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La Jolla, California

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Posted on Feb 12, 2015

Gillispie “Gem” of the Week

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Since the beginning of the school year the children have been drawing through observation. They have been practicing looking at things very closely and drawing what they see. Using charcoal and chalk pastels, the children explored color with their fingertips, as well as their eyes, feeling its slick smoothness or its grainy dryness. During this encounter, the children investigated the relationship between the pastel’s color and texture, exploring the ways in which pastels can be layered, blended, and wiped away, to reveal what is below the surface. The children carefully selected a palette of colors that reflected their subjects’ unique colors and shadings. The story of their creation is the story of focused attention and sweet surprises.

Something magical happens when the children slow down and really look closely. It is if they are seeing something familiar with new eyes. They notice the animals eyes, nose, and mouth. They notice the animal’s fur and how it moves or stands straight up. They notice the animal’s teeth and wonder what they eat. Their illustrations demonstrate the ways in which they come to know the subject’s identity. Here is an example of their inquisitive thoughts.

“This bear is fuzzy like a sea sponge.”

“I noticed some green and orange on his teeth through the magnifying glass, I wonder what he has eaten to make his teeth that color. It’s kind of cool to look through these. It looks very close to you!”

“My shark has dark eyes and a pointy nose and lots of different kinds of blues in his body.”

“I cannot get the shape of this shark right. I think it is a sideways oval.”

“The bear’s body has three circles in it. A beginning, middle and end. His hair is smooth on the sides but stands straight up on his head. Look!”

“I notice the grass is so bright in this picture. It is wet and a greenish yellow—like summertime.”

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