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Old 02-27-2002, 02:55 PM   #1
Jesse C. Draper Jesse C. Draper is offline
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star Teaching




I gathered from reading the posts that many of the members of this Forum teach art lessons. I've been asked to teach some young art students.

What priciples do you think should be taught in early lessons to children? What lessons should be taught to young teenagers that have had no art direction up to this point but draw and paint all the time.

What are some of the teachings that really helped you take control of your art. Who inspired you to be artists?

Does anyone have any good lesson plans they could share with me? Any feedback about any of these points would be greatly apprecitated. Thank you.
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Old 03-05-2002, 01:00 PM   #2
Morris Darby Morris Darby is offline
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idea Teaching kids

Hi Jessie,

Recently, I had the opportunity to sketch a charcoal of a children's book author for the author's fan club. I did it from a picture in front of the class during which I entertained questions. While each question emerged, I realized children sense the difference between sloppy modern art...and fine art. They know it takes years to master certain principles. I was amazed. And being in the educational arena, I have seen the budget cuts in art year after year. It is hardly being taught anymore (in this area). So, I started them with the color wheel. Primary, secondary, and tertiary colors. Then encouraged them to practice accuracy in drawing.

Teens, I have found, usually need work on composition. This is something most artists struggle with for the longest time (namely ME!) I still don't think I could make a teaching course of composition. If I had to teach a group of teens, I would take a styrofoam head used for displaying wigs and have them work on shading, blending, light/shadow, reflected light, etc.

Teaching kids is a perfect opportunity to show them basic steps that work and tell them from experience that it takes hard work to produce a fine image.
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Old 03-10-2002, 01:06 AM   #3
Mary Reilly Mary Reilly is offline
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Hi Jesse,

I used to give lessons in my studio for ages 12 thru adult. The teenagers were my favorite! I found that setting up still-lifes using objects they could identify with worked great. Have each teen bring in an object that is meaningful to them. What fun to have a still-life that might include a teddybear, a baseball mitt, car keys, a track-shoe, etc. Trying to pull it all together in a pleasing set-up can be a class lesson in and of itself. With everyone sharing an opinion of where each object should be placed - all kinds of discussions can ensue concerning composition etc. A true learning experience for all and a challenge for the teacher! The teens feel such a part of the set-up right from the beginning that the enthusiasm carrys over into the painting process.

There is also a wonderful book (if you can find it) by Maitland Graves on the art of composition and design. It goes over the elements and principles of design, and makes a wonderful basis for lesson plans. I found mine in a used book store.

Hope this helps,
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Old 03-12-2002, 04:09 AM   #4
Lon Haverly Lon Haverly is offline
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In my view, kids need structure. And that is what is lacking in most art classes. "Do your own thing" will not make the artist. Learning to draw takes methodology, structure, and correction. Like learning to write.

It is my desire to create a curriculum for second graders on drawing, because I believe every child can learn to draw. If they are taught to use a 4B pencil lead to it's maximum potential, they will be way ahead of the game. They can learn to use a sand paper block to sharpen their leads. They can learn to crerate nice shade lines with different values. They can learn to vary the pressure, and create expression. They can learn perspective. Basic portrait theory. Eye training. Copying good and simple drawings is helpful. Find some good books with quality lines and shade techniques. If they can learn to draw with good lines, they can learn all the other things. The line is the thing.

I was learning basic portrait theory at age seven. I could not execute well, but I learned things that I never forgot. Just like learning to write. Children cannot execute well for years. And they could never teach themselves. It takes trained teachers, methods and time. And we don't give up. We spend years patiently training them. There were no short cuts to learning good penmenship. Neither to good drawing.
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Old 03-12-2002, 10:25 AM   #5
Cynthia Daniel Cynthia Daniel is offline
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I have some good news & some bad news

Lon,

Regarding structure in an art class, I will tell you a little story.

As a child, I loved to draw. I remember in 3rd grade, for homework, the teacher asked us to draw and color some birds from a book. The other children accused me of tracing, which hurt my feelings terribly...it was the best in the class. But, those who accused me never believed I had not traced.

Later, in high school, I took Art 101. We learned color wheel, complementary colors, graying, etc. Then one day, sitting in the classroom, the teacher told us our assignment for the day was to paint a landscape. That's it, just paint a landscape out of our head! Can you imagine! We weren't even given anything to look at.

Of course, at the tender age of 13, I thought I had to dream up some clever landscape, something unique that had never been done before. I couldn't think of something and consequently, I was totally paralyzed. I sat the full class fighting back tears. I passed the class with a B and vowed to never take another art class again, and I didn't.

The good news for me and others is that I now apply my aesthetic urges to this web site, bringing enjoyment to many. Though, being a web designer (I don't call myself that) isn't nearly as esteemed as being an accomplished painter.

