Today is a good day. I have come to remember this year that I actually really enjoy teaching my introductory art one classes, especially when you get those classes where the students really want to be there and this semester I have those classes. They make me smile when they walk in the room.
My students come from three junior high/middle schools to make up my classes. Some of the students have never had art, even in the elementary and some have had art from kindergarten through 8th grade, so in a nutshell there is a large range of learning taking place.
Our first unit is a simple study of line. We talk about contour line and blind contour line drawing and we do the art basic practice rounds of both. For the first time in a long time the majority of these students had a very difficult time of letting go of the control. Contour is loose and continuous and simply implies the form. They simply could not let go of realism and in turn we had a terrible case of bad cartoon image. So learning from that, I headed a different direction. We took photos of each student and I had them trace in sharpie, the contour of the their own face. Once that was done, we flipped the photo. The sharpie had bled through to reveal their contour line drawing. At that point there was an "aha" moment and they got it! We then did four total drawings and took a time out to explore the work of both Andy Warhol and Peter Max. At this point students were then to take their four contour drawings and create a unique project in the style of one or both of those artists. The project is not initially where I intended to go, but I ended up where we needed to be. Our line study is coming to a close and I am so ok with what they learned as are they!