Art with Cause

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Sunday, October 23, 2016


Today, Walter asked me for some help with shading (college level - beginners drawing). Of course I will help. Walter is extremely creative and hasn't had an art class since elementary school. 
(Quick stop me before I rant about arts education and how a child who wants to design computer games was failed by a system that never offered him basic art skills)

Shadings and values are a seemingly simple concept, and as I heard Walter explain the assignment and what he thought the teacher wanted, I knew he completely understood what shading is and what the assignment was (having had similar assignments in my past). 
Above - what he had done so far. He said he knew it was wrong, but didn't know how to make it right, he didn't know what it was he was doing wrong, he had missed something. (Obviously doing a lot right already on his own!)

Of course there is no "WRONG" so we will just enjoy those "happy little trees" above.

We talked... we drew... he worked it out.. I explained things in new ways (he and I kinda speak the same language)...
and I love that moment when it clicks - the parts come together as a whole. He got it. Like magic. 
Sorry the image quality is so poor. Pencil on news print and the room wasn't well lit. But you can see well enough. I can't tell you what all the objects in the first group of sketches are - but in this second pic we can see the Lincoln log, the golf T, the spool of thread, the wooden block, and the yoyo on the bottom.  

I often say to students: Draw what you see - not what you think you see.  
But quite literally it is a lie - we are assigning hash marks to values. We do not see hash marks, but we draw them. So we focus on what is not drawn - the light - we follow the light and (not literally) draw the light. 
LOVE the golf T!
 (Graphite Pencil on Newsprint - Titled:Sketch 21)

As Walter continued to draw he told me he has an upcoming assignments with transparency and reflection.  So I jokingly put a water bottle in from of him and asked: are you feeling brave? 
He paused. I said we can toss the drawing if we hate it. Do you want to try while I am here?

Let it be known - he is a very brave young man!! Here is the water bottle:

I knew he could. He just needed to learn how to use a pencil, how to vary the weight of the mark, and what typed of marks get desired outcomes. Today was a day of growth for Walter and I am VERY proud of him. 
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