Art education, inspiration and encouragement for children and parents in Arlington, VA
I have the best job. I get to see art, really wonderful art in the making. It scares me to think that these buds of creativity may "grow up" and someday think they "can't".
At the end of this blog I'm going to leave you with a challenge to ensure we never grow up "that much!".
See What's Going On in front of you
We talked about the difference between expressive art and art as illustration. Botanical art is very exacting. The artist notices the details of things on plants such as how leaves grow from the stem, in what direction and their shape. Did you know there are hundreds of shapes for leaves?
As we attended to these details we let our eyes be our guide for what to draw. We used black sharpie markers so there was no erasing and we made bold lines.
Behind, over and under and in-between
After filling our paper we noticed there was no more room. That's when we figured out how to make something go behind another thing.
The Artists who inspire
We looked at Mary Vaux Walcott. Walcott was born in 1860 and accomplished many things in her life. In 1925 the Smithsonian published her plant illustrations in North American Wild Flowers. .
Locally we are graced botanist Mary Page Hickey living in Alexandria, VA. Hickey does very accurate watercolor illustrations. Unfortunately I can't post the copy-right images here but you can take a moment to view the artists work in the links provided.
Purchase a small sketchbook (spiral bound would be best) approximately 5" x 7". The Drawing paper should be about 80 lb to hold a marker drawing.
Five short drawings a week
Do one drawing a day or approximately five drawings a week. Each drawing should take about 10 minutes. By the end of our spring semester the goal is to have most of the sketchbook filled with drawings from observation in one subject.
I suggest plants as subject because there are so many in our area available and interesting to look at. Any observable object can be used: fruit, cars, animals. But choose just one subject for all drawings in the sketchbook challenge.
Thought you could get away without making art? Why not buy two sketchbooks and if you feel you "can't" draw, learn from your child. Some of the best inspiration will come from those in our families.. Drawings do not need to be complicated. Simple, easy, fun and yes, a whole sketchbook full. About 50 or more simple drawings. You'll feel so good about your own little art book.
Use a black sharpie marker so that more care is taken in the first place before drawing. Without erasing we are forced to consider our mistakes as opportunities and accept them.
A piece of paper should be placed under the page in which the drawing is being made so as to catch any bleed through.
Enjoy this challenge. Use it as an excuse to go for walks in gardens with your children or to buy flowers at the store. Once you form a habit of drawing, you'll feel it's much more of a natural thing than you had imagined.
Jean Frank Stark
I make art and have taught to children for over 20 years.