PUMPKINS - A STORY OF CONTOUR, VALUE, PRACTICE AND PATIENCE
Third graders worked for all of October on these fantastic pumpkins. I said the word pumpkins so much that eventually the word had no meaning any more - semantic satiation!
It's important to me as an instructor that my students learn little tricks and techniques rather than intense art history at this particular juncture. I try to stray away from realistic art work because I don't want anyone equating good with real. I must, however, provide skills necessary for students who do gravitate towards drawing and realism.
Twas the season of pumpkins when we started so off we went, beginning simply with observational contour drawing using reference photos. Practice, practice: slight overlapping ovals, gentle pencil grips, over and over we drew. Once we felt comfortable drawing pumpkins on a large practice sheet, students were given a piece of thicker tag board to draw their final composition. Time for value.
Understanding the concept of value isn't easy -- it's taken me decades to learn and even still, drawing isn't my strong suit so I struggle now as well. And is that okay? YES IT IS. We talked a lot about embracing the struggle during this project. If you're feeling frustrated during the learning process, that can be a great sign of learning. I liken it ton lifting weights -- if it's super easy, are your muscles getting stronger? Sometimes we need to feel uncomfortable before we're comfortable! Students were really into it. There is no bad, there is only Just Beginning, or Not Enough Practice. Onward to practicing value.
I of course like to throw lots of vocabulary around so for the value portion, I spoke of analogous colors. We used these colors to create value on our pumpkins. White, yellow-orange, orange, red-orange, and a bit of red if one felt so inclined. Practice practice practice.
After a couple more weeks of adding value to our final pumpkins, it was time to paint the background. The cool colors contrasted the warmth of the pumpkins resulting in incredibly vibrant pieces! So proud of my hard workers as they learned new techniques. These are SO MUCH MORE THAN SIMPLE PUMPKINS! Cheers to hard work, editing, refining, and conquering!