Wednesday, November 7, 2012

G is for Georgia on My Mind

Dahlia ala Georgia O'Keeffe
One of the most effective tools I use to inspire and teach my senior students is a PowerPoint presentation. I regularly gather information and images to introduce and talk about an artist or a style of art.

My students all enjoy seeing the presentation displayed on a large screen TV, and for me, its a great way to show, not tell, what we are going to be working on in class.

Last week our presentation was on Grandma Moses. She, like many of my seniors, lived and worked in a farm community. Her work is simple and accessible, and very appealing. They totally "got" her. I loved sharing facts of her life, including that she came to painting in her 70's, and lived to be 101. In my research I learned that before arthritis made holding a needle too difficult,  she created paintings in needlepoint, embroidering in thread on cloth. Lots of my older students are or were very handy with a needle, so this small fact made painting landscapes is her style seem a little more possible.

Lillian Pakos
Today, my presentation is about Georgia O'Keeffe (lived to be 98). I have found, whether teaching kids or adults, whether aiming for realistic images or abstraction, drawing and painting flowers yields great results. So, the lesson today will be to draw just one large flower to fill the space of our page, and design and color it as we like. I will provide a wide selection of single flower photos from my own collection, and see what appears.

My dahlia above is an exercise in limited palette, 8x10, acrylic on canvas. The other drawing, by Lillian Pakos is a beautiful example of the kinds of work I see in my classes.