Friday, October 24, 2014

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Real life still life and lessons learned

Today's art education video was on doing a still life. I've done tons of still-life's over the years, but I am not fond of them. They are always so fake and contrived.  For example, where in life are you going to find an apple, next to a vase, next to a wooden model?  Only in an art classroom. That kind of unnatural situation often bothered me when I was studying art in school.  I think the situation that bothered me the most is when a nude model stood on a ladder. Who is going to climb a ladder naked in real life? No one. That's who.

So, my still life includes items that really were on my desk and arranging them, meant only moving them a few inches so I could get them all into an arrangement that would fit on the paper. A real-life-still life.
sketch a day- day 3

Still life reminds me of that old Sesame street song "one of these things do not belong here". Remember that? I have learned in life, that sometimes it is good to be out of place in the world... to stand out like a sore thumb. After all, that was a huge part of our homeschool experience, often being the only one of our type.  Still, when we force things that don't necessarily go together into a setting, it can be unsettling and confusing... much like a still life set up in an art classroom.

But if you are willing to, you can examine these items and make sense of the relationship they will have with each other. Let's look at the items in a typical classroom still life:  a clear vase gives the artist the challenge of portraying transparency on paper. An apples give the challenge of portraying a round object on flat paper, and the artists model helps you to process a more complicated item in the background, which by the way you can draw in a more impressionistic style because it is typically further away. These items are put together to create a challenge... as a learning tool.

Perhaps that is why God places unlike things together. At some point he decided to take people from Africa and throw them in with people from Europe and other countries around the world. That didn't start out to well did it? But over time, people began to look at the relationships between us and found a lot in common.  Red blood, organs that are undecipherable from each other, and emotions that act thusly to injustice. We still have so much to learn from each other, but I have learned that this real-life still-life is not as awkward as I thought, and that all of the discomfort and feeling out of place, has been quite educational to me, and to others as well.

We still have a long way to go, but we are richer for the experience.


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