In the last four years I have taught perspective a billion different ways. I always revamp perspective lessons on a never ending quest to make them as effective as possible. I’ve found that students really like learning about perspective because it explains a lot of mysteries of drawing. However, I always have a hard time translating drawing an imagined space in perspective to drawing from observation. So that’s what I’ve been focusing on this semester and I’ve figured out somethings that are working! 

These are some pictures from my 2-Point unit. We started off with a really simple intro to 2-point (boxes floating in the air-style). Then I wanted the kids to get a real experience drawing an interior in 2-point but I haven’t had great success with that before. To simplify, I took a picture of the area of the school we would be drawing, projected it and drew on top of it to demonstrate how they could find their vanishing points. They had some time to think about the space before we went out to draw. You guys, it’s really hard to draw in perspective from observation and 85% of the kids did an awesome job! They had two class periods to work and then they were able to add detail and color in the classroom for a day. I’m so proud of the way these turned out, a few of the kids really went beyond my expectations. 

The other thing we are doing is drawing a crazy still life of boxes. This is also the culmination of our charcoal unit so the kids are using either an additive or subtractive charcoal method to draw the box still life in 2-point with detailed value. To avoid trying to keep the still life untouched I hot glued all of the boxes together. (How have I never thought of that before?!)

One little prep exercise we did- I clustered the boxes in groups of three (before they were glued) and the kids had to do quick gesture drawings of each set to get a feel for the proportions and the way the boxes sit in space. 

So far the still lifes are turning out pretty well! I’ll post pics of the finished drawings soon!

I was pretty nervous at the beginning of this project. I’ve done it before but this time I put less restrictions on the kids than I have in the past. It became a very open-ended project which is always a risk. In this case, the risk was worth it, these are just beautiful. 

I’ve written about the start of the project but just as a refresher- I started out by having the kids look at Joseph Cornell boxes. They each chose one and put it into a collaborative google presentation. Then they talked about the box using the describe, analyze, critique format. It was a great way to present a new artist.

For their own boxes, the kids had to choose a song lyric. The lyric had to be used seamlessly with their design. They had to use an s-curve, cover the inside of the cigar boxes with a painting or a collage, and have at least five 3D elements. This is what they came up with! I’m posting a bunch of these because I just love them!

For the past couple months, I’ve been painting sets for an elementary production of Once Upon a Mattress. I finally finished up and am pretty pleased with the results! My favorite part is the bed (the top mattresses are detachable!) I’ve done this for years for a creative arts center in town. It’s a fun after school/weekend job but holy cow, I always forget how long it takes to paint those things!

On The First Day Back From Spring Break,

My Top Ten Favorite Things About Teaching!

1. Talking and listening to a student while they solve a problem on their own.

2. The amount of time, effort, thought, and heart certain students will dedicate to their work.

3. The kids that can make me laugh AND when I can make the kids laugh.

4. When I figure out how to teach something or solve a classroom problem better than I have in the past.

5. When a student is surprised by how well their work turns out.

6. Watching and guiding kids to experiment and play while they are creating.

7. Getting and organizing new art supplies.

8. Watching kids change from Freshmen to Seniors.

9. Demoing new techniques.

10. When I can help kids or just be with them when they are worried, stressed, or sad.

I think teaching is all about learning and relearning to be patient and to find joy in small triumphs. This quarter, I’m working on enjoying and appreciating the process of teaching more. 

Today is the last day of school before spring break! In the spirit of spring, I picked up some flowers on my way to school. My drawing class is just beginning subtractive charcoal. Yesterday, they tested the technique by creating gray scales on different types of charcoal using different erasers. Today they started by doing a blind and a modified contour drawing to get warmed up then started to draw the lilies with their eraser on some charcoal covered paper. They didn’t have a ton of time to get into the drawing but it was a nice introduction to what we’ll be doing after break.

My Design class is making assemblage box sculptures based the work of Joseph Cornell. They each chose a lyric or quote and created a design to fill a cigar box. We are looking at informal balance and they are all incorporating an “S” curve into their composition. Each box will have 3D elements and a found object but right now they are focused on painting/collaging the backgrounds.