In general, I value the development of creativity, imagination and communication skills more than the display of technical virtuosity. I feel that the format of a high school art class does not lend itself well to the demands of a thorough technical art education and so I choose instead to focus on the aforementioned skills. I do, of course, incorporate some technical skills in all my assignments but try to encourage those keen students to draw draw draw at home to develop their technical abilities. One of my grade 9 painting assignments is based on the idea that the only way to learn how to paint is to paint. And the best way to paint well is to copy the art of master painters. In fact, back before the invention of photography, when painting was considered a trade like carpentry or plumbing, painters (like carpenters or plumbers) would take on apprentices who would learn the skills of the trade from them. One of the most common practices was having apprentices copy the master's works.
I don't want to intimidate my young students so I only make them copy parts of a painting. We then puzzle them back together and Voila! Our class painting.
Great examples of the final work adding up to more than the sum of it's parts:
Grade 9 (2011) After Rousseau's "Tiger Hunt"
Grade 9 (2010) Oh man! I can't remember the name of this painting or who it's by, nor can I find it anywhere! - can anyone help me out?
Grade 9 (2011) After Odilon Redon's "Vase of Flowers (the Red Poppy)"
Stay tuned for our 2nd edition of Painter's Apprentices featuring my grade 10 assignment and the beautiful paintings that spring from it - coming within days!
And our 2012 editions will be posted in the coming months