Monday, January 5, 2009

Learning from the Masters - Louise Nevelson

I was priviledged to work with the Peninsula Fine Arts Center in Newport News, VA for many years and with many different groups - girls scout and boy scout troups, classes for artists as young as 4 up to adults pursuing their passion for Art.

One summer there was an exhibition of sculptures by Louise Nevelson that inspired a wonderful week-long scultpure class for elementary school children.

We started each day by visiting the gallery with her work and discussed many key terms - monochromatic, 2D and 3D, relief and scultpure-in-the-round, variety, repetion, and whatever else we were inspired to talk about!

It was great to see her work in person, but as you can see from the images above, you can also learn alot just by looking. We then went to our studio and delved into huge boxes of miscellaneous pieces of scrap wood - trimmings/scrap from the wood workshop, but also found objects from old furniture, kitchen items, boxes, etc.

The students had to create sculptures like Nevelson did - being sure to think about key elements of design. We discussed continuity, balance, variety of size and shape, organic, and viewing our sculptures on all sides to ensure all sides were balanced and interesting.
They did an AMAZING job. After they glued their wooden pieces together, they had to choose one color to paint to achieve the monochromatic, and final unifying, look of Neleson's sculptures.

I had a range of ages and "skill" levels in these groups and they all did an amazing job!

I hope you enjoy this idea - do it yourself! Do it

with your favorite young artist! Search for your neighborhood "wood working" hobbyist and ask for their old will have a lot of fun, and the next time you look at one of Louise Nevelson's sculptures, you may, like I did, have a new appreciation for the level of skill and artistic talent it takes to make a successful sculpture!

The last picture shows a few of the older students with their finished sculptures in the Nevelson gallery.

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