June 22-26, 2015. Art Trek is about going outdoor to sketch (in the Italian Garden, the Phelan Garden, the Redwood forest, along the Lookout trail); and to come back to the studio to paint, using different techniques like tempera, dry pastels, watercolor inks. Every day I take pictures during the walks, that I print and bring the following day to study in the studio. This year Art Trek was taking place at the Barn Studio which is the perfect place for a group of young artists who love nature!
Day 1 – Sketching around the lawn
Day 1 – Back to the studio, sketching elements from nature at the Barn Studio
Day 2 – Watercolor using prints of photos taken the day before during the walk
Day 2 – Sketching in the Phelan Garden
Day 3 – Dry pastels on black paper using prints of photos taken the day before during the outdoor session
Day 3 – Sketching in the redwood forest
Day 3 – hiking to the top of the hill to embrace the view of the valley
Day 4 – Tempera paint using prints of photos taken the day before during the hike – making a color palette
making a color palette
Day 5 – hiking the Lookout trail
Day 5 – sketching on the Lookout trail
Day 5 – back to the Barn Studio – free time to sketch and to use watercolors, pastels, tempera.
Each day the students explore Montalvo’s beautiful grounds, get inspired by nature and choose things to observe and draw – things we may not take the time to usually pay attention to, like the pattern of a bark, the shape of a cone, a rock, a leaf. I take photos during the walk that I bring back printed the following day. Back to the outdoor studio the campers use different techniques to paint/draw some of the things we saw during our walks.
Outdoor studio: The students walked around and gathered leaves, twigs, cones, lichen and drew them. Decaying leaves are wonderful to draw!
Hiking around: Sketching one of the magnificent trees on Montalvo Grounds. I asked the students to ask me when they wanted to take a photo of something they were interested in and then I printed the images and brought them back the following day.
Hiking around: sketching in the Phelan Cactus Garden.
Outdoor studio: watercolor and black oil pastel from photos taken the previous day.
Hiking around: Sketching in the Redwood forest, on the Redwood Trail. At the top of the Lookout trail, embracing the view on the valley!
Outdoor studio: Starting working on black paper with dry pastels, from photos taken the previous day in the Phelan Cactus Garden.
Hiking around: A short hike to start the morning. Using a viewfinder, sketching from the top of the Orchard Trail: view on the artists residencies.
Outdoor studio: Painting from photos taken in the Redwood forest. Tempera paint on paper. Preparing a show in the outdoor studio, and gathering all the sketches and drawings in our decorated portfolio.
Montalvo Arts Center
Arts Integration Residency with Montalvo Arts Center in Campbell, CA.
medium: drawing on paper
material: pencils, crayons, sharpies, drawing paper.
How it works
1. I introduce the lesson with a short presentation with a question to the students: What is the soil around here made of? Several students answer and we have a short discussion.
I propose to them to go outside and see what we can find which will be part of the soil soon if we leave everything on the ground decaying slowly but surely. Then we will draw what we found.
2. We go outside the class to gather a few elements that we are going to draw in class: leaves, decaying leaves, twigs, pieces of plants, anything that is laying on the ground (not the trash though!). The students can keep their findings in their hands or put them in a collective box.
3. We come back inside the classroom. The students have either their findings with them or pick some elements in the box and go seat at their desks.
On the table, pencils, crayons, sharpies and paper are available.
4. The students start drawing. They can draw one element or several on the same paper, do one or several drawings, it is their choice.
5. Group discussion with all the art on the floor. One interesting reflection about what a soil is made of, is that leaves are decaying on the ground. Some students drawn the decaying leaves. We talked about what “beautiful” means for them: not necessarily a “perfect” leaf, but a damaged leaf is also beautiful and very interesting to draw.
Exercise shown here with a class of 4th graders – adaptable to more grades.
I had collected different types of leaves in my street and put them to dry for a while. Each student had at least one of each leaf to work with. During the first session we took some time to look at the different leaves: their shapes and sizes. The proportions between the different parts and between them. We also talked about color temperature, cool and warm. I projected a color-wheel on the screen so that we could discuss easily. The students drew different leaves and then colored them with watercolor inks. the proposition was to use warm colors for the leaves, cool colors for the background. But all options were possible.
The idea was to try as much as possible, to see how the watercolors ink “react” between them, with or without water added, with or without wetting the paper before.
I always ask the students to take their time when they work on a project (and 2 sessions of 45 mn is not very long). But the students of course do not work at the same pace, so for those who finished their project before the end of the second session there was more paper available (square Rives paper, as much as needed) to make individual leaves if they wanted to.
Not all the projects are shown in the gallery in this post, as there were lots of them.
2 x 45mn sessions
black oil pastel
12×18″ Watercolor paper
and more paper!
One session – one hour.
Material per student:
– One large tree leaf , collected in the Fall and dried in a phone book for a few weeks!
– One sheet of colored paper (Fall tone or else).
– 2B Pencil, 4B pencil, eraser, scissors, glue stick.
Take a few minutes to look closely at the leaf and its special shape.This step looks like easy, it is in fact one of the most difficult for the students: taking the time to look.
Trace the contour of the leaf with the pencil on the colored paper (by looking at the leaf, not going around the leaf with the pencil).
Cut along the line, trying to get one piece for the leaf, one piece for the rest.
Glue the leaf on either page, the negative space on the opposite page.
Glue the leaf on the following double page.
Draw the leaf on the opposite page with a 4B pencil. This time, help yourself by tracing the nerves of the leaf first and then the contour of the leaf. See the difference with the first contour made on the colored paper.