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LESSON PLANS SUMMER 2022 (2nd half) lesson 1. Drawing as a system of taking notes for a painting.

Van Gogh was a master of making drawings which were full of the information he needed in order from which he could make a painting. In this lesson I'm asking y students to make some working sketches. I've asked them to bring in some landscape images with three clear distances: near, middle and far. They'll make experimental sketches of the foreground which is often the most abstract area, they'll look at the middle distance to find clearer shapes and into the far distance to see the 'structure' of the landscape.

I'm showing here some of Van Gogh's 'working' drawings. Look at the variety of marks he uses and think about how he translates them into paintings.

Summer term, 2nd half 2022. Lesson 1 – Three distances of landscape.

Drawing as a way of note-taking for a working drawing (from which to make a painting).

· You can work from photos, images of paintings, or from images in books. You can work on a section of an image and then swap it with someone else in the class so that you try to capture a variety of textures with pencil. Drawing with a pencil means manipulating it to make marks that describe what you’re looking at.

· Find an image with a grassy clumpy foreground. Look initially for an overall shape. What shape would that clump be if you stretched a fine skin over it? Draw that shape and then, looking into the textures of the clump and the lights and darks, what can you do with your pencil to describe the textures?

· Remember you can use an eraser to rub out light places and then work back in with pencil to refine them.

· These foreground textures may take up much more space across the composition than you initially realise. They may come across the middle distance and even reach up into the far distance, crossing the composition completely.

· If you image from which you’re drawing has a middle distance, put it in now. Look at the shapes, how big are they in relation to the foreground shapes? What tones and textures do they have?

· Is there a far distance? Is it tonally darker or lighter that the other distances? Whatever your answer is, why do you think it’s the case?

· How much space does the far distance take up in your image in comparison to the other distances (near and middle)?

· Look back across your whole drawing. Hone the drawing, refine and re-define things. Make it a drawing from which you can make a painting rather than a drawing for its own inherent beauty.

Next lesson: Choose your medium. Which medium does your drawing lend itself to? It could be pastels or acrylics, it could be watercolour or it could be mixed media (i.e. watercolour and soft pastel). You’re going to begin a more finished piece from your working drawing. If you need to spend more time on your drawing before beginning the painting that’s fine.


About this site...
I am an art teacher living and working in Dorset.  I have taught for the Adult Education Service and the University of Bath, plus some supply teaching in my local schools but now I run all my classes and courses privately. This site is intended as an addition to my teaching, primarily for any student who in the week misses a class and wants to catch up.
The lessons are also available for any one anywhere who would like some ideas on what to teach, what to learn or is just interested in seeing what we do.
I'm afraid I won't be able to answer emails asking for comments on anyone's work (other than for currently enrolled students).
I teach three weekly art classes in halls in and around Blandford in Dorset and every six weeks or so I run a Sunday workshop in a village hall on the outskirts of Blandford. I also run a vibrant five-day summer school.. Other than that I spend every available moment in my studio or drawing and painting elsewhere.
I studied for four years at The Slade School of Fine Art where I was awarded The Slade Prize on graduation. I went on to travel and study further finally doing a P.G.C.E at Exeter University with Ted Wragg as my mentor. It was a wonderful year of education which set me in good stead for my years of teaching since then.



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