Capturing A Living Library Through Art

 This month at A Living Library, students took a deeper look at the Gardens and Landscapes through the lens of art. Art for creation, for beauty, and for self-expression.  Students opened their eyes to details of the Gardens at the OMI/Excelsior and Bernal Heights Branch Living Library & Think Parks through Photography, Blind Contour Drawings, and Scientific Observational Drawing Classes.

Older students at our OMI/Excelsior Living Library & Think Park learned how to critically analyze images and objects using perspective, light, balance, color contrast, focus, background, and the rule of thirds. Each student used these principles of photography as they explored the Gardens taking photos.

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Blind Contour Drawings are an art form that encourages you to pay more attention to the shape and essence of your subject, rather than the detail and accuracy of your drawing. There are only 3 guidelines for this art form:

1) Never take your eyes off of your subject

2) Never lift your pencil off your paper

3) Have fun!

Our after-school students from 2nd through 7th grades participated in this activity, that is far more difficult than it seems. Students first learned the basics of Blind Contour by drawing a partner’s face, as their partner drew theirs. This show-down stare contest produced interesting art works that encouraged students to let go of perfection, and just have fun. Students were then able to take their talent to the Living Library Gardens and capture the forms of human figures, flowers, and other garden treasures.

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Our youngest students at A Living Library were encouraged to observe plants and flowers in detail, and produce scientific drawings of their subjects. Students explored the Garden and sat down in front of their subjects of choice for a closer look. Students observed their plants, and drew them as they saw them, identifying and matching shapes, colors, proportions, and growth patterns. With the A.L.L. Teacher asking, “What else do you see?”, students repeatedly returned to their subjects to add any parts they missed before.

Scientific Drawings encourage observation, critical analysis, and an awareness of the details of nature. Students were asked to take a look at the differences between these art forms. Each one brings new light and new attention to the beauty of the Garden, and the self-expression of each student, who is part of our Living Library & Think Parks

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