Art World Travelogue through Drawing and Painting
Dr Abe V Rotor
Dr Abe V Rotor
“Art World: A Travelogue through Drawing and Painting”, is a workshop manual designed to teach basic drawing and painting techniques to children of school age and young adults.
Fertile Valley in acrylic by the author
The approach in this third volume is unique. The participants go through an imagined itinerary that takes them to different places and introduces them to experiences which they are likely to encounter in life. There are twenty exercises to be accomplished as class work or home assignment, fifteen (15) are designed for individual work, while five (5) are for group work..
This manual provides the needs of a summer workshop which is conducted for at least ten sessions, with three hours per session. Ideally one exercise is done in the classroom, and one is given as home assignment. An on-the-spot session can also make use of a number of exercises from this manual, such as Flying Kites, Inside a Gym, and Market Day. Each exercise will be graded and at the end of the workshop, the participants will be rated and ranked accordingly. The top three graduates shall be awarded gold, silver and bonze medals, respectively.
Computation of grades is based on the Likert Scale, where 1 is very poor, 2 poor, 3 fair, 4 good, and 5 very good. The general criteria are composition, interpretation, expression, artistic quality and impact. The details of these shall be discussed by the instructor at the onset of each exercise.
The author offers this volume a respite from cartoons, advertisements, entertainment characters, programs filled with
violence and sex, computer games, and the like, which many children are overexposed via media and computers. It is his aim to help create a more wholesome culture where certain values of a growing child and adolescent are developed and nurtured. Art through this means becomes principally a vehicle for development, notwithstanding the gains in skill acquired.
For each exercise, the instructor shall explain the requirements and procedure with the use of visuals and through demonstration. If there is need for group interaction he shall also serve as facilitator-moderator. He shall choose the appropriate music background for each exercise to enhance the ambiance of the workshop.
With brush and colors one can go places and create scenarios as vivid as what a pen can do. It reminds us of the masterpieces of Jules Verne which he wrote many, many years ago, notably “Around the World in Eighty Days”. More than fiction we embark on a trip for life, real and inevitable. The pleasures await us, so with difficulties and hardships. The journey takes us closer to Nature and appreciate her beauty , it leads us to meet people and learn how to be a part of society. Here we plan our lives, make things for ourselves, enjoy success, face failure, and at the end we return to reality once again. Our journey takes us back to our loved ones, and with an Angelus prayer on our lips we draw a deep breathe of gratitude.
Thus one can glimpse from the outline of our itinerary that Part 1 introduces us to the natural world, while Part 2 integrates us into society. The last part provides a window through which a growing child and an adolescent see the other side of their present world, the real world in which they will spend the rest of their lives. All aboard!
Lessons in radial symmetry, uniformity,
and unity; farm life and scenery.
The sunflower has a central disc, surrounded by a ring of bright yellow petals which resemble the rays of the sun. But the most unique characteristic of the sunflower is that it faces the sun as it moves from sunrise to sunset. Because of its “obedience” to the sun, botanists gave the plant a genus name, Helianthes, after the Greek sun god, Helios.
Draw a field of sunflowers. Central Luzon State University in Munoz, Nueva Ecija, is the pioneer in sunflower farming. Imagine yourself to be at the center of sunflower farm. It is a bright day. Walk through the field among the plants as tall as you. Examine their long and straight stem and large leaves. Touch the large flowers, smell their sweet and fresh scent. Observe the bees and butterflies visiting one flower after another. Make the flowers prominent in your drawing. Remember they are uniform in size, height and color, and they are all facing the sun. Make the sky blue with some cloud to break the monotony.
You are given thirty minutes to complete your work. Use pastel colors on Oslo or drawing paper. Fill up the entire paper as if it were the whole field and sky. You may draw butterflies and bees. And you may draw yourself as you imagine yourself in a sunflower field. Here are suggested musical compositions for music background. “Humoreque”, “Minuet in G”, “Serenata”, “Traumerei”, “On the meadow”, “Spring Song”, “Ang Maya”.
Introduction to fantasy, richness of imagination,
and familiarity of make-believe stories.
This exercise relies principally on fantasy. We are in fairyland. What kind of garden is this? It is a garden made by our imagination and dreams. It is a garden in the world of Jonathan Swift’s second book, “Gulliver in Brodningnad”, where Gulliver was a dwarf in a land of giants where everything is big.
