Friday, March 5, 2010

Class Fun

Hello Friends,

Recently many of our beginning students got to experience the thrill of designing. At our art studio we offer classes in 6 week segments. At the end of the 6 weeks the students get a free week. This freebie is used to finish up class projects, introduce new concepts or just "fun" paint. At the end of this particular segment these students completed a design exercise. I had the students pick out their own surfaces that the could either buy from us or bring from home. Surfaces ranged from planters to coal shovels, to birdhouses, coffee pots children's furniture etc. etc. The surfaces were as diverse as the student are.

Next, each student had to develop their own background color. We discussed the role that intensity and value play in selecting and formulating a background color and I gave them some guidance but they really didn't need much help in this department.

Once the background was decided the students needed to develop their own design. This next part was critical to their success. I taught the students some simple flowers that they could incorporate into their designs and we also pulled out some elements from other pieces that we had painted. Their own designs were partly a combination of various elements that they had previously painted and some new elements unique to this project.
After we narrowed down the elements that they could incorporate into their pieces we talked about design weight and I encouraged the students to start their design with circles that represented any element. After the circles were placed in their patterns they could plug in the elements. Some of the students did it this way and some did their own thing. All students were extremely creative and came up with some really wonderful and unique pieces.

Finally we had to decide on a color palette. This part was really easy as we have been painting with a limited palette since the beginning of their training and extending that palette to their own pieces wasn't very difficult.

This was the first time that I had taught design to students that had only had a handful of lessons. I learned so much. Most importantly, I learned that it is never too early to start creating. I learned that new students do not share the fear of designing that other students have. I also learned that we develop excellent technique through decorative painting so that we can transfer that technique to our own work. There is not one student in that class that is not successful.

Below I have posted some pictures from the class. Some of the pieces are done and some are not. I will post completed pictures as the students bring them back to the class.

Stephanie is displaying her practice board as she works to develop a lovely cherry blossom design for her bird house. She is also working on a butterfly. Stephanie is creative and very involved.

Ron is a new grandfather and works in security at a local college. He started the classes with his daughter who quit to have her baby. His designed a piece that is practical and utilizes some of the flowers that I taught for this project.

Ginny brought in an old family piece and combine elements from other designs to come up with her own original. This was a large project and she did such a great job. I absolutely love her backgroud treatment and may steal it for one of my own pieces.

Madeline is a wonderful new artist and has great instincts. She is a thoughtful and meticulous painter and has a real eye for combining elements into a very pleasing art work. Her coffee pot is a knock out.

This has been such a wonderful experience for me as the teacher and for the students. There were many more students that have pieces that are "in progress". I will share their results when they are done. I do apologize for the messed up blog. I can never quite figure these things out. Anyhow, I am so proud of these new artists. They are just soaring with their new knowledge and confidence.
Paul Seymour

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