Monday, August 1, 2011

Monochromatic Watercolor Teapots

The shell design on Rachel's tortoise-inspired teapot looks rugged and deeply grooved just like a real turtle shell!  She experimented with using a range of values from super light to very dark. This helped her painting to have a strong sense of form.
Alex works to add texture to a teapot design inspired by her observations of a squirrel.  In the foreground we see samples of different values of payne's gray watercolor paint.

Megan adds darker values to add interest to her painting. Look closely and you can see what she was inspired by:  animal horns, a ribcage and the teeth from an ox!

This summer I am also teaching an Art Studio class at RISD.  I am really enjoying the fourteen young ladies in the class who range in age from thirteen to seventeen.  The students are eager to learn new techniques and that is great since I will be covering a lot of information over the ten classes.  For this lesson,  I took them to the nature lab to view a variety of natural specimens.  The lab is on campus and has a huge collection of nature samples that can be handled by students. There is everything from taxidermy animals, human and animal skeletons, fossils, insects, reptiles, plants, and several living animals.  It is always inspiring to take students here where they can select something to study and really look at it up close for an extended period of time.
For this lesson I challenged the students to design a teapot that was inspired by something from nature.  I discussed the Chinese ritual of drinking tea from an individual sized teapot made of clay called an Xixing ( Pronounced Ee-shing) teapot.  I explained that an interesting teapot design must consist of a strong form as well as be able to function.  In other words,  just making something that looked "cool" wouldn't be enough; we would need to discuss the possibilities of it functioning successfully as well!
The students completed a series of three sketches at the nature lab and continued to develop their strongest sketch back in the studio.  From there they began to work on the watercolor paper, first drawing their design lightly in pencil.  I did a demonstration and led a discussion about the basic properties of watercolor including how to dilute the paint to achieve different lights and darks.   Check back to see how these teapots turned out! It's fun to see if you can find the spout, handle and lid on each one!

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