Maresh, Joan, School Arts
How many times have those of us who are seasoned art teachers presented lessons on still life? Teaching a subject or media the same way year after year can certainly take its toll on a creative person. And what about the students? Instruction is lost unless we consider our changing population. Approaches that were solutions in the past are not necessarily appropriate for today's students. My intention for the last decade of my teaching is to introduce fundamental concepts in innovative ways. I believe decisions are a significant part of the creative process. Allowing young people the opportunity to take responsibility in the decision-making process is important.
Students become involved in the decisions of our still life assignment from the very beginning by bringing objects from home for a mammoth-sized "memorabilia" set up. The criteria for selecting the objects are simple. The items must be interesting and unique; they must cost nothing; students must have permission to bring them in; and they become the property of the school.
Setting Up the Still Life Arrangement
Students have great ideas for setting up the still life. Grouping things together in interesting ways engages the students in their decisions about what they will eventually want to draw. By providing many choices of objects in a complex, floor-to-ceiling arrangement, students can find one or more areas of subject matter that interest them. …