Fireflies: Apple Still Life - Masterpiece Response         

Nov 2, 2012

Apple Still Life - Masterpiece Response

"Waiting in Line" Palette-Knife Still Life by Laura Bird Miller
In response to our masterpiece I brought in an apple still life painting I painted with nothing other than a palette knife and some oil paints.  I showed the K-4th students my painting and other still life paintings as well, sharing that there are as many different ways to make a still life as there are artists.  There is usually one thing in common, however, and that is how we as artists try to capture how light touches the objects in a still life and how that light creates or "casts" super-cool-looking shadows!  I pointed out the shadows under my apples on the table and the shadow of where the table cloth folds over the edge of the table.  I saw the light bulbs going off in the little artist's minds.  Every child has at some point or another been fascinated by their own shadow!

We are each unique and special.  Every child's shadow and every child's artwork is unique as well!  It is important to me that each student know they are capable of making their own mark on their page and that it doesn't have to look like everybody else's though we have a few "tricks" we can learn!  Each child has seeds of greatness in them I hope to water with encouragement as well as lessons in application.  The more the students are exposed to not only "good" art but they hear "how to" apply it, they will grow.  Sometimes growth is hard and they will be frustrated.  Just like with us adults, frustration is usually when we will either give up or grow.  Anxiety is progress trying to happen!

Some students will grow more slowly than others.  When they are ready, their "teacher will appear" and they will be ready to receive.  Meanwhile, we can provide plenty of opportunities to experience the joy of creating!

For our still-life apple study, I gave the students the following opportunities to create: 

1.  I  sliced apples in half so they would make interesting patterns.  I tried to slice them so they were flat and the seed area would show when paint was applied as below:

2.  After showing the students the still-life paintings, including the one I did with the shadows and palette knife and how to set up a still life, the students could "practice" drawing their own still life.  Here are some fun examples of what the young students K-4th came up with:

Isn't that interesting?  Some of them "got" the idea of the shadow under the apple!  Some of them added items from their imagination to their still life.  Notice the worm coming out of the apple and the addition of a candle.  Another drew faces on her apples to make an apple family.  Yet another added other fruit to their drawing.  I am always humbled and in awe of their imaginations.  

Every age can practice drawing a circle for an apple and have fun apple stamping!   You also may be surprised at what their little minds will actually file away in those super-absorbent sponge brains and what they'll learn by making mistakes -- or what I call "happy accidents" because we always learn something from them and come out the other side happy if we choose to let it help us grow!  Happy creating!   

Love and blessings,
Laura Bird Miller
Artist/K-12 art instructor Circle Christian
Orlando, Florida

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