Monday, September 22, 2008

Howdy, Fall!

Self Portrait as an Eagle
8.5" x 11"
It's fall! Cooler weather! Time for school and football. Band, cheerleaders, drill teams, and all.
Each year that I taught, it seemed like students became more and more apathetic and disinterested in almost everything. Some kids would run off from campus, rather than go to a pep rally or a program. Supporting the team was so dumb and boring, beneath their dignity, it seemed. At the pep rallies and games, they wouldn't stand, they wouldn't put their hands up in the eagle claw fashion, much less sing the school song or yell. They would run over anyone who got in their way, when they were trying to crowd out, before it was over. Nothing seemed to work. Their minds were on rushing home to the tv or video games, a boy or girl friend, friends to hang out with, a job, or something that was possibly illegal.
I wasn't a sports fan, of course, but tried to encourage the kids to enjoy all the opportunities that they had. We didn't have that much, or that much freedom, when I was growing up.
I dutifully put my hand up and sang the school song, as I watched for misbehaving students, or, at one point, took pictures to be used in the yearbook. When I didn't have a camera, I felt a bit lost. So, I took some paper and pencil and practiced gesture drawings.
What could we do to promote school spirit. Not everyone was in the band, or football, or cheerleading, or pep squad, or any of the other student activities. Sometimes, my art classes were called on to paint football signs. And that got quite a few kids involved. But, when the cheerleaders took on that job, that cut out one of the things that we could do in art.
I tried to get the students to be more observant, more aware of themselves, and others, and their surroundings. So, we did some short things at the beginning of the semester. After all, kids were constantly being put in my class, then moved somewhere else. So, we didn't know if we could finish anything that would take a few days.
I had students do a series of short drawings that would tell me about where they were in their development, and their skill level in art. We drew a person, an animal, the school mascot, a tree, a structure, a vehicle, a design, etc. Then we graduated a bit to drawing the person across from them at the table. I assigned students to do a self portrait at home, since I didn't have any mirrors in class. Only a few usually bothered to look at themselves in a mirror, and they just guessed while sitting in class when the drawing was due. Some actually followed instructions and studied themselves.
I explained that they were drawing the thing that they had probably looked at most through their lives -themselves! After all, they looked at themselves when brushing their teeth, washing their face, combing their hair, putting on makeup, or dressing. So, they should know what they looked like.
After the self portrait, kids were a little tired of drawing ordinary things, so I turned it into something kind of silly and fun, with the idea, too, of promoting school spirit.
We drew our mascot, an eagle, in pencil, then another one which we colored and cut out.
That should give them some idea of what an eagle looked like. And they should have some awareness of what they looked like from the self portraits.
This time, I gave the assignment, "Draw your self as an eagle". After all, songs and yells said, "We are the eagles!" So, what would you look like, if you were an eagle?
This provided a bit of fun as we all drew eagles with our own characteristics.
These drawings were then colored and cut out. We hung these, in a line, with each class together. I always did one with the class, and I taped my eagle as if leading my students.
It made a colorful decoration for our windows and attracted attention from people walking outside the room.
Unfortunately, by the end of the season, the little eagles were pretty dusty, faded, and brittle, so most were thrown away. But they were enjoyable while they lasted.
The drawing above is one that I did of myself as an eagle. I've got claws, a beak (with lipstick!), and feathers. But, I've got on my earrings, have hair pulled back with a pony tail holder, have on slacks and an artist's smock. My pockets are stuffed with things like pencils, pens, scissors, rulers, brushes, and crayons. Of course, I am waving a pallette and brushes, signifying that I am the art teacher.
Cut letters saying, "We Are The Eagles" finished the display.
"See, now you really are an eagle!" I told my students. Maybe they would feel a little more like a part of their school and support it and themselves.
This assignment could be modified to fit almost any mascot. Or it could be used to create cartoons. There are many possibilities. Just let yourself go. It doesn't have to be limited to a school mascot. People could just pick out their favorite animal, or make up an animal.
Go, whatever your team is!
Check out V....Vaughan's blog.
She has a lovely painting of lights on a pier that she is going to auction off to help raise funds for hurricane relief efforts. A portion of the sales of this painting will go toward the Baptist men who we have seen helping out in Galveston.
Buy a painting and help out a group who we know is serving those in need.
Plein Aire Painting Workshop
Calvert, Texas
Saturday October 18
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (officially)
7:30 a.m. to 6:51 p.m.
Sunrise to Sunset
(You will want to paint those, of course!)
demo-info-paint on location- V's famous "Chicken Clinic"
Contact Cecelia at
for information and a supply list
A fun, easy day, with breaks, lots of information, and those great Zamykal kolaches! This is the first ever plein aire painting workshop in the lovely little town of Calvert.
The 20th World Wide Sketch Crawl is coming up Saturday October 25.
Let's Draw The Brazos Valley!
Would you like to be a contact person for your community or area?
Let me know.
You can register on your own, or, if you are local, you can join in with us, or work solo.
Click on the Sketch Crawl logo in my sidebar and that will take you to their site.


Pasifik said...

Great article!

Keep posting,


Cecelia said...

Thank you. Glad you enjoyed it.