Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Running Into Former Students at Otis

I love it when I run into my former students at Otis, now full-time students in the BFA program. (I love it even more when I can remember their names!)

Last week, I separately ran into two former students. One had been in my beginning drawing class in Summer of Art, where he was clever, funny, and very hard-working. The other had been in both my beginning and advanced Saturday portfolio development classes. In my class he was quiet, thoughtful, and hard-working. These were two students with very different backgrounds and personalities.

Whenever I have the lovely occasion to see my former students, I always make sure to ask them if they are happy at the college; if the program is giving them what they want and need. I always ask. And I always get the same reply: "Yes!"

I love it when my enthusiasm for something is reciprocated. The reward is great, knowing I've helped someone achieve a place where they can, with a smile on their face, say, "Yes, I'm happy."

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Drawing, Side by Side

CoachArt improves the quality of life for children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses and their siblings by providing free lessons in the arts and athletics.

The other day I showed you my 11-year-old student's drawing.

Now, here is her
9-year-old brother's
drawing of the same
vase of ivy, bird of
paradise, etc

In case you misssed his sister's drawing, here it is:

We meet, the three of us, once a week. I love how we sit side by side, drawing and talking, looking at the exact same objects, and end up with very different-looking drawings.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

How to Start an Oil Pastel Drawing

This post is in response to a student who will be missing class this Saturday. (Darn that PSAT.) We'll be starting color, using oil pastels.

I rarely demonstrate for my students. I prefer for them to jump in, up to their necks, splash around, and figure things out. I want their drawings to look like their drawings, not mine. But for the beginning of our exploration into color, I do demonstrate. A little. Another reason I don't demonstrate very often is that I simply LOVE to draw. I will draw, and draw, and draw, my students waiting patiently behind me, while I have a jolly time all the way. But instead, my students could have been at work on their own drawings, having their own jolly good time.

So now, a quick example from a student:

This is the first step in a well developed, beautifully mixed, oil pastel color drawing.

We start with white and two blues. We begin to build the form of the objects, making them appear 3-dimensional. Remember how we used the eraser to create lights in the charcoal drawings? Now use the white pastel.

Think about the form (shape) of the object and how the object turns away from the light source. As it turns away, it will get darker. Switch to the middle-blue pastel. Then, as it gets really in shadow, switch to the darker blue.

BUT WATCH OUT! Don't let your color get too thick! Notice in the example how the grey paper is always showing through. You aren't creating a blue drawing - just a beginning of form. Lots more needs to happen with all those beautiful colors in your box. If you get the blues too heavy, your final drawing will look either childlike or muddy.

Look back up that blue and white drawing. Notice the color on the Easter egg? Now look at the drawing below:

That same Easter egg is now a reddish-orange. She used a little of the compliment (or opposite) in the darkest areas of that egg. The opposite of red is green; yellow - purple; orange - blue.

Now look at that little yellow cube. Look again. One more time. Is it gorgeous? Yes! Is it gorgeous because a little plastic cube is an amazingly interesting object? No. It is gorgeous because she slowly built up color (blue, white, pink, purple, orange) in the darker spots, and used the local color (yellow) to unify them. The only place where it's just yellow is in the brightest spots where the light shines directly on it.

And be sure, before you go off to start your own amazing drawing, that you take a close look at browns in the little wooden block.