USE OF TOOLS/MATERIALS
FOREGROUND, MIDDLE GROUND, BACKGROUND
PLACEMENT OF THE OBJECT
"MAKE AS MUCH VARIATION AS POSSIBLE AND STILL HAVE THE IMAGE UNIFIED"
"DRAW WHAT YOU KNOW IF WHAT YOU SEE DOES NOT WORK"
Today the class got to start on figurative drawing. The skeletal form was the subject. A skeleton was placed in the center of the room. The students prepared their workspace with an easel and drawing board. Charcoal or graphite could be used for the drawing session.
Maryann reiterated concepts like, be mindful of the center of focus and overall placement of the object. The first 15 seconds should be used for orienting the object onto the page.
Idea/category...... ANXIETY/ FLOW/ BOREDOM....where does one need to be to create......that is "FLOW'.
Maryann spoke of history today. She recommended that the students should look up 15th, 16th and 17th century drawings. Look up the Dutch, French and German artist of those centuries. Rembrandt was a huge influence for Maryann in her learning process for drawing the human figure.
She said that "Art at this time in history is more about the event than it is than object oriented."
The class went smooth. I feel the students where ready to begin the figure. There was an atmosphere in the room, with direct spot lights on the skeleton, the rest of the lights where dim and music was flowing. Most all the students were looser than they ever have been. I was impressed with there placement of the object and atmospheric perspective, shading and scale. They need to be reminded of cross hatching and following the curved horizontal lines of the bones. Vertical lines seem to be drawn more than any other direction.
The students need to look at the syllabus for assignments in regard to body parts and segments of the body. They are to pick and chose from that list in any order, but they all must get completed throughout the course of this semester.
I was able to assist today with technique, and of course I enjoyed that immensely.
I learned to discuss most all the reminders and suggestions in the very beginning of class. This allows for more focus from the students and it helps to not break their flow.
The start of this class began with giving the next homework assignment. The assignment is titled " PERFECT MAN. PERFECT WOMAN". The students can use any medium. They can take the assignments' title as a lead into something or not us it at all. There is no limit on the time they can use to create. The STRATEGY.... You must know where your interest and time management lie. If you only have 30 minutes then you work that 30 minutes fully to accomplish something in that time frame.
Today's lesson involves working to create atmospheric perspective.
3Pictures are to be produced, drawing the same scene three times, changing up the atmospheric perspective, from Foreground, Middle ground, Background, to Middle ground, Background, Foreground, lastly, Background, Middle-ground, Foreground. There was 20 minutes per drawing for this exercise. The students can use graphite or charcoal to draw with.
CLASS TIME WAS OUTSIDE!!!!! Students were thrilled!
At about 3:30 we came in and the students posted their drawing up on the board and we went through them one by one. Most every student did pretty well. There is a great range of drawing styles and a few still need to loosen up when they draw. The middle-ground, background foreground seemed to be the most difficult for the students.
The students were told to do this assignment again at home before the next class. Practice, practice practice!!!!
I learned today that the students needed help. I was able to sit with most of them and discuss the drawings as they were working. I think this helped them with skill and trust with me and Maryann. It was a fun and beautiful day.
Today is the classes first assignment critique. "ON STAGE" is the title for this assignment. This assignment was open ended, meaning they could use any medium and any spin they so chose to develop an art piece called "ON STAGE".
There was an excitement with in the classroom today. The students were eager to hang their works for art on the display wall before the class began.
The professor arrived at 2:10 on the dot and spent 30 minutes discussing a few things with the students, before the critique began. She brought up a very important topic, That she has not been seeing students utilize the studio space to work outside of class. She stressed the importance of being in the drawing studio often. Make the studio work for them. It allows time for open dialogue between fellow colleagues and there are drawing materials for use in the studio. There is ample space to work.
She also shared that the students can earn extra credit for going to art openings, lectures and museums. She stressed the importance of attending these types of events.
She shared that scholarships applications and writings are due Jan and Feb. She stressed that all students should be applying for them. It is foolish not too.
The professor discussed the types of assignments given at the 100 level. The assignments are there to help lead you along and for the students to develop"Self-study". The students should make the assignments work for them.
It is now 2;45 and we are starting the class critique................
"Fine Artist ask and create the question and then they answer that question"!!!!!
The purpose of critique: To find out what the impact is to a larger audience.
The students first have to take a moment and write down what their strength is in their work and what the weakness is in their work of art.
Each student has to stand up in front of the class and discuss the weakness and strength of their art work titled "ON STAGE". As a group we will also discuss formal qualities: Value structure, tone, shape, scale, perspective and anything having to do with form. Also Content: symbolism, the idea.
Does the content and form match up?
Levi: (in his words) Strength: He is drawn to faces. Weakness: Needs help to draw because these drawing materials are new. Class comments: His paper is like "Oxygen", the images come out of the page. Professors comment: As the maker...be medigating or mediating in your artwork. Look up depression artist...the "WPA".
