This will be the first in a series of several posts about the units and activities my art 1 students are participating in to get a good grasp on the artistic behaviors. Last year my art 1 students went through an “artistic behaviors bootcamp“. After going back and looking at what we had done, I felt it was too fast and there wasn’t enough depth to each behavior. We spent a day or two on each behavior, but it was like we just glossed over the behaviors and my students never really understood them.
This year, I am spending a week or more on each behavior. We are doing activities that focus on the behavior, while building skills in various media and techniques. I think this will be a better solution. The students may not be making as many finished artworks at the moment, but that will come when second semester rolls around and the studio is really much more open.
Our first behavior that we focused on was “Artists Observe”. I found a powerpoint at Ian Sands’ Art of South B page that was perfect for what I wanted students to do. The week was split into 3 activites. First students created mindmaps/had class discussions of what they like to observe and what kinds of things artists would look at when observing something. They then moved onto a 3-day sketching activity, where they learned sketching techniques and sketched from life.
Our second activity included learning to shade and a group activity, originating from Melissa Purtee, where students would get into groups of 3-4 and together create a large shaded sphere. It was very cool to watch the students work together, within the time frame, and figure out how to make values darker and to replicate the sphere I demo’d for them.
Our final activity brought the students in the world of 3-D. We spent our final day doing the Tantamounter. Faculty lent items that the students replicated in an artful way. They had to make decisions, work in small groups, and create a copy of the original item. They had a 30 minute time limit to complete their piece.
After the weekend, students came back on Monday and spent the day reflecting on our unit. We went into the hallway and discussed the spheres they had created, looking critically at the spheres and trying to take non-objective judgement out. They added tiles to their BlendSpace lessons, reflecting on what artists observe means and how the activities we did correlate to the unit idea. They also reflected on what they learned from our unit activities.
The rest of the week will be spent on building some color drawing skills before we move on to another artistic behavior unit.