Posts Tagged ‘landscape drawing for kids’

I had the chance this year to teach two classes at the Sitka Fine Arts Camp Middle School session: Printmaking, and Natural History Drawing and Watercolor. This is an outstanding camp in every way, with some of the best instructors in the country – practicing artists who have also figured out how to bring young people on that ride. The students are also remarkable, in how they support each other. It was fun to get students to the next level in their art work, but just as neat to see them making connections with each other.

These are some pictures, from the final show, from the Natural History Drawing and Watercolor class. I had 18 middle school students – which is a big group, but they were a good group, and all worked hard.

The first day we did drawing exercises, to get into drawing what you see. Some very effective exercises including blind contour drawing (not looking at your paper) and very fast, timed sketches.

Some drawings from the first day

Some drawings from the first day

Then, next day, shading:



IMG_6334smallwith the idea of using light and shadow to do what they wanted it to. All this was from observation, I set up clamp lights for the shading exercises. First we did strips of various kinds of shading.

The idea I had was to show how to make art starting from observation – but with the idea of making a picture.

Our last exercise session was to copy a watercolor landscape, The Blue Boat, by Winslow Homer, in watercolor. I helped them with color mixing, and pointed out the techniques used to create the illusion of space and depth. In this first photo (these are all taken at the final show, looking down at a table), you can see the picture we were copying.




So this was an experiment but it worked really well. You can talk all day but it’s much better to just do it. I had them try mixing three different greens.

Next was drawing the landscape from observation, and another instructor had mentioned starting with the horizon. Drawing in the horizon is magic. Check these out:




As they were drawing, I also helped them see how how close things are to the horizon tells you how far away they are, and some linear perspective for the students drawing buildings or pavement –

We went outside two more times, once drawing in pen, trying to convey some sense of writing pieces we’d been given by the Writing and the Visual Arts class. The last time, we painted our own landscape in watercolor. That was where I was really impressed with the students. I think most of us would be a bit intimidated by the task but they went for it.

watercolor painting the landscape

watercolor painting the landscape




Also by this point, the last day of a 2-week camp, they were exhausted.

In one class we drew and painted objects we brought in from outside, as well as still life things in the room, in various sizes, and one day we drew some live 5-week-old chickens I brought from home. The chickens seemed to enjoy it as much as the students. Chickens are curious creatures and seem to like outings.



Did I mention Dr. Who was popular at camp.

At the end, we made tiny books, with hard covers covered with paper they’d decorated, and pockets to hold the tiny pieces of art they’d made.




And – poetry. We loaned tiny paintings to the Writing and The Visual Arts class, who wrote poems, on tiny papers that fit in our books. Here are some of the pairings – well, actually, all of them:

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Anyway, good work, guys! The one thing is I wish I’d taken the time to look at our work. It went so fast, and everyone was gone, I was in serious, serious withdrawal the next day. It’s intense, and I really enjoyed all the kids – bright and just plain interesting to talk to. So the next day, when I saw some of the students downtown, I was asking them how they liked camp, though – being a shy person – one girl I ran into but was too shy to talk to. I’m still kicking myself. Because she did really well, I really enjoyed her,¬† and I never got to tell her so. Well ok Amelia you rock. There now!

I’d love to teach again, maybe just landscape, or people – in a landscape – and I have an idea for drawing a graphic novel. I did that with elementary school kids last fall, I think it would be really cool.

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