April 05, 2005

Drawing Class

I just started teaching a beginning drawing class at Ella Sharp Museum. Tonight was our second class. I have eight adult students. I am really enjoying teaching this group. They seem very enthusiastic and so far it's been a lot of fun. Well, you know...I've been a bit nervous...but tonight I felt much more relaxed. Anyway...tonight we started out going outside to draw. It was so nice...73ยบ and sunny and I just couldn't resist taking advantage of the great weather. We spent about a half hour drawing whatever we wanted...Anna drew a tree, Brenda drew a purse, Brad drew a building. It was fun and relaxing. I have to say that I am already seeing a huge improvement from the drawings I had them do last week. Although, some of my students say they intentionally did poorly on those, so they would look like they improved a lot. (lol) Regardless of that, I think tonight they did some really great drawings. A couple of them even came in with sketchbooks filled with drawings that I hadn't even asked them to do...things around them, the fireplace, a slipper, some elephants...and they were pretty good. I am so glad to see them doing drawings outside of class assignments...and enjoying it.

When we came back inside, we did some blind contour drawings. If you have never heard of this, it's basically where you draw an object without looking at your drawing at all. You keep your pencil on the paper and never lift it off so that your drawing is one continuous line. The goal is to move your eye slowly along the edges capturing every crease, wrinkle, and fold that you see. Your pencil should only move at the same rate as your eye. We drew our hand. Here are some instructions if you'd like to try it.

Allow about 20 minutes to do this drawing. Read all the directions before you start.

1. Tape the paper in front of you.
2. Look at the palm of your non drawing hand. Have your hand slightly curved toward you.
3. Sit comfortably (music in the background)
4. Face your hand, but face away form the paper so that you cannot see the paper.
5. Place your pencil on the paper and begin to draw slowly.
6. Move your eyes and your pencil at the same time, drawing each line as it appears, going from one line to the next and comparing size, length, direction, etc. Do this as you look at your hand and duplicate your gaze on the paper. Do not look at your paper.
7. Do not look at the drawing before you are done. Draw from start to finish without stopping.
8. If your mind tells you that "this is dumb," or if you hear other messages, just keep drawing. (This actually happens!)
9. When you are finished look at the drawing. It will be a tangled mess of pencil lines (it should be) which represent everything you have seen. These represent the details you have seen. They may slightly represent a hand, but that is not important. It is important that you have seen the details.

Here's mine...I got distracted, making comments and answering questions, so I missed the wrinkles and creases in a few of my fingers.

After that we did a contour drawing of our shoe...This time we could look at the paper...but we tried to only look about 10% of the time at our drawings and spent the rest studying the subject. Hard to do, but produces great effects.


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