Art Education – Representation – Junior Grade

PLANT STUDY

Pupils in Form I, under the guidance of the teacher, should be able to make creditable pictures of the flowers mentioned in the General Introduction. It is not always necessary for the teacher to draw the specimen before the class, but he must use the chalk frequently to show the method, never permitting his class to copy his work, but constantly calling attention to direction of stem, differences in shape, and position of masses. He must impress upon his pupils that they must look carefully to see where each part is and, after having drawn any part, they should compare with the plant to see if it has been correctly placed.

DRAWING OF A SPRAY OF GRASS IN COLOUR

(Time, twenty to thirty minutes)

MATERIALS FOR THE TEACHER:

Coloured chalks, a spray of grass pinned up at the front against a light back-ground where all can see it, and a large piece of drawing paper fastened to the black-board with a drop of mucilage or a gummed label.

FOR THE PUPILS :

On each desk a box of coloured crayons, two sheets of 6″ by 9″ paper, and a specimen of grass. The -latter may be laid upon the sheet of paper on the desk to the left of each pupil. This method of placing the specimens is particularly helpful to a class of beginners. The teacher should consult the General Introduction for other ways of placing specimens.

Each pupil should have a good specimen and, if possible, but one variety of grass should be used.

Method

Teacher: “Row graceful, yet full of life our grasses seem. They look as interested as you do when you are going to have your pictures taken. Let us be as fair to-day to our little visitors from the fields as we would expect the photographer to be to us.

What must we be careful to get right? Colour, shape, and something else, most important of all, the direction of the stem, because it tells how the grass grows.

Some plants run along the ground and cling to every-thing they can reach. Not so our gay, independent little grass. Others have a strong, rugged stalk. Let us try to draw the grass stem as it grows.

Look at this specimen, which is not exactly like yours. I shall make a picture of mine while you watch, first sweeping in, just as the stem grew from the earth upward, a line of green chalk so faint that we may call it a whispered line.

Do any little branches show in the head? They come next and must be put in just as they slant from the stem. Now for the head ; we must shape the little strokes in the way the tiny tufts of flowers grow. The blades come next. First a light line is drawn where each blade joins the stem, to get the right slant ; then each blade must be shaped with long strokes, widening toward the middle and tapering to its sharp point.

Does the stem look strong enough, or must I strengthen it above and below each blade?

Look again at the colour; is there a little red or violet in the top, and should I add a little brown along the side of the stem or the edge of the blades? I shall put my picture away now. It is your turn to make a picture of your spray.”

The pupils now select the green crayon and draw the light direction line; then compare it with the specimen and correct, if necessary, without erasing. After each step the paper is held at arm’s length beside the spray of grass, and a comparison is made. Upon the extra sheet of paper trial strokes are made and colours tested. (One test sheet may be used for two or three lessons.) When all have had time to finish, the drawings are placed at the front, and the pupils choose the best by eliminating those that are not quite truthful.

It is well to exhibit the best drawings for a day or so on the bulletin board, as a reward for those who succeed and as a help and encouragement for all. The illustrations on page 51 are by Form I pupils.

SUGGESTIONS

If a pupil has made a strong effort to improve, it is sometimes a good plan to put his drawing up as showing marked improvement.

Grasses may be represented with coloured chalks, charcoal, black crayons, or coloured crayons.

RELATED EXERCISES

A number of lessons on different grasses and sedges might follow, but not in succession. Interest is kept alive and better results are obtained when the drawing lessons are varied.

SPIDERWORT IN COLOURED CRAYONS

(Time, twenty to thirty minutes)

AIM

To get each pupil to feel and express the vigorous life, peculiar growth, shape, and colour of the specimen he is studying.

MATERIALS FOR THE TEACHER:

Coloured chalks to be used on the black-board or on a large sheet of paper fastened to it.

For THE PUPILS :

On each desk a box of coloured crayons and a sheet of 6″ by 9″ drawing paper. One good stalk of spiderwort, with leaves and bloom, to every three or four pupils. For the placing of these consult the General Introduction.

METHOD

Teacher : ” We have a treat in store for us to-day. What fun it will be to make fine pictures of the pretty spiderwort ! In what way is it like the grass we drew a few days ago? John, stand up and hold your arms in the way the first leaves grow. Are John’s arms long enough? Hold your arms up like the second pair of leaves, Annie. See where the leaves begin, how very close they are to the stem. They wrap around it so as to hide it, but they soon stretch out and away. How is the stem different from that of the grass? Did you ever start out to go down town one way, then change your mind and go in a different direction? Do you think the leaves had anything to do with the stem’s change of direction?

