The school year has started, and it’s a good idea to get new students acquainted with your campus and let returning students see their school in a new light. To accomplish this, take a walking art field trip tour!
From colors and textures to architecture and landscape, there’s plenty of creative inspiration to be found at your very own school. So pick a day and take a tour. Encourage your students to be particularly observant and see things from various artistic perspectives.
Take a texture walk with white art tissue paper and peeled crayons or pastels in hand. Try to find as many unique textures as you can. Think brick, metalwork, stucco, decorative woodwork, and have students use the pastels or crayons to capture the textures as rubbings. Consider blowing up some of the rubbings and having students draw the enlarged textures from their rubbings. Then have the class view them and try to determine where it came from.
Try a study in color variations. With hand-held palettes stocked with paints, take your students on a color tour. Have students search for variations of the same color throughout the school—the different greys they see on a trash can, locker, or chair, for example—and mix their paints to match. Label each swatch with the item it matches and help your students begin to really see color nuances in their surroundings.
The top of a teacher’s desk, an open supply cabinet full of art supplies—your school campus is ripe with still-life opportunities. Students can select and roughly sketch a series of compositions in their sketchbooks, then choose one to flesh out further back in the art room. Just make sure class is NOT in session before you crash to capture the perfect composition.
Take a look at the buildings on campus from a distance, noting the size differences based on perspective. Using the perspective drawing tips on our blog, have your students sketch the angles and lines they see, roughing the scene in one-, two-, or three-point perspective.
You don’t need to visit Monet’s garden for landscape painting inspiration! Whether your campus is set against a backdrop of mountains, fields, homes, or urban surroundings, you’re sure to find a landscape scene to capture. You might choose to conduct an outdoor class, painting the scene on the spot, or have students sketch it. You could even photograph the scene and then head back to class to recreate. Either way, students will be left with a wonderful, handmade keepsake of their school!
What do you think? Will you take your students on an on-campus field trip? We hope so. Not only will these exercises allow them to see their surroundings through an artist’s eyes, but their finished work will also make a compelling study of the school. Consider compiling the different exercises into a gallery highlighting the campus and invite the faculty to take a peek.
Is there inspiration to be found on your school campus? Let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear what kinds of subjects you and your art students decided on as a back to school art project!