Friday, October 23, 2015

Observational Still Life Drawings

One of the major skills I have picked to focus on with my students this year has been observational drawing. If you have been following my blog then you know that I have been focusing on observation with all grades K-5. Over the last two years, my first two years teaching, I noticed that students really struggle with making observations, when drawing, painting, looking at art works, pretty much anywhere and everywhere. So this year I have challenged myself with finding opportunities for every grade level to develop their observational skills.

I knew this would take some time so I had to buy some fake flowers. After I shoved the flowers into paint cups to hold them and placed them in the middle of my classroom tables I noticed an immediate transformation of my room. We now had centerpieces and looked like we were out to lunch. We did some practice drawings first, but still had plenty of propeller flowers, even when the students were looking at roses. But despite the students that no matter how you teach them want to draw propeller flowers there were still plenty of gems. Most students did try to focus on the shapes and lines that they saw. The student whose work is to the right here was the one that blew my mind. He actually listened to my pleas to slow down. Much slower than any other student, his drawing was on the level of college students I have worked with to draw from observation.

As a hint, I take tons of pictures while my students are working. Having Mr. Fleming take a picture of their work seems to be the greatest motivation in the world, even batter than my student gallery in the classroom.

We did use markers to color our entire artworks. This was yet another way to try and get the students to slow down and focus on craftsmanship. Still a hard thing for 2nd graders to do. We did wear out some markers, mostly blue and red, but the students seemed very pleased with their work. I am excited to see how this will affect their future work. This was only the first assignment this year for 2nd grade. A lot of time was spent with effective ways to use markers. We had many conversations about coloring slow enough that the marker has time to saturate the paper, and taking the time to fill in the white holes if we had any. Lots of marker demonstrations.

I hope that throughout the year their will be a significant difference in their drawing skills as we pay a bit more attention to technique and observational skills.
Enjoy the images.

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