Place your paper the way the spray will fit on it best. First, put in a whispered line, to show how the stem grows and the slight changes in its direction. Turn your paper over now and on the wrong side of it make a blue spot. Hold it off so that you can look at it and the flower at the same time. Does the blue match the hue of the pretty three-cornered blossom? What does it need to make it look right? Make a very faint blue spot and rub violet over it. Have you matched the colour now?

Notice the green leaves that peep from under the violet petals. These are called sepals. All close your hands and let them hang from your wrists as the buds hang from their pink stems.

With the blue and violet crayons shape out the flowers now, at the top of the light direction line. Hold your paper so that you can see both your picture and the flower. Have you been quite truthful? Make it better if you can. Choose the crayons for the buds and their stems and make them next. Compare with the real buds. Should all the stems show? Make your buds look like the real ones. Next, to get the right slant, put a light line where each leaf joins the stem. Compare, to see if your lines point in the right direction, then shape out each long, pointed leaf with long, green strokes. Compare again with the real leaves. Can you make them look more natural? Last of all, look carefully to see how thick the stem should be, noticing that in places it is hidden by the leaves, and draw it, making it firm and strong. Once more, hold your drawing off and compare it with the spray. Have you made a truthful picture? Letter or write your name neatly in the lower right-hand corner of the paper. Each row of pupils will now come forward in turn and hold up the drawings, so that we may pick out the best and put them up for a day or two where all may study them.”

RELATED EXERCISES

Express flowers of the season in different mediums. Those having very characteristic shapes; for example, golden-rod, wild aster, and harebell, in the Fall, and tulip, iris, and daffodil, in the Spring, may be rendered successfully with charcoal or black crayon.

Flowers such as the salvia and garden aster depend for their beauty largely upon their vivid colouring. Such. flowers should always be in colour. The pupils of Form I should be allowed to use colour very freely.

TREES AND LANDSCAPES

For help in the drawing of trees and landscapes, which may be necessary in Illustrative Drawing, the teacher is advised to consult the lessons for Form I, Senior Grade.

DRAWING FROM TOYS

(Teddy bear, from memory)

AIM

To get the pupil to see form and to express it as he sees it.

MATERIALS FoR THE TEACHER :

A brown Teddy bear and a piece of white chalk.

FOR THE PUPILS :

A sheet of drawing paper and brown chalk, or charcoal, on each desk.

METHOD

The teacher, holding the toy in one hand, steps to the black-board and, with the side of a short piece of chalk, rapidly shapes out a mass drawing of the Teddy bear ; then turning to the class he says : ” Of what have I made a picture ?” The answer is eagerly given. He then continues : ” How many would like to make a picture of Teddy?” The desire is unanimous. ” Well, you must watch him very closely for a moment or two, for I shall put him in the cloak-room, where you cannot see him, while you make your picture of him.”

The bear is then held up in a position different from the one that was drawn on the board. The teacher moves from place to place as he calls attention to the shape of each part that can be seen by the class in the position in which he holds the bear. Every pupil is given an opportunity to get a good view of the bear in this position. The pupils then close their eyes and imagine that they are making a picture of the bear on some large, white surface such as a wall. The teacher fixes their attention on the subject by saying : ” Make the head first, shape out the nose now, and the round ears “, and so on. Then the Teddy bear is again held up, while the pupils tell some of the mistakes they made in their imaginary drawings.

The bear is now put away, and the pupils decide which way to turn the paper to have the drawing look best ; then, with their chalk or crayon they proceed to make a fine, big, mass drawing of him. Every little while they close their eyes to recall his image and open them to compare their drawing of him with this image.

In about five minutes the drawings are finished, and the bear is again brought out, in order that the pupils may make comparisons and discover where they have made mistakes.

If any pupil has difficulty in finding his mistakes, his drawing should be held beside the bear, so that, from his seat, he may compare the two side by side.

The lesson may end here, with the arranging of the best drawings at the front and, in that case, should not have occupied more than from fifteen to twenty minutes.

If interest is still fresh, the bear may be hidden again, while the pupils make new drawings on the other side of the paper, correcting the mistakes made in their first attempt; or they may study the bear in a new position and again make drawings from memory.

Drawings from memory after careful study (except in the case of plants) are usually better than those made from the model, but exercise should be given occasionally in drawing from the model.

DRAWING FROM THE MODEL

Following a lesson of this sort where the object is drawn from memory, on another day three or four objects of the same kind may be placed so that each pupil has a good view of one, and drawings may be made from these, after the shape and the relation of the different parts have been noted by the pupils under the direction of the teacher.