Thursday, October 09, 2008

Out To Pasture

Large scale drawing project by Santa Cruz Waldorf High School class of 2012

Yesterday I finished teaching my first class for this school year;  9th Grade Black and White Drawing. The picture you see is our line drawing project, an enlargement of Albrecht Durer's " The Woman Clothed With the Sun and the Seven Headed Dragon " from his Apocalypse series. See the original here. Each student did a tenth of the whole, final size is about 5 by 7 or so feet. Last year we did Durer's rhino (see below), which I suggested to the class this year, but they insisted on looking though the whole woodcut book and choosing one themselves. this could be thought of as loosing control of the class on my part, but anything that will get students to look at art and be enthusiastic and think about their future (even if it is only in art class) is alright by me. The presence of the dragon played a big part in the choice, later I hipped them to what was going in the print. The Apocalypse series of 15 woodblock prints was created at the beginning of Durer's career and is one of the first large scale print series made available to common folk, even the poor could, for a few pennies, own a Durer. Sold by his wife and mother at fairs this series popularized the artist in a way no other artist had done before. Started in 1497 and completed in 1498, the Apocalypse is based on the Revelations of St. John regarding
This is last years 9th grade project, they couldn't cooperate sufficiently to work on one rhino, 
so we had to have Team Rhino A and B, with one student doing two panels
 and Miss Moll stepping in to do one as well......

the end of the world. At this time in Europe the end of the world in 1500 was also predicted. This was both the time of the Black Plague and the Reformation; people were panicking and raving; there were stories of crosses falling from the sky and killing people; crazy times. Durer looked to the words of the Bible comfort and found himself profoundly moved and stimulated by those of St. John. The visions took form in Albrecht's head, using images from all the art and scenery he had experienced in the travels of his early youth. In "Woman" what is actually happening is the appearance of Mary, who is being pursued by the dragon, and has given birth to Jesus, who is being saved by god. In a later print St. Michael vanquishes the dragon and saves the world. It was generally agreed that the final product was spectacular and that it looked a lot better from far away than from up close, the latter could be a sort of life lesson. I hope that students learned something about the importance of thicks and thins in line drawing as well as the techniques of hatching, cross hatching, contour hatching and stippling. And the oft mentioned goal of keeping everything in proportion (that could be another life lesson)and, of course cooperation.
The second Rhino from last year, I did the middle back panel,
 this one got turned into a school greeting card.

I'm off for six weeks now, though other various employments continue. During this teaching block I have been very good about riding my bike to work, this was noticed by at least one student, an 11th grade boy. While I was cleaning up my room he came in and said "Miss Moll, I just gotta ask you something." "And what is that? Jackson?" "Are you riding your bike because you got a DUI?" "No, Jackson, I'm minimizing my carbon foot print and I like to ride my bike." "Oh, I was just thinking of the reasons why......" My upcoming absence from school may spark rumors that I'm drying out at a rehab clinic. LOL.

13 comments:

Paul Pincus said...

these drawings are gorgeous!!!

are you familiar with the work of ernesto caivano?

you'll love him.

cheers.

Rabbits' Guy said...

Can't hold a steady job either, eh???

I bet those kids had fun ...

furrybutts said...

Great art work!!

LOL, bet the students find your class very intriguing.. it's not often that one's teacher is an alcoholic, junkie bad girl!

FrecklesandDeb said...

What a wonderful project! Bet it was a lot of fun putting it all together.

Elizabeth said...

What amazing projects for a high school class.
I like the idea of each child contributing to something bigger.
Super background details about Durer - always one of my favorites.

RoadBunner said...

Beautiful art! One of my high school math teachers used to ride his bike to work, too!

PG said...

Oh lovely Durer! I remember copying a couple of his original sketches in the basement archives of the Ashmolean when I was an art student - your students have done a pretty good job there.

divakitty said...

Ahahahahahaha - Drying out over the break!

tlc illustration said...

What a great student project! I haven't taught kids for awhile, but I'm going to remember this one for future reference.

Annie B said...

What Elizabeth said: great project and great background on Durer. Wish you had been my teacher in high school. I didn't realize I could have a job in art until I was nearly 30 years old!

Rima said...

What a brilliant project to set them and a brilliant artist to choose too.. Bravo!
Good luck staying off the booze ;)

Sukhada Gokhale said...

beautiful art

mum of critters said...

that's too funny about the bike riding - so if we don't see you blogging for a while we'll know why...

love the pics, we did a similar thing in our college art class, it was fun but i sucked ;-)

have a great weekend!