Artlab students were inspired by the portraits and works of Alex Katz, and helped to minimize the “terror” of doing a self-portrait by thinking about the shapes of color that compose a form. After taking a photograph to reference, students first created cut paper collages and then a gouache painting. Whenever they hesitated, I reminded them to think about the shapes they saw and even had them block in shapes on a transparency.
Of all the work my artists did the summer, one of the projects I think they enjoyed the most was inventing colors and names. I think they relished mixing colors without feeling the pressure of a finished project. Many of them were concerned their art wasn’t good enough, and these are kids who choose to come to art camp! In response, many of our experiments this summer were about process. Here are some photographs of their colors, which I think are worthy of being called works of art on their own.
I’m teaching an art program at a museum this summer, and one of the projects so far has been continuous contour line drawings. My artists are stuck on “perfect” art, and nothing attempts to take you out of that like being unable to break your pencil line or look at your page.Today we even had them unable to see their object, hiding it in a brown paper bag. Once they could see it, it was back to continuous contour line drawings — with their non-dominant hand.
When I teach art, I want to create it myself. Their drawings today led me to come home and work on some continuous line drawings of my own.