(I also could have easily been an interior designer. I'm very talented in that. Now that I'm designing web sites, I don't have to spend nearly as much money on my decor to get my "fix"...phew!)
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Old 03-12-2002, 12:54 PM   #6
Jesse C. Draper Jesse C. Draper is offline
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Competition

First off I would like to say thank you all for the responces.
I have another question that Cynthia's post made me think about. Is it better to be taught individually or in a large group? Is competition among classmates a good thing? I have seen some very good artists give up painting because of some very poor public school structure. Art really is a subjective thing. I remember having similar experiences that Cynthia did. Kids can be very cruel. Is it better to teach kids in smaller groups so that there can be more one on one time? I remember always learning more when I was working with just one teacher.
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Old 03-12-2002, 03:51 PM   #7
Lon Haverly Lon Haverly is offline
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I was taught in my grandfather's art school. There was a limit of ten per class, but usually about six. It was ideal. We could learn from each other, and have some fun on the side. It was very social. But we had individual teaching from the teacher as well, as he would come around to each of us in turn and give us individual attention. Private lessons have never worked for me as an art teacher. There is something missing. It is easier to tell a classroom about technique then an individual. It is less intimidating to the individual.
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Old 03-16-2002, 12:00 PM   #8
Anne Hall Anne Hall is offline
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Observations on childhood art lessons

Jessie, starting at at seven, I had a wide variety of art lesson experiences, starting with group classes at museum schools in Newport, RI and Charleston, SC. In the sixth grade I met every week with an artist for private lessons. A lot of what I learned in that setting was from watching her work on my paintings (perhaps out of her frustration with my immature efforts!). In middle school I had private lessons in a small group selected by our art teacher. In high school it was back to the museum school for group lessons, and so on through college classes, adult education and workshops from five to sixty people in size.

With that as background I would like to offer two observations:

First: Competitiveness is part of the human condition. In some settings, I have been among the best and in some the weakest at a given task. I had a classmate in second grade who was masterful in drawing King Kong and Godzilla and to this day I remember the awe I felt at his skill. I didn't want to draw those subjects but I wanted to draw as well as he did. So draw I did, at every recess, to the point where the school complained to my parents that I had used up the year's classroom supply of newsprint in two months! I was completely spurred by competitiveness. (My father, bless his heart, declared that paper was cheap and that he would buy as much as was needed to keep me drawing.) My point here is that seeing what other people do can be so inspiring. As a teacher, you can set the tone by emphasizing that we have each been endowed with individual abilities that are ours to develop and that our best efforts are all worthy of respect.

Second: regardless of the setting, the most important thing a teacher can do for any student is convey the sense "you can do it." I have had that wonderful thrill in a huge crowd and in one-on-one encounters. Sometimes I can tell myself this but I never tire of having a mentor remind me.

Your students are lucky to have you care so much.
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Old 03-16-2002, 01:49 PM   #9
Debra Norton Debra Norton is offline
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Anne Hall said
Quote:
A lot of what I learned in that setting was from watching her work on my paintings (perhaps out of her frustration with my immature efforts!).
Jesse,

I can really relate to Anne's experience. I had a teacher when I was in ninth grade decide I needed a wash on the sky of my "beautiful" horse drawing. So he grabbed my paper, put a wash across it, and ran a blue steak down the middle of my white horse. I was devasted and angry! But too timid to complain about it. Then to make matters worse, somebody stole it out of my locker. Never did figure out why somebody would want a horse with a blue streak.

That stuck in my mind when it comes to teaching. I've had teachers grab my paint brush and paint on my oil paintings too(without asking permission.) Whenever that happens, the "me" is lost out of my artwork and I figure the best thing to do is learn from it, and go on. But I could never claim the painting as my own afterwards.

There are ways to get around that. Laying a piece of acetate or tracing paper over a drawing and making the changes on the covering shows the student what they need to see without messing with their work, then they can make the changes themselves, and learn from it. This works well for drawing, and colored pencil, I've never tried it with pastels, but I imagine they would stick to tracing paper. Acetate wouldn't work for oil unless it was dry, but doing your examples on a piece of paper works for that.

Another thing that helped me was to start the drawing on tracing paper and transfer it to good paper when it's complete. (Saves ruining expensive paper, and tracing paper holds up to a lot of erasing.) As a child I remember my frustration with ruining the paper before the drawing was done. I also remember my amazement when I saw that even the masters did preliminary drawings - I thought it came magically out of their heads!

I used to teach art to grade K-8 in a private school. I found that the best way to deal with competition is for them to compete against themselves, not each other; to try to improve on every project they produce. And it's nice to teach them to look for good things in each other's work which can bring a positive mindset that will help them in the future.

Good luck with your students Jesse.

Debra
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Old 03-18-2002, 01:09 PM   #10
Anne Hall Anne Hall is offline
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Teachers working on students' work

Let me add that if teachers NEVER do ANY work, on students' papers or their own, it may undermine their authority. I had such a teacher in high school. Perhaps she meant to avoid interfering or intimidating--she never said--but I came to believe the woman not only would not, but could not create anything of her own, and I doubted her every declaration. Of course I passed this judgment with all the wisdom of sixteen years...

I still have teachers do things on my work that I wish they hadn't (and sometimes they do too!). Looking upon my learning as a process as much as a product helps me handle these situations. Thinking analytically along the lines of "Hey, I think the way I drew the nose was more of a likeness because...." helps me as much as observing the more numerous occasions when the instructor truly improves on my efforts.

I always, always want the instructor to ask first.
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