Sunday, March 17, 2013

Focus on Art: Still Life

A few days ago I had the first in what I hope will become a popular series of programs.  The program, called Focus on Art, is advertised for students in grades 5-12.  I had five children registered for this month’s event.  Two attended.  While the group was smaller than I had hoped, we had a lot of fun.

The program’s focus will, of course, be on art; however, each month the topic will be different.  For the first three sessions the themes are, in order: Still Life, Abstract, and Portraits.

For the Still Life session I purchased several drawing pencils (B2) and art gum erasers.  Due to the Open Art Studio programs, I already had various sizes of drawing paper. 

The program began with a drawing exercise.  Each attendee is given a piece of scrap paper.  In this case they were storytime plans from a few years ago.  I give them a series of commands, such as write a letter/an initial, draw a line, draw a shape, color in a shape, make a border, etc.  This is done on the side of the page that has writing or a picture already on it. The commands can be anything dealing with drawing.  After each command they switch papers.  At the end, making sure every participant has a different paper than she began with, they rip up the page.  You can further the exercise by then making collages using the torn paper and magazines.

Next I talked about the topic, giving them an overview and showing examples.  I explained how art can often be learned and better understood by mimicking other works.  We then started the creative portion of the program by choosing one of the samples and drawing them in our own style.

I was impressed!  Both girls did a wonderful job of making their own versions of the artwork.  I only wish I took photos before they left.  Must remember to do that next month!

I found the book What is a Still Life? to be very helpful.  It is written for a younger audience, making it easy to understand, and has a lot of great examples of various types of still life.   

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