The summative assignment for Unit 2 is applying Elements and Principles of Art. I tried Still Life this year with students, and the ideas of Realism, Abstraction, and Non-objective painting/drawing. This was mostly Teacher directed/guided.
The first step, discussing the idea of what meaning comes from making a Still Life, some quick drawings from it in pencil, then finally onto illustration board. First day, students put possessions on the table to draw from, such as, a Nike shoe, a watch, and jewelery. Students did drawings from the gathered items, to get a sense of drawing from objects, scale, etc., and to talk about composition, and shadows etc.
Finally, ready to set up a Still Life, ours became a consideration of the passing of time!
Students worked in pencil and watercolor on illustration board. I did not get into a huge discussion about 'realistic' representation, I wanted them to do what they thought it was. It took about a week of 40 min. classes to complete the Realistic Still Life.
The first step towards Abstraction, students were given a quick demonstration to simplify shapes to basic shapes and lines, and with limited reference to the original Still Life. I took down the still life after a first drawing. Materials were limited to charcoal, newspaper (collage), tempera paint. Time was also limited. Students had 30 mins, or less, to complete this painting. Abstraction was a response to the quick pace of life due to technology, trams, cars, airplanes, the camera, etc.. and in this way, students had a sense of that. They also got a sense of the flattening of the surface and different textures of materials.
Finally, Non-objective painting/drawing, was in some way the most freeing and most difficult. I always get into a discussion about the Subjective and Objective point of view at this point. In terms of painting, there is little to NO reference to our original Still Life items, or previous paintings. Students had one period, 30 mins to complete this painting as well. Non-objective painting is just about color, line, and how the materials interact with each other, typically there is line and gradations.