Most of our units are based on how artists think and work so it shouldn't be too surprising to see a unit on observation. Artist observe all the time to learn, to react and to capture images for their work.
For this unit, we explore several different ways artists observe including still life, scientific illustration and urban sketching. We also worked with a few different media including pastels and watercolors. For the final project, the students could choose any media they wanted. All I asked was that the piece be created from observation... that is to say, actually looking at the thing you are making art about.
It tuns out not everyone enjoys creating observational art. I think this fact was captured beautify in the story of the painting above. What follows is an excerpt from Sadie's blog, the artist who created the piece..
"I did may more layers and touched up somethings and when I thought I was done i stepped back and realized i really hated it. Sure it was the project and I could turn it in, but it was painfully boring, it had nothing interesting about it. I started to talk to my classmates about how I didn't like the project because there is nothing interesting to observe here and it takes talent and not creativity. The events to follow were an unexpected turn of events but in my opinion made the piece.
I grabbed a paintbrush and dipped it into the red watercolor and mixed it with lots of water to dull the bright red down. What started out as just a little blush turned into black and red running down her face. I liked the way it turned out but then I wanted to name it. The classmate wanted to paint a giraffe for her project but since there wasn't a giraffe in the classroom she couldn't do it. In the painting it looked like she was sad while painting so I named it "I just want to paint a giraffe""
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