Sunday, October 25, 2015

Painting Boot Camp

I did lots of thinking over the summer. LOTS of thinking. I knew I wanted to stick with TAB, but I hadn't ever used the approach with high school students. I was torn until I read about Apex's idea of "boot camp". Brilliant! Students spend time doing activities to get acquainted with new media so they know what they want to use for their choices later on. The first month of school was basically 2D boot camp in my graphics classes. We covered observational drawing, pencil rendering, ink techniques, acrylic, watercolor, colored pencil, mono printing, and collage! Soon, we will do a 3D boot camp and later on, digital media.
Our painting boot camp started with a color mixing challenge. Students were divided into teams, given a sheet with numbered paint sample swatches, tempera paint in primary and neutral colors, and worked together to mix paint to match the colors as close as possible.

The next task was to complete a one day acrylic painting of fruit. I gave the students small pieces of poster board to paint on and did not allow them to draw the fruit ahead of time. I wanted to see how they would do starting directly with paint.

 After acrylic, students completed one day watercolor paintings. I suggested a landscape, but it could have been something else. No reference photos, just see what you can come up with out of your head.
Students were much more comfortable with acrylic than watercolor, so one of my goals for the year is to win some more over to team watercolor!

The next post, some day, when I'm once again caught up on grad work, will cover mono printing and collage boot camps. If you want to see what we're up to in closer to real time, follow @JHArtClass on Instagram!


  1. The "Boot Camp" is a wonderful way to have students experiment with a variety of mediums and to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each one. Each medium has characteristics all their own and it only seems fitting that with mass amounts of students each with their own characteristics they be able to explore the potential of each medium. I liked how you had the students do an observational painting and an imagination painting to provided a guideline in highlighting the difference between the two. I am a Washburn University Art Education Student. I located this blog through the KAEA link. Very well organized blog!

  2. can you provide a website/url for the Apex Boot Camp you mentioned? (the link doesn't seem to lead to it)...thank you!!

    1. I corrected the link!

  3. I think this is so cool! I'm surprised that they where more comfortable with the acrylic. I learned with water color even though I don't do much with it now. Emma @ Creative Indulgences