Homework assignments have always been part of my drawing classes. Keep drawing. Keep a sketchbook with you. Draw on anything, anywhere, while you’re waiting, bored, watching t.v. etc. It’s all good practice.
My students and I gathered for an after-holiday drawing get together as I wouldn’t be able to teach my winter class due to other commitments. After exchanging holiday stories, I was delighted to hear they’d somehow managed to incorporate art into their holidays. Giving gifts of artwork and creative gifts to their families. They made my heart happy. I showed them paintings I’d done since the beginning of the year. Joining a website called Paint My Photo with a group called Loose Watercolor Painting. There were three challenges for the month of January. Admittedly, I’d probably painted each challenge three or four times (all of which I showed my students), but I’d gotten two paintings I thought were worthy of “the frame”.
When we cracked open the sketchbooks, the grumbling started. They didn’t know what to draw, hadn’t drawn, not sure where to start. It seems they hadn’t done much drawing since before the holidays. I settled them down, helped them get started and decided I would do a quick drawing and painting of a snowy owl to commerate the fact that New Jersey actually has been the home to one this winter. I think the orinthologists call it an irruption year for these beautiful creatures, as they are being seen in areas south of their normal range. Out came the paper and paints, the drawing went quickly, and in about 20 minutes I had my snowy owl. Not only did I suprise myself it appearred so quickly, I liked it.
Not so for my students and their drawings. No one at the table was happy with what they’d done except me. That’s when I realized just how much I’d benefited from the advice I’d been giving them. Perhaps “irruption years” are not only for snowy owls.