My initial observation at the very start of the class today, was that the students seemed more relaxed waiting to hear instruction.
The class started by getting instruction to move the classroom around the create two separate work stations. Each station, so to speak, has a table in the center of the room and then students circle the center table, with there easel or chosen work surface.
The Professor instructs the students to get paper and charcoal, pencils and erasers, out and ready for use. It is important that they have soft materials and different types and shapes of charcoal and pencil. The students need to be able to use the side of their chosen drawing tool, as well as a pointed tool.
Once the students are set up, which was about 15 minutes, WARM UP begins. The professors, re-briefs the students on techniques used in the first class. She instructs them to make marks from darkest dark to the lightest light in one single motion. To do this it is all about pressure. It is utilizing the brain and optics.
This exercise involved the switching of charcoal to pencil, right hand to left hand.
At this point in the class, most students WILL NOT, use the whole page for mark-making.
"BE THE DUCK THAT LANDS ON THE SURFACE OF THE WATER"......this is to help them VISUALIZE making a continuous line that transitions to dark to light.
The professor wants to work on confusing the muscle memory that we have, by switching hands, moving from dark to light, light to dark and moving your hand in all directions. Make curvilinear marks, with an organic tempo.
Once the students warmed-up, a discussion on ATMOSPHERIC PERSPECTIVE , and PICTORIAL DEPTH was initiated. Words such as SALIENT (what come forward) and RECESSIVE (what move backwards) are discussed in depth. These are the important aspects of drawing techniques that will be used and practiced to achieve to create good drawings.
Music is flowing at this point during the class. There is an aliveness that is happening with in the students. They are discussing their knowledge, laughing and some struggling...
Now the class moves into 4 short drawing sessions that last about 4 minutes each. One object is placed in the center of each work station table. The students have 4 minutes to use the techniques discussed to create a drawing with atmospheric perspective.
Most students in the beginning of this exercise do not ground the object, because they are focused on trying to draw the object only. But I would say that over half the class got the grounding part down.
"ALLOW THE PAPER TO SINK INTO THE FIGURE"....."THE PAGE IS LIKE OXYGEN"
The class was ended with the students displaying their favorite drawing from the day. There was discussion on how an edge is where 2 values meet and pointed out drawings that had this quality, also most all the drawings had characteristics of the object. The students are quite good drawers at this point.
The professor took a few minutes to ask each student to tell everyone to share something that they are good at other that art. A lot of cooks are in the class....which makes me think we will have a potluck possibly at the end of the semester! :-)
Today, the class was so fun. I found myself interacting and participating with the professor and the students. I was smiling ear to ear when the students were creating drawings with FREEDOM and a looseness. Their whole arms were moving! The professor and I drew for one session too. We all had a great time today!
A final reminder of the assignment "ON STAGE" is due on Thursday. Anything goes with material and subject matter. I am looking forward to seeing the students projects!
Day 1 of Drawing 1 (life-drawing)
This class has about 17 students in it. Everyone has taken part 1 of this class already and are now moving into learning and practicing how to draw the human figure.
I have the pleasure of shadowing professor Maryann Bonjorni this fall semester as I observe, assist and learn teaching techniques and philosophy.
The class began with direction, for setting up the materials needed to begin warm-up exercises. The students need: Compressed Charcoal, compressed graphite, vine charcoal,soft white conti-crayon, white chalk and multiple types of erasers. Paper at this point is provided for the students.
Once the students has their supplies out and paper ready, Professor Bonjorni begins to walk the room and discuss how the human figure is organic and we must use organic, soft drawing tools for fluidity. Anything too hard or dense just won't work for this class.
The mark making begins, with using the formal elements. Some of the students could name a few of the elements....but they were instructed to use a range of tone, and varying line thickness to make a pattern. These lines are to speak a language.
At this point in the class, the music is flowing, yet the students still seem timid. Some will not fill the page with their patterns. So Bonjorni works to try and get the students to feel the rhythm of the music. It worked for some.
I could go on and on with details, but I think I should stop and sum up the day with this. The sketching was fast paced, but mind you it was just for warm up and reminders of creating line, shape and volume. At the end of the day I feel the class was happy to see all of their drawings placed on the wall together. As this drawing session was a group effort, because they got to draw on the persons paper that was next to them.
Professor Bonjorni is witty, compassionate, demands authority by sheer nature, energetic, soft, knowledgeable, honest, responsive, trust-worthy and speaks to the students in metaphor at times.
The title of their first project is: ON STAGE. This assignment is quite open ended, requiring the students to use their imagination and do research to create a drawing. This assignment is due next Thursday.
Besides being refreshed myself on the basic principles of drawing, I noticed that I wanted to help the students to loosen up, but realized I needed to leave them alone to have their own space to breath. Today's drawing exercise was not about outcome but about letting go and experimenting with their drawing tools.
I have just begun my journey in the Masters of Fine Art Program at The University of Montana. I am currently "Shadowing" an art professor in her class to observe and learn what being a professor all about. As part of this process I have created this blog to document what I am learning.