Friday, August 13, 2010

For the Love of the Lesson

The Shape Project:
My demo pieces for the kids

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been giving art lessons to a couple children from church. Once a week, for one hour, I teach them various fundamentals. We started off with the elements of art, and have been working our way through each of them, one at a time. So far, we have discussed line, shape, space, value, and texture. The kids are still working on the big shape project we started several weeks ago, but they're almost done! Last lesson, I showed them what palette paper was, and how to mix paint with a palette knife. Big brother painted his background color, and little sister is soon to follow.

Next on the list is color, which will probably take at least two lessons to cover. Color, by far, is the most complicated of the elements. Not only are you dealing with hue (color), but tint, tone and shade as well. In addition, color mixing can be quite tricky if you do not understand the way colors relate or react to one another.

For example, if you mix yellow and blue together, you will end up with some kind of green. Yellow and violet mixed together, however, will give you a completely different result. Likely, you will end up with some kind of brown. A colorful brown, perhaps, but brown nonetheless. How do I know this? Years of practice and learning. I know much more now than I did when I was in high school, and I know I have much to learn still.

Art is like a science. There are certain rules or facts that apply, like perspective or light. They are things we know to be true in the real world, and so they remain true in art. If you were to do it any other way, it would not make much sense. But, just as there are times in science when experimenting in light of these known facts is okay, so it is with art. Knowing how the elements of art work and why they are important is key when testing the limits of such rules.

These are the lessons I have come to understand and love. Every time I learn something new, or recognize something I am familiar with, I fall in love with art all the more. For me, art is as much an intellectual experience as it is an emotional one. Expression through knowledge, I suppose. And, on a more spiritual note (because I love finding the parallels between art and faith), as a Christian I cannot be all mind and no heart, nor can I be all heart without knowledge. Both are important because they complement each other. So, if I draw by understanding, may I also draw with passion; and if I draw passionately, may I do so with understanding of the lessons I have learned.

I simply cannot wait to teach my students these concepts. But... one thing at a time. :)

"Who endowed the heart with wisdom or gave understanding to the mind ?" ---Job 38:36

1 comment:

  1. hey Alyssa- I enjoyed reading your posts. I would really like to understand visual artists more and be around them, exposed to them, get in their heads... at the moment I don't know any artists in London. I need to take some walks and find art schools, make some friends. I think there is a sister Christian organization at one... I miss our time together and learning from you. Thanks for doing your blog. I appreciate hearing your life details and thoughts... art and faith... keep working and teaching. Its great! Do it!!