One thing that is really helping to inform their decisions about their individual creative processes is the use of color to do underpainting for their works. This project is mixed-media because I am allowing them to do underpainting with the Portfolio brand water-soluble oil pastels (that I love so much and reviewed HERE).
The oil pastels are a great way to ease them into painting because they are able to apply the color with a technique they are familiar with (like coloring with crayons, markers, or coloring pencil) but then they can take a wet brush and spread and manipulate the color like watercolor paint and they are already familiar with that as well. Altogether, it's less overwhelming and intimidating for them to do what they need to do (with color) to just get something down on their canvas panels. They can also scrape their canvases (and scrap, if you will) their ideas if they really need to without wasting paint the water-soluble oil painting classpacks we will be using to layer over top of the oil pastel underpainting.
Before the underpainting happens, I am encouraging them to sketch their designs directly on their canvas panels with pencil.
While they do this I am encouraging them to think critically and strategically about the placement of the different elements of their image (either directly taken from a photo OR done in composite-style) and I am encouraging conversation that implores them to know what type of composition armature they are using. Basically I am doing essential questioning. Examples of what that looks/sounds like are the following:
- Is it an L-shape? Is it an S-curve? Is it possibly the cruciform?
- How can one element of their overall composition add to/detract from the strength and success of the whole piece?
- How is space being used in order to suggest depth and dimension to better communicate the feeling that what is pictured is indeed a place to be experienced?
I have not instructed them yet about how to use color theory to strengthen their work or communicate a feeling or mood OR to suggest a stronger sense of space (like using complementary color palettes or lightning one element in order for something else to feel darker, etc.) but that is what we are working on this week.