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Re: Another Still Life Question

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lindwood_at_TeacherArtExchange
Date: Sat May 29 2004 - 13:14:36 PDT


I remember having to do a stlll life painting with wine bottles and
apples when I was in HS. I hated it. Sooooo boring to me. But, had my
teacher opened up the possibilites of turning it into something like a
non represenational color assignment, or a complementary color thing, or
something more than just copy the bottles and apples thing, I might have
enjoyed it. Mostly I remember thinking that wine bottles and apples
were so "has been." I try very hard to make the objects in my still
life set ups appeal to kids, whatever the age. I am following this
thread even though it is for HS and I teach Elementary and MS. I don't
think it matters what age we are talking about. You have to make the
setup interesting, not SO challenging that it is torture, but
challenging enough to be interesting. The fabrics, textures, objects,
and spatial arrangements in the set up determine whether it is fun or
not, just as the media used, and the choices allowed for kids to find a
way to enjoy still life. I think my kids loved it. I hope so. We
worked on them at the beginning of the year for about 3 to 4 weeks. I
think that if I can find some quirky items to include, some beautiful
things, etc, there is a larger likelihood that kids will be captivated
by the setup. I also have my kids use viewfinders to isolate a portion
of a large still life and help them enlarge it proportionally on their
paper. That way they can choose the part that they really enjoy looking
at and we get a lot of variety in their drawings. I showed kids a lot
of different still life paintings with a wide variety of styles before
we went to work. In my classes, I try to alternate observational
drawing experiences with imaginative or more abstract experiences. I was
shocked by how well some of the kids who can't draw from their
imaginations could draw like champs when drawing from observation. I
tell them all that the observation will strengthen their imaginative
drawings. That helps some of the kids who quite vocally prefer to draw
from their imaginations to find a reason to draw from observation.
Otherwise, for some of them, it seems like torture, at least at first.

Linda Woods

Visit our student's web art gallery at St.John's School

www.sjs.org
 click on "Stories of SJS," click on "Arts Stories," click on Linda
Woods' name. View artwork by Lower, and Middle School students as well
as our art archives.

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