Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Co-Teaching Art Education with Youtube :: How to Paint Realistic Trees

One of my favorite things to do with my projector set-up is to use it to present e-book pages, student work, masterworks, etc. on the white board instead of the projector screen. Why? Because then I can write and draw things on top of and/or around the image in order to better tell and show the students different things that they need to remember for their work. This teaching methodology works just as well for Youtube videos, too!

You can see some of the labels I drew in order to help the students focus on key points for their tree paintings.
In addition to the labeling, I also wrote a bulleted list (not pictured) for the students that included items like, "Don't forget that the silhouette of a tree's foliage is ORGANIC in shape - not perfectly round and lollipop-like." I also made a connection with their prior knowledge from Science studies and said that the shapes of their tree foliage should be almost amoeba shaped and the trunks with their extending branches should be almost arteries with their vein systems. I LOVE drawing connections from visual art studies to core content areas!!!

Here is the Youtube selection I used for the "co-teacher" this time...

And here are the before and after works of the students' trees! This time I had them each quickly draw what they thought trees looked like and, as expected, there was lots of "lollipop" stylings initially. Luckily, they learned a lot and quickly too about how to go about doing a more realistic and painterly visual depiction of a tree! The improvement from most all of their befores to their afters is astounding in some cases and even the most advanced students learned how to improve their technique!

In this example, the before is very broccoli like with the trunk being stalk like and everything! 

This student took it upon themselves to attempt a second tree (in the after) and was able to achieve great results  too.

What an improvement from before to after, eh? I think this one was very successful with the value and color work too.

Actually a very advanced student's work but even the before is very broccoli like. 

Much improved since the after doesn't have the exposed roots - though I get what they were going for.

I feel like some of the hardest (but most requested by them) techniques to teach are things like drawing/painting clouds and trees. Both are very similar in how you do them - and the students are slowly making that connection - but this repetitive exercise between what I shared yesterday and then today really help them to see that what looks so hard actually isn't that hard. Also, they are learning to see simpler shapes and masses within larger and more familiar forms (like trees and clouds) in order to better create them in their individual works.

The next step I took them to after this one with the trees (and yesterday's with the clouds) is to have them create a realistic sky with clouds. So, basically I am taking yesterday's work and having them apply it to today's so that they have a finished work of art. I am also going to encourage them to look up other tutorials like ones for waves or mountains in order for them to better understand how to combine different techniques to achieve a more realistic and refined landscape piece for the place of grace project that they are about to launch into.

One of the biggest woes that I heard the last time I did place of grace last semester was students who had issues doing the simple things like clouds and things. After doing these brief exercises with Youtube the way I have, I predict that the students will turn out even stronger work than last semester just because they will be more confident and will have a decent amount more working understanding and real experience to apply to their individual works.

And one last reason why teaching using Youtube as your co-teacher? If you have students who are out of class for any number of reasons, you can simply direct them to your collective of linked videos and they don't have to be totally behind because they missed in-class demos!

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