Let them do magazine collages...or cutting construction paper and making
pictures...or gluing wood scraps to create a sculpture...then shut the door
and let them work. I feel that you've got to show them that art is a class
where they can succeed when they can't in other classes.
But one of the best things I've done with classes like this is what I
call...."Paint Together". I set up an easel and paint whille they paint at
their tables...but they have to do what I do because we are painting
together...actually, I paint, then they paint...so I'm demonstrating and
they're copying me. I usually do landscapes where there's not a lot of
detail painting at first...more wet into wet and color mixing, especially
right on their paper.
The first lesson I do with just one color and black and white....blue works
good for this...and I get the paint palettes and as much other stuff ready
before class, if possible. I take paper palettes (folded slick magazine
pages, school book covers that are left over, or paper plates) and squirt
out the blue, white and black. We use large bristle brushes...not the soft
brushes used for water color.
I discuss background, middle ground, and foreground...and VALUES. We start
with the background or sky...and I pick up some blue and some white,
encouraging them to keep the sky light...then move on to the middle ground,
using middle values, and then on to foreground with brighter, purer colors.
We use a little black to add shadows or darker values.
I like to do water scenes....sky (and I show them how to add clouds),
background and middle ground trees, water with reflections, then add boats,
etc...then foreground of bushes, ground, trees, tents, rocks, and any other
details depending on amount of time.
Even the WORST class should like this. And then we follow up with a "paint
together" using red, yellow, blue, white and black...and usually do a farm
scene...with trees, barns, fences, rocks, etc.
And then I have lots of photographs (could substitute pictures from
calendars or magazines) and have them do one of their own.
If you have 40 -45 minutes classes, do 9x12...if more time, use 12x18 paper.
I've don't like to use written art for punishment, because they would tend
to associate writing in art as punishment and it's not . If I'm going to
use something "written"...then it's usually on something else...something
they have to think about...like "The Most Important Person in Their Life" or
"Things I would Change in the School if I Were Principal", etc.
Also, when I have them write something, it's not the length that's
important, but just the fact that they are having to stop art and write.
If I have to stop someone and have them write...I ask them to write one page
on "the most important person in their life" (and you need to always read
what they write...it will surprise you) and when they finish, they can go
back to their art.
Kinston High School
Kinston NC (where the water's high and rising!)
>How do you feel about certain real, out of control classes that can't
>art, (fighting, yelling, profanities,etc.) and the teacher has given
>up--well; you get the idea...I was thinking of giving them written work
>instead of hands on art projects.. Has any of you ever done this? I
>despise doing this, but some of my classes are really HORRID (8th grade
>especially). There are a few good kids that I feel real sorry for. I just
>don't think the bad ones deserve art.
>What would YOU do if you were ME?!?!
>Thanks in advance-it means a lot!!