Article 6 of 10
by Debi West
I always find it exciting for our students to have the opportunity to create artwork based on their everyday life, so what’s more “every day” and fun than cooking and EATING?
Several years ago, while I was putting my AMPed-up advanced curriculum together, I was brainstorming lessons and prompts that worked really well with my students. One of my Art II lessons is to paint large-scale food and it’s a huge success (see March 2017 issue).
So, I reworked that lesson and had students go beyond the actual food and think about the ways in which the food was prepared, the tools used to prepare the food and/or combining the food with personal attributes. The lesson proved to be super successful and is now one of my advanced students’ favorites.
As I begin this lesson with my students, many of them are already working on their concentration pieces. So, this is a great prompt they can use with their overarching concentration idea, or they can use this piece as a highly technical or creative breadth piece. Either way, this final piece is almost always a central part of my students’ final portfolio pieces.
I have enjoyed watching students explore the world of food over the years. Often, I will see kids researching the ingredients that go into a certain food, which then guides them to the tools that are used to make the food. One of my students actually did a series of sketches in her journal using various views of cookware. She used a plethora of media and they were all spectacular.
I submitted them to the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and several won her regional recognition, but one that was created in graphite took her to the National stage, where she was honored with a Gold Key award at Carnegie Hall!
So you never know how your students are going to interpret and receive the creative prompts that you give them. What’s Cookin’ is a great example as to what a seemingly obvious prompt can do for our advanced students when you push them to think beyond the obvious.
From cupcakes (where a student added flour and sugar and icing to her chalk pastel painting to see what would happen) to pretzels to fruit and a variety of media, the results are always delicious!
Since this is an advanced art course, I don’t limit my students to a specific media or size or surface, they are free to push their creativity and see where this cookin’ prompt takes them.
Next Up: “A Day in the Life.”
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A&A Contributing Editor Debi West, Ed.S, NBCT, was an art educator and department chair at North Gwinnett High School in Suwanee, Georgia. She is now involved with her two businesses, WESTpectations Educational Consulting and Crystal Collage Children’s Art Studio in Suwanee.