So often, I see lessons posted that I've seen before 'somewhere'. Earlier this week I was going through a binder of lesson ideas clipped from magazines for many years, and so today's post features a little sampling of what I found, that I've all seen recently on the blogs.
How many times have you seen this 'falling backwards' lesson? Sometimes it's called falling into space, or falling into water, or foreshortening, or... you get the idea. I first came across this lesson idea in a May 1985 Arts & Activities page where it was mentioned pictured to the left), but if you read the text, you'll see that the lesson was first featured in the September 1984 issue. While I began teaching art in 1976, I was in a high school position until June 1985, so this lesson idea was probably one of the first things I clipped and saved. And I've done various versions of this project over the years, with various media, but I've never posted any. I figured everyone has seen it before in one version or another.
So go ahead, post your versions, but please don't say you invented the idea! (You didn't.) After all, this magazine first published the lesson 28 years ago!!!! And maybe it was somewhere else even before that!
And how about this much used Louise Nevelson lesson idea, in the left-hand photo below, from Spark magazine in 1994? (I posted my own version in this post from 2010.)
Then there's these 3 articles below,all from School Arts magazine, April 2000, April 2001, and April 2005
So many times I've seen lessons in magazines, or on the internet, that I've seen... and seen... and seen again. If you've read School Arts and/or Arts & Activities for as many years as I have, you've undoubtedly seen lessons repeated many times with minor variations (or have posted a variation yourself), from coil pots, to mirror image names, to kaleidoscopic drawings, to taking lines for a walk, to Matisse goldfish bowls (I posted mine here and here), to Klimt trees, to Kandinsky circles, to Van Gogh starry nights, to Monet Japanese bridges, to collaborative circle paintings, to Mondrian animals, to dancing giraffes, to Wayne Thiebaud cakes (I posted mine here), to woven pouches (I posted mine here and here)... you get the idea. I think I'd better stop.
And that's OK. We don't always need to reinvent the wheel, and it's always miraculous to see kindergartners paint sunflowers, no matter how many times it's been done before, isn't it? So keep on posting that wonderful student artwork, and your versions of the tried and true, but keep showing us your original ideas too!.
Sometimes, I find wonderful original ideas, or interesting twists on old standards, when perusing the blogs. Maybe it's Artful Artsy Amy's wonderful negative space value study paintings of bicycles painted on old maps, or Art Project Girl's creative version of Andy Goldsworthy, or these wonderful Matisse-style paintings on wallpaper at Fun Art 4 Kids, or Mr. MintArt's gorgeous notans, or Cassie Stephens' clever cuckoo clocks, or Art With Mr. Hall's value landscapes done on the computer. And I'm only scratching the surface of what's out there.
Where did your ideas source from originally? Do you save decades-old magazine articles like I do? Do you see the articles repeat themselves after a while? What sparks an original idea?