As I continue with my “My Life Falls Out of Order” series of posts…I still find little nuggets in my archives about teaching, music, nature and art moments that I wish to put in some form of reflection.
Not much to say about this one that the photographs won’t explain, but, it all began with good intentions. When the weather is nice and the year is grinding to a close, it’s nice to get students outdoors as much as is possible. These experiences can be based on curriculum; you just need to think it through.
So, of course, I head outside to paint. There is a tradition of painting landscape called en plein air…if good for the Impressionists, why not for children? Any grade…
When painting a mural, it is the teacher’s greatest responsibility to share with students the idea behind collaboration and elevation of the group’s efforts over the familiar experience of elevating the self. Well before a project such as a group mural, lessons need to focus on the personality of line quality and the very specialization of mark making. In a group mural, it is explained, it is important to share your marks in a variety of locations. This will lead to a more successful piece, in that Unity will be accomplished through the weaving of many personal approaches to colour, design and line.
And…when the wind blows, just revise the initial plan. Don’t get sad about a splatter, enjoy the impact of elements upon the collective result.
Some weeks ago, artist, Kelsey Fraser, led a workshop at the Esker Foundation on collaborative art making in both drawing and painting. A key feature of the present exhibit, Earthlings, collaboration creates a wonderful bridge between northern and southern artistic culture.
By happenstance, the week prior to Kelsey’s workshop, I had explored collaboration with a high school learning strategies class. Often saddled with group projects, older students often struggle with their part of a piece of work (poster, presentation, power point, report) when they are assigned to work with a mixed group of individuals. I thought that it might be fun to explore a small non-threatening Exquisite Corpse activity in order to enjoy the experience of individual contributions for a common goal and completed work. To begin with, we looked at the process of collaboration.
I forgot to grab some photos of the resulting drawings. (may post later) I had the students complete the first section on a paper folded into three (a character’s head – fantastical to representational) and then walk to someone in the room that they might not know and to trust them with the second section (the torso) and then, finally, that person would get up and pass it on to a third person for completion (the legs). I enjoyed this exercise with a former student of mine, Tim Belliveau, when he led a session of life drawing at the Glenbow Museum. It is a great activity for warm up and for ice breaking. If you want to loosen up the crowd, this is a great method or if you have a fear of not ‘knowing’ how to draw, this activity removes that responsibility.
These were the three blind contours completed, where I was the subject. It was so good to meet up with Jocelyn again!
Next (and I’ll use this with a class some time or maybe during a pot luck party) we began a telephone game activity…page one write something, pass the booklet on…page two draw something related to page one’s writing….pass the booklet on…page three, write something related to the drawing on page two….pass the booklet on…page four, draw something related to the writing on page three….and so on through ten or so pages.
Finally, the participants visited four different tables, to hook up with pencil nicks left on the edges of previous artist’s compositions and to create their own line drawings in charcoal pencil. Esker, the paper was of beautiful quality….thank you! After drawing on three compositions, without looking at any of the other related drawings, we were asked to return to our original places, lay out the four compositions in sequence and to add paint. Both challenging and thought provoking. At this stage, the main goal would be to add harmony and unity to four somewhat disjointed pieces. The colour added a very exciting dimension.
Thanks to Kelsey Fraser and to Esker Foundation for a wonderful afternoon of exploring line, colour and collaboration!
While I don’t think my contributions made sense sometimes, or that I had anything ‘intelligent’ to say, I also really appreciated the conversation PLACEHOLDER: An Unconventional Book Club Discussion with d.talks. I was low on energy and very distracted and yet I had the true sense that the circle of people attending the event were listening. Watch for future programs/events on the Esker site.
Not so much writing or blogging going on in my life these days, but STILL great things are happening! I am really enjoying a contract that gives me the chance to work with a fantastic group of students! This slide show illustrates the end of phase two to our giant connect-to-our-neighbour-zentangles. I think that these are going to be so exciting once finished!
New, this morning, is a Global Collaboration based on an inspiration I received the other day from my blogging friend, John Clinock at the Art Rat Cafe. I am inviting all of my readers to send along a photograph of one of the memorable/quirky/special/most amazing doors in their lives. Include a location, a photo credit and a brief account of what that door means to you.
John tells me that there are DOOR BLOGS. I’d love to hear from a blogger of doors, as this is just a spark and I’m really profoundly curious about the doors that people have opened, both metaphorically and physically.
To see what I’m talking about, please peruse the beginnings HERE and thank you for participating. Share this with your friends! Painter Lady