Archive for the ‘Students’ Category

Spring Art Classes: Drawing and Painting

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

This Sunday will mark the beginning of our spring drawing and painting classes.

Learn to Draw and Paint (ages 6-10) (1-2pm):

Discover the arts! Explore drawing and painting with a variety of techniques using pencil, crayons, pencil crayons, oil pastel and tempera paint. Each lesson will build upon the last, beginning with drawing simple shapes for image creation and continuing with the use of mixed-media painting and simple printmaking.

Art Fundamentals for Teens (ages 11-14) (2:30-4pm):

Explore the fundamentals of drawing and painting with a variety of techniques and materials using pencil, charcoal, conte, ink, watercolour and acrylic. Each lesson will build upon the last, beginning with simple shapes to create form. Students will learn simple perspective, how to draw from sight, basic composition and painting skills. Students will also be introduced to the elements and principles of design.

These classes held in room #3 in the Rosemount Community Center in Vaughan. For more information…

Bug Week

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

My art shows are over for the year – and to be honest, I’m somewhat relieved. As fun as they are for meeting new people and developing relationships with other vendors, they can be a grind.

But I’m not idle. I am now on to teaching. I teach three classes in painting and drawing. Two classes for 6 to 10 year olds and one for 11 to 14 year olds. I am also teaching my comic art class and an art portfolio class. Needless to say, I am a bit busy jumping back and forth. Teaching the various mediums isn’t the hard part. What is difficult is having such a range of students (age, maturity, accomplishment) in one class.

I base my teaching on the Ontario Arts Curriculum. The curriculum basically tells a teacher that a student in grade 4 should be able to do this or that by the end of the year. What I’m finding is that the “accomplished range” is not as high as it should be – particularly for drawing. Of course there are exceptions, but overall there appears to be a systemic issue that is concerning and challenging.

As a result, I have had to become inventive. In addition to poor drawing skills, the kids have incredibly short attention spans. So I’m trying to incorporate contemporary, pop culture references into my lesson plans to keep their interest. I am going to use “hip-hop” dance imagery to demonstrate contour, gesture, and movement for the older class. And for the younger class it is going to be “bug week” so I can teach repetition, form, and depth.

But with all that said, I think it is me who I am mostly teaching.

What Did You Learn?

Monday, July 25th, 2011

This blog is about learning. I am asked numerous questions about: how to draw, how to paint, creating characters, drawing animals, how to use watercolour and gouache, what kind of pencils I use, what crosshatching is, and how to do perspective. The list goes on.

People have many reasons for wanting to learn an art form. It may be because they want to go to an art school and so they tell me that they "need to learn everything!" One person I talked with wants to learn how to draw dogs. Another wants to finally understand perspective. Yet another wants to eventually teach art and give back to the community. These are all completely understandable reasons for learning art.

I graduated with a degree in Art History and decided that I wouldn’t be a very good art historian if I didn’t know how to draw or paint. And so I enrolled in a figurative drawing class. I spent the next four years learning how to draw the human form. By year five I dived into painting. By year twelve I was learning about comic art and cartooning. I am now in my twenty-second year of art learning and it will continue. Every year I take a course on something that is interesting to me and that forwards my learning. I also spend a lot of time reading books about painting and drawing and about specific materials.

At this stage of my career, I look for the little nuggets of wisdom in a class or a book. For instance, in an Extreme Anatomy course I learned that the space between the fourth finger and the pinky was slightly bigger than between the other fingers. Understanding that little bit of information allowed me to improve my hand drawings in both traditional drawing and comic drawing. It is these little nuggets that are so important.

At the start of every class I teach I ask my new students who have taken drawing before: "What do you remember from your last teacher?" The most common answer is: "nothing." Wow. They remember nothing of what they were taught. I find this totally unacceptable.

In teaching core fundamentals, I strive to teach elements that the students will remember. My teacher – 22 years ago – taught me these things and I in turn, teach my students.

  1. Draw lightly
  2. Draw general to specific
  3. Learn to draw through your mistakes

Obviously, there are more lessons that I teach. But these are the three elements of basic drawing that I repeat over and over again. I hope if my students are asked by another teacher: "What did you learn from M-J Kelley?" they will remember these three elements.