As the school year comes to a close, it is sometimes difficult to come up with a lesson that will be effective, while still holding the interests of the students. This was my first time doing a “Forced Proximity” project. Before I explain, I want to first say that this is a lesson taken from John Zilewicz. John attended MCAD’s Art Educator workshop for Experimental Drawing and this is one of the lessons that was taught.
Forced Proximity is a collaborative art lesson. Students work together using a variety of different mediums and a variety of different techniques. Some mediums include pencils, graphite, charcoal, oil pastels, chalk pastels, gesso, and paint. Different techniques include still life drawing, abstract expressive drawing, group work, individual work, creating subtle background images and pulling images into the foreground, etc.
I did this project with a class of 24 eighth grade girls. I split the class into two different groups. We started out with blank canvas and a still life set up.
Students were asked to sit around the canvas and draw; some students were drawing realistically with still life drawings, while other students were standing and drawing loosely and more abstractly with charcoal. I had students get up every fifteen minutes or so to switch where they were drawing, etc.
It was really interesting to me to see the different directions that each of these went in. Some students went incredibly realistically while others were looser and more subtle. On another day, I also had students add color into their compositions with oil and chalk pastels. Students were asked to consider a variety of different color, to have some art going off the page, to make sure there is an even composition and that there are no “dead zones”.
The next step was to incorporate gesso and block out or to push back images that should not be as vibrant. As some students were blocking things out, others were now working in groups to build off of already created drawings.
I took a picture of the finished product (don’t worry, the duct tape was only temporary! ha!) Good luck and hang in there to all you teachers out there! Happy end of the year!
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