Samples of student work at AOMA:
At the Academy of Modern Art in Vancouver, BC, I taught a Contemporary Abstract Oil Painting class. My students had previously taken many extra curricular art classes through which they had been taught conventional painting techniques, so were well primed to delve into less academic, more experimental painting. The goal was to learn by being brave and to paint without the fear of failure. In fact, failure was encouraged, especially if it resulted in searching for and coming up with new visual possibilities.
After looking at early 20th century European Expressionism, students painted Matisse's Green Stripe. This lesson liberated students from conventional painting methods. They then painted expressionistic self portraits by mixing paint straight from the tube on their painting surfaces.
Using several photos of themselves, students cut and pasted to reconstruct a fractured images, which they then painted. They were encouraged to pace themselves and take the time needed to first plan their compositions, then to mix colours. Each section was taped off and painted individually, using a fresh pallet each time.
Abstract with patterned stencil
This was a simple way to have the students move their work from abstract form back into more constructive imagery. After mixing and moving paint freely onto and around their canvases, they created stencils with which to produce patterns. During this phase, we looked at both Pop artists and Op artists.
We ended the term by painting abstract flowers. I set a conventional floral still life before the students, but instead of painting a still life, the students were challenged to interpret the colours and textures by blending the predominant flower colour (higher tones) thickly onto their canvas, onto which they inserted the cooler, complimentary colours, plus any other visual information they saw.