After reversing our drawing approach from black charcoal on white paper, to white chalk on black paper, we were ready to understand how using color is much like "painting with light." Look at some of these fantastic studies done from flowers in direct lighting from observation! Students first played with colors in a "plaid" design on black to help them think about which colors came forward and which receded when juxtaposed or overlapped.
Then, they chose a limited palette - it did not have to be based on reality, though some students carefully chose their "plaid color palette" colors to match the diversity they observed in their subject, so their drawings look more realistic. Other students chose colors for emotional effect - harmonious colors for a calm effect, complimentary for contrast or discord, or even colors based on the emotions the colors themselves might evoke - like, warm colors for a sunny effect, or green for vitality and rejuvenation.
The results after 2 solid drawing from observation periods was impressive!
After the art show, where each student identified a piece they learned from, and what they will try differently next time they draw with color, we took Winter Break!
Upon return we spent a week studying the human form, posing for each other, doing 1-5 minute gesture drawings, then checking them for proportion and places that required foreshortening. We polished up our favorite gesture drawings, then moved on to portraits.
We learned about human body and facial proportions from some of the following references:
This final exam was a take-home test - students had over 1 week to complete it, they were encouraged to ask their peers for help, and to look through their sketchbooks and other resources in the room to help them summarize all we learned over the semester, and prove it with the best score possible.