Monday, March 17, 2014

a lovely fall day

Ah, the long winter has made me confused, you might say. A bright brisk day and some sunshine is welcome right now, but this is a large-ish sketch from last October when winter was only a distant threat.

I teach at a Classical school part-time, and this painting was made on a day when I took my 4th and 5th grade class outdoors to paint. We had studied tree anatomy and ways to observe and draw from nature. I had also spent some classes on color theory, how to mix colors and use secondary and complimentary combinations. I would not allow them to have gray, black or brown on their pallets. They were also admonished that I did not want to see trees that looked like lollipops, marshmallow clouds, and a fake sun in the sky with lines for rays. (I am such a harsh teacher!) I told them I wanted to see a drawing of a particular tree on this exact day with the sunlight and colors just as close as they appear at the moment. Observation skills were emphasized.

This is the demo painting I did for them as we found our spots outside in the school playground area. I was showing them how I would observe a tree and paint using their paper and tools. We actually had three class days that we were able to get outdoors. They loved it. One day it began to rain and they begged to stay out, another day we were interrupted by a fire drill. But we persevered with lots of excited work time.
As they were all working, I began to draw them into my picture which thrilled them, everyone started calling out "me! draw me". Next week our school is having a fundraiser auction and I am framing this piece to contribute to the event. Should be fun to hear from the kids.

I would like to say that I made this painting using the same tools that I provide for my students. 140 lb student watercolor paper from Dick Blicks, Extra fine point Sharpies, and Crayola watercolor pans with Prang brushes. I also demonstrated drawing an immediate contour line on the paper with the fine point Sharpie, no pencils and no endless erasing allowed.