The Creative Corner: "Art in Motion"
Episode 5: Get moving in The Creative Corner with a seriously silly drawing challenge, a visit with the Anna Julia Cooper Episcopal School step team, and a great big outdoor adventure art project. Developed for grades 4- adult.
Virginia Standards of Learning (Grades 4-6):
- Arts (Visual): 4/5/6.5, 4/5/6.7, 4.9, 4/6.13, 4/5.15, 5.17, 6.11
- Arts (Theatre): 6.6
- Arts (Dance): DM.13, DM.15, DM.24
- English: 4/5.3, 4/5/6.4
- History: VS.1, VUS.1, WG.1, WG.9, WG.15
- Science: 4.1, 5.1
- Math: 4.15, 5.10, 6.12
Art Project Guides:
Blind Contour Drawing: Blind contour drawing is an activity that challenges artists to draw the contours (outlines) of a subject without looking at their paper. This trains our brains to draw based on observation rather than inference or interpretation; it requires our eyes and our drawing hands to move together in sync. It’s also really fun, and makes for some delightfully silly pictures!
- Something to draw with (pen, pencil, marker, crayon)
- Something to look at (your hand, a person’s face, a pet, an object, a picture)
- Position yourself so that you can look at your subject (the thing you’re going to draw) and draw on your paper comfortably. You can sit at a table to do this, or hold your paper on a clipboard in your lap.
- Choose a point on your subject from which to start your line drawing (for example, if you’re drawing a face, you might start at the tip of the chin), and put the tip of your pencil down on your paper. Move your eyes slowly around the outline of your subject, paying close attention to curves and angles. As your eyes move, move your hand on your paper in the exact same pattern.
- Keep moving your eyes and your hands together like this until you have drawn all the contours of your subject. (If you get to the edge of your paper, you may have to stop so that you don't draw on the table. That’s okay; sometimes this happens when we’re drawing without looking!)
- Take a look at your finished drawing! Can you see the outlines of your subject in the lines on your paper? This activity is more about the process than the product; how did it feel to draw without looking at your work? Try it a few more times with different subjects, then revisit these questions after a few rounds!
- If you're having trouble keeping your eyes off your drawing, you can put another piece of paper (or something else light, like a dishtowel) over your drawing hand to hide it from sight!
- Take your time when you're drawing blind contours; this is all about observation, and slow looking is more effective than a quick scan.
- Don't be discouraged if your drawings don't looked exactly like your subject! Blind contours are meant to be a fun way to sharpen your looking skills and train your brain, not to create realistic likenesses.
- That said, don't be surprised if you love the way they turn out!
Create a Land Art Installation
- Natural materials (gather supplies from your area!)
- An open space outdoors
- Gather some natural materials from your surroundings. You can use an abundance of the same material, like a huge pile of pinecones or a ton of twigs, or you can gather a variety of things. (Some ideas: wood or sticks, leaves, pine needles, acorns and seed pods, grasses, large or small stones, sand, dirt, clay, flowers, weeds, mulch, slate, bark, or anything else you can find in your environment!)
- Select an open area outdoors in which to create your land art. Some things to consider: you may want to make your artwork somewhere where it can be seen by other people, but where it won’t get walked on. Be sure to keep your project out of roadways and sidewalks so that people can pass by and look at it safely!
- Create a design or build a structure using the materials you've collected! Although it’s generally large in scale, land art can be simple or complex. Try making something that feels challenging to put together, and will draw the curiosity of passersby.
- Consider documenting (making a record of) your land art project by taking some before, during, and after pictures of your creation. That way, if and when the artwork is moved or erased by the elements (precipitation, wind, etc.), you’ll be able to see how it’s changed, and remember your original creation!
- If you can, check on your land art creation over the next several days (or maybe even weeks, depending on what you built!). It’s exciting to see how the impact of nature preserves or evolves what you’ve made!
- We want to care for our natural environment while we’re using its resources to make art, so try not to cut or pick any living things that won’t grow back, or to disturb any wildlife habitats while you're collecting your materials.
- Make sure you have permission to collect any materials you find, and permission to build your land art installation in whatever outdoor location you select!
- Need some inspiration? Here are a few artists who have made fascinating land art and earthworks: Andy Goldsworthy, Agnes Denes, Patrick Dougherty, Nancy Holt, Robert Smithson