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I let my high school Art II students paint covers for the art classroom
stools every year. They have to pick a famous artist that no one else has
already chosen, and paint the stool cover as either:
1. a reproduction of one of the artist's paintings
2. a combination painting containing elements characteristic of his or her
3. a work of their own in the particular artist's style.
My less motivated students always fight to get people like Pollack, Stella,
Mondrian, Albers .... anyone whose work looks "simple" to the casual,
Aren't they surprised (and many of their classmates) at how many days they
labor over their 15" circular panting? Then, after a week or so as they humbly
work, I very informally explain to them the philosophy behind each style and
how the artists worked to arrive there, etc.
They really listen, they really learn, and it improves their philosophies. The
reason "hands on" education works, right? I like to think it even makes them
want to work harder and accept more difficult challenges in the future.
I don't think they'll be the person stand in an art museum or even in front of
another student's work and saying,"Even I could have done that!"
That one always ruffles my feathers a tad, too. I just try and remember how it
reflects on the speaker. DUH!