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Lesson Plans

drawing still life

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Rosa Juliusdottir (rojul)
Fri, 22 Nov 1996 22:13:43 GMT

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I really would like to add a few lines to the discussion on still life
drawing. I do think that a very important factor is to make the students
make their own still life, by that I mean f.example; I always have a large
assortment of bottles and containers, jars and things like that in my art
room. And when we do still life I do use Giorgio Morandi ( an italian
artist very well known for his wonderful still life paintings ), after
showing his works and telling the students about him( it does help that I
did study and live in the same city as he,Bologna Italy), in a group of
four or so they choose a few bottles etc. and make their own still life and
then draw it in the style of Morandi which was a very simple style and
seems to appeal to kids, then they get to make a still life painting in his
style as well, very subtle earth colours, they love it, and those who want
to use different colour scheme certainly can. We must never forget that
artmaking is an adventure or should be. I have had students of all ages do
still life alla Morandi, and even the youngest ones in collage, and they
have all loved it and made beautiful works. I feel when I follow some of
the discussions here that I ask myself are we remembering that apart from
teaching our student art and all the other things they can learn through
it, it must also be fun!. Regards from Iceland, Rosa
I have had the same experience with 5th through 8th graders and still
life drawings. One day, in something akin to desperation, I stumbled
onto still life drawing with a twist. I have the kids choose from a
collection of "grab bags" and then design their own still life.

First, assemble odds and ends you think might be interesting for drawing
(I used alot of things from my junk drawer at home); things like...a
collection of realistic plastic insects or reptiles... nuts, bolts and
other hardware...buttons, spools of thread, a thimble...silverware and
odd kitchen gadgets...small tools from the toolbox...old miniature toys
(I used an old miniature teaset that was my daughter's, and in another
bag some matchbox cars).... You get the idea.
Put the different collections in brown paper lunch or grocery bags
(depending on the size of the items).

Assemble a variety of drawing media including charcoal,
graphite, colored pencils, pastels, etc.

Divide the class into groups (groups of four worked well). Each group
picks a bag and drawing media to use. As a group they must set up a
still life using the items in the bag and draw it using chosen media.
If you have alot of time, you can play art trivia to determine which
group chooses first, second, etc. I have also used this process and then
photographed the assembled still lives, had slides made, projected images
onto canvas and groups worked on photorealist paintings (after looking at
work of Richard Estes and Audrey Flack.

I love some of the other ideas like using teddy bears, plastic animals,
or small motors. Can't wait to try them!!>

Ruth Voyles
The Toledo Museum of Art
The University of Toledo

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