Imagine yourself a dwarf among mushrooms, mosses, grass, and insects. But here everyone is friendly, you imagine you can even ride on an ant like in “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids!”, if you have seen the movie.
Here harmony of nature and creatures is at its best. There are no cars, buildings, highways and skyways. The amenities in life are very simple. Nature is left alone in her pure state.
Use Oslo paper and pastel colors. Draw a part or section of that garden in your imagination. Do not draw the whole panoramic view. Include the things that make that garden in your imagination, one that belongs to fantasy land. “The Last Rose of Summer’”by Flotow fits well in this exercise. How about Schubert compositions? Ballet music like, “The Dying Swan”? Let us try these for background music.
A Hut by the Pond on a Mountain
Lessons of peace, tranquility, and of unspoiled
landscape; feeling of being on top of the world.
The title alone tells a story. It is picturesque. Here one imagines himself to be in a simple hut made of wood and stone and grass which shelters a woodsman or a hunter on Mt. Pulag in Benguest which is the second highest mountain in the Philippines after Mt. Apo.
There are no houses, buildings; no road, except a trail. The trees are gnarled and stunted. They are covered with ferns, epiphytes and mosses which make them look haunted. Feel the great comfort the hut gives you after a long day hike, and how soothing is the cool and clear water of a pond nearby. There are water lilies growing on the pond. Their flowers are red, orange, white and yellow. Sometimes a breeze come along, followed by drizzle, then everything is quiet. Enjoy stillness. It is a rare experience to one who has been living in the city.
Draw first the mountain top where a pond and a hut are found. There is an faint trail which is the only way. The trees are dwarf and sturdy. They are bearded with mosses. Mist will soon clear as the sun penetrates through the trees, and makes a prism on the mist and dewdrops. Selections from the sound track of “Sound of Music” provide an ideal musical background.
Lighthouse at the Edge of the Sea
Lessons in the wild, where Nature can
be at times angry and cruel to those
who do not take heed of her warning.
Here we are at the end of the land, and the beginning of the vast ocean. We stand on the coral reef and stones where we are safe from the angry waves. Above our head is a tall structure, strong, painted white, and on top of it is a strong light which guides seafarers at night, keeping away from dangerous rocks and shoals. This is an old lighthouse in Calatagan, Batangas.
Draw the waves breaking on the rock at the foot of the lighthouse. Give life to the sky. Put some moving clouds, some sunset colors. This is a sign of bad weather. There are sailboats leaning with the wind, their sails distended. They burst in different colors and designs, breaking the gloom. Other boats lay in anchor, their sails lowered, while others have been carried to higher ground. The shore is deserted now, except a few fishermen securing their paraphernalia in their anchored boats. Let us play Antonin Dvorak Jean Sibelius and other Scandinavian compositions. They have a special touch that creates the ambiance for this topic.
A lesson on different kinds of plants and animals living
together in a forest, the richest ecosystem in the world,
their organization, adaptation and relationships.
As we enter a tropical rainforest, the trees become taller and denser, grasses disappear, and shrubs and vine plants called lianas take over their place. In the center of the rainforest are massive trees several meters high. Their trunks are huge, it takes several persons to wrap a tree with their arms stretched. Sunlight is blocked, except rays seeping through the green roof. We imagine we are inside the forest of Mt. Makiling in Laguna.
We walk through the forest by first clearing our way with a bolo. Be careful, the ground is slippery. In the rainforest, rain falls everyday, in fact anytime, from drizzle to downpour. That is why it is called rainforest. Be careful with wild animals and thorny plants. Do not disturb them, just observe them. Look for reptiles like lizards and snakes, amphibian like frogs and toads, fish swimming in a stream, birds singing up in the trees, insects of all kinds, animals like deer and monkeys.
Draw a cross section of a forest showing the different creatures. Show their interrelationships. For example a snake eats frogs, frogs eat insects, insects feed on plants. Observe the trees are of three levels. We appear very small standing on the ground floor of a seven-storey natural building that is the forest. Joey Ayala’s compositions on nature fit best as background music in this exercise. Why don’t we try some songs of Pilita Corales and Kuh Ledesma which are appropriate for this topic? “Sierra Madre”, for example.
Lessons on the Central Plains, birthplace of agriculture
and seat of early human settlement, rice granary of the
country, where typical farm life is observed.
