SchoolArts Magazine

APR 2019

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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M I D D L E / H I G H S C H O O L A rtists are often taught through the lens of classic art history. This historical exposure may then be used to interpret the contemporary world of art. It is diffi - cult to imagine a better place to begin t han the classics, but many of my les- sons introduce not only historical but c ontemporary artists as well. I also like that it's possible to reach out to con- temporary artists for direct feedback. To this end, I introduced students to artist Todd Mrozinski through a biog- raphy in the Midwest Artist Studios P roject. His works were based initially on a failed painting in memory of his father, an inspiration by his wife and artist Renée Bebeau, and the beauty of shadows cast by trees outside of his studio. These inspirations led him to create his shadow paintings and us to our collaborative drawings. Introducing Mrozinski and Shadows In early conversations, we talked about the history and ideas behind diptychs and triptychs (working on more than one picture plane as a compositional tool), as well as Mrozinski's shadow paintings and what inspires them. We began working with the con - cept of shadows as in Mrozinski's work, b ut brought to it personal interpre- tation through objects of particular i mportance, collaboration, and color schemes. My intent for our project was for students to work collaboratively and have strong conversations about one another's works from the begin - ning, all the way to the end. Drawing Shadows Students were paired with a partner and got to know one another through interviews. Students then went outside and traced the shadows of plants, trees, and their partners. Back in the studio, they added symbolic objects on one, two, or three sheets of drawing paper to develop positive/negative space com - positions around their shadows. Collaborative Process Students chose color schemes (primary, complementary, analogous, etc.) to use in their drawings with oil or soft pas- tels. By using color schemes to create a uthentic works of art, along with the excitement of eventually talking to and receiving feedback from Mrozinski him - self, students saw the larger art com- Casting Shadows Casting Shadows Frank Korb Line is incorporated to create a sense of division and visual movement in the work. Allowing the texture and blue hue of the paper to show through allows the viewer and artist to better experience the qualities, limitations, and possibilities of the oil pastels as a medium. 22 APRIL 2019 SchoolArts

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