I was able to make it down to the LBMA for the portrait class with artist Dan McCleary on Sunday. Unfortunately, none of the students in the class were able (or remembered) to get their parents to take them down there. There was a roomful and parents and kids (about 15) and we all participated in the drawing exercises. Dan brought a couple of his students from an LA area HS (charter or magnet-can’t remember the name of the school) who were patient enough to sit as models for the group.
My main reason for being there was to see if I could pick up on any ideas we could use in our classroom by watching someone else teach this subject. Dan used a lot of the same ideas we do ( explaining the layout of the face and placement of features) but the main difference was the pace of the class. We did about 8 10-15 minute sketches over the course of the 2 hours. I think that moving along a little faster would help the kids draw better- just the repetition would help. Also having a life model was something we haven’t done with the kids yet.
some of things the kids learned from Dan:
-a hand is about the size of a face
-most people draw eyes too high on the face
-a hand is one of the most difficult things to draw
-models take a break every 10 minutes or so
-your visual memory stays with you for about an hour
In the end we all were given free passes to see the current exhibit “About Face” in the main gallery. It was nice to see a collection of diverse portraits and I hope we can get the kids down there to see this. I know that after all the work on portraits they will really benefit from seeing this show.
So, this past Monday we put the 4th grade teacher (we had a sub) Mrs. B to work as our life model and went to work practicing our portrait skills again. I brought my good drawing pencils for the kids to borrow along with good art erasers and we went to town! When it was time for Mrs.B’s break, we had the kids model for each other.
Again, stressing that half of learning to draw is in the practice of observation. Several of the students started to get some real likenesses going- exciting to see!
We also had a really good discussion on portraits and made some connections to our lessons on photography from last month and how artists often use photography to help them in their painting and drawing. The kids were really into talking about all this and we had to cut off the conversation so we could get started drawing.
I guess the next two Mondays are dark due to holidays so we’ll have to start on the transparency portraits then.
And March is textile month!
I do have a few photos but will add later…..