacherartexchange] still life drawing

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From: Melissa Smith (melissasmi_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Thu Jul 21 2005 - 17:17:03 PDT


For high school Art I still life, I start with a container for each of my
six tables which contains similar simple objects, primarily white kitchen
objects/gadgets found at dollar stores (spoons, ladles, measuring spoons,
scissors, etc.) I select white objects to start with to avoid students
confusing value with color. Students start by selecting at least 3 objects
to arrange in a simple still life (right there on their table) that includes
overlapping of objects. They make 4 different small (4" x 5") line sketches
(which means they trade and exchange objects with others at their table)
that deals primarily with the problem of composition (where it is placed on
the picture plane). They then choose the "best" composition of their four
sketches to go further with. I ask them to confer with me on this and
almost always we both select the same "best" composition...this makes them
realize they have an "eye" to select a "good composition". This process
allows the student to select and arrange their own composition, to observe
others around them selecting and creating compositions, and allows them to
make a decision/choice about their final composition. (I find choice is
key....for me as well)

Once the composition is selected, students make 3 images based on this one
still life composition: a simple pencil line drawing, a pencil value
drawing (this is the one and only time they re-use a composition by
tracing....sorry if you're offended!), and then a monochromatic painting of
the same composition. These are all small, 8 x 11's, but when completed and
matted sequentially, the process is clear. I've actually had students say,
"Hey, I get what we did!" With this one exercise, we touch on all of the
Elements of Art for the first time in the course.

(I am trying not to think about school and focusing on my own painting daily
in my studio....but felt compelled to share.)
Cheers. Melissa

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