Rice, rice everywhere with few trees, no mountains, except Mt. Arayat. The wind sweeps over the plains and make waves and soothing sound. Suddenly a flock of herons and maya birds rise into the air. Herds of cattle lazily graze. Their calves are playful and oftentimes get lost. You hear both parents and calves calling one another. There are carabaos which like best areas where there is water and mud to wallow in..
Because we are in the Philippines we do not have zebras, lions, tigers and leopards. These animals live in Africa and on the vast plains of North America. We are going to draw a Philippine scene instead. We have our Central Plains where we grow rice. Here the farmer plants when the rains come and harvests towards the end of the monsoon. His hut in the middle of his field is made of nipa and bamboo. It is small. Beside it are haystacks that look like giant mushrooms. Children help on the farm, they mature and learn to live with life earlier than city kids.
Draw a typical ricefield scene in Central Luzon. It is like Fernando Amorsolo’s seceneries of rural life where there are people planting or harvesting rice. A carabao pulls a plow or cart, a nipa hut is surrounded by vegetables, haystacks or mandala dwarf the huts and people around. It is indeed a typical scene that gives an excellent background for our native songs and dances like Tinikling. Ang Kabukiran song fits well as a background music for this exercise. Let us play Nicanor Abelardo’s Compositions. Filipino composers like Padilla de Leon, Verlarde, Canseco, and Umali excel in this field.
This exercise makes us reflect at where a river abruptly
ends. The energy and scenery of a waterfalls stir our
imagination and make us think about life.
Here we follow the river. It meanders, then at a certain point it stops. But it does not actually end here. As water seeks its own level the river drops into a waterfalls and continues its journey toward the sea. We think of Pagsanjan Falls in Laguna or Maria Cristina Falls in Mindanao.
As we stand witness to this natural phenomenon, we are awed by its strength, it roars as it falls, sending spray and mist that make a prism or small rainbow. It pounds the rocks, plunges to a deep bottom before it becomes placid as if it has been tamed, then resumes to flow, seeking a new course toward its destiny.
Look around. Trees abound everywhere and make a perfect curtain and prop of a great drama. The background music is a deafening sound. And it is just appropriate. Be part of the drama. Be still and capture the scene. You have thirty minutes to do it on Oslo and pastel colors. Let us play heavy music from Beethoven, and Ryan Cayabyab. Toward the end of the exercise let us have a Rachmaninov or a Listz composition.
Inside a Cave
Looking back at the past, the home of our primitive
Ancestors, window of early civilization, and study
of a Nature’s architectural work.
Have you ever been inside a cave? Jules Verne wrote a fancinating novel, “Journey to the Center of the Earth”. Look for the book or tape, or find somebody who had read it. It is a story of three daring men who traveled down a dormant volcano and explored a huge cavern, a world in itself inhabited by strange creatures of the past.
This exercise leads us to a cave in Callao, Cagayan, or Tabon in Palawan. On the face of a cliff are openings. We enter the biggest one. It is dark and scary. We hear bats, dripping water, and the wind making its ways through the cave. We see tiny lights like hundreds of distant stars. These are crystalline calcium deposits, phosphorescent materials, and glow worms. They cling on the stalactites which are giant teethlike structures hanging from the roof of the cave. The stalagmites are their counterpart rising from the cave floor. When both meet, they form pillars of many shapes and sizes. See that beam of light coming through the roof? It is a window to the sky.
Now draw the view from here and show the main entrance which frame the stalactites and stalagmites, and the seeping beam of light coming from the opening at the sky roof. You have thirty minutes to do it. Play a tape of Johann Sebastian Bach as background music. Robert Schumann’s symphony fits as well.
Shanties and Buildings
Lesson on contrast – between beautiful, high
rise buildings and ugly shanties; between affluent
and poor, modern and undeveloped communities.
It is ironic to see high rise buildings as a backdrop of shanties in Pasig and Makati, our country’s business capital.
It means there are very rich and very poor people living together in one place. It reminds us of Charles Dicken’s “Oliver Twist” and the Bastille before the French revolution. These are stories about inequality, and where there is inequality, many social problems arise, such as unemployment, disease and epidemic, drug abuse and problems on peace and order. Play the tapes, “Les Miserables” and “Noli Me Tangere, the Musical”. We can use these also in other exercises, like Typhoon and Angelus.
