Wednesday, July 24, 2013

`You have to know the rules to break them

My earliest memory about making art is a tragic one.  The year was 1963 and I was sitting in a kindergarten classroom by myself frantically trying to erase crayons.  I could hear my friends outside as they played "king of the castle" during recess.  My eyes were stinging with tears that dripped onto my work,  making my erasing job even harder.  Why was I erasing?  Because I'd broken a rule.  I had not followed the directions. On the paper there was a line of shapes:  a circle, a square, a triangle and an oval.  The instructions were to color the circle red, the square blue, the triangle yellow and the oval orange.  My problem wasn't that I didn't know my colors and shapes, I just thought the circle would look better next to the blue square if it was colored orange.  In addition, I argued, it was close to Halloween and I thought that the circle looked much better representing a pumpkin.  WRONG!!!  So I was forced to sit in the hot classroom all by myself furiously erasing the orange crayon. I remember thinking why did she choose red for the circle?  Why couldn't I choose which color I wanted to use? Forty nine years later I can still feel the heat of the room, smell the crayons, see the colors and feel the tears.  I learned early on in order to be a good girl you needed to follow the rules. I can also look back as an educator and know that she didn't make that rule to harm me. She was trying to teach me.  

I agree that rules are necessary in our society, especially in education. A classroom would be chaos if all students weren't required to follow the behavioral rules. And the art classroom is no exception. The emerging  artist needs to understand some rules to offer structure to their work. The rules of linear perspective, color theory, and composition were discovered by trial and error and offer guidelines. In my opinion,  to be a good artist you just need to learn how to break the rules in creative ways. But you need to learn the rules first!

For the next few days I'm going to write blogs posts about some of the art basics that I teach to all of my students. I'm going to explain some technical basics in drawing, painting, mixed media and a little sculpture.

Hope you'll stick around for my Art Basics: Ingredients for Creativity.

Get Ready for Class:
Dasher the dog waiting for me
to get to work in the studio.

1. Gather some basic art ingredients. My earlier post, Creativity Quest will give you some good ideas.
2. Create a list of what you would like to learn - put them in your comments to me.
3. Gather some images that you'd like to turn into art.
4. Make an art appointment with yourself to be creative- 15-60 minutes will work!