I am so, so psyched! We’ve been visiting my folks in Southern California (yes, we were here for today’s 5.3 earthquake. We were in the car and thought the engine was misfiring!) and staying at the lovely Ayers Hotel.
They’re very nicely appointed hotels, super comfy beds and lots of classic paintings (reproductions, obviously) hanging in the hallways to add a touch of elegance and class.
This evening G-, my 8yo, A-, my 11yo, and I spent twenty minutes walking around and they were really into looking at the differences between the art and listening to me explain basic compositional rules. Yay!
Ironically, most of my composition knowledge comes from photography (like the rule of thirds as a way to achieve harmonious balance rather than just centering things, and how it’s important that a composition answer the question “where’s it going?” if your subject is in motion).
One thing they found fascinating was my explanation of the “s-curve” in painting and how it’s a classical motif to have a river coming from the left foreground to the central vanishing point or horizon as a lazy curve, pulling you into the scene. Fortunately, there were a surprising number of classical paintings on the wall that demonstrated just that compositional technique.
We came back to the room and I expanded my lesson with some basic sketches showing how the rule of thirds, for example, can make a child playing under the shade of a tree quite a pleasant drawing, and how vanishing points and perspective let you add depth to your sketches in a way that’s very fun and surprisingly easy.
A- is now inspired to take a formal drawing class (and she’s quite talented and even teaching herself some of the popular anime illustration styles with the exaggerated eyes and unruly hair. I’ll have to – with her permission – scan a few so you can see, but they’re not “kid drawings”, they’re really professional-level illustrations. In fact, if you need any illustrations she’d love to help out!)
More than being able to share this with them, I am just so thrilled to see that they are becoming interested in art. I love museums and art galleries and so far they’ve only been to museums with me like the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, as previous trips to the art gallery have proven boring and tedious.
Yay! Now, where to start…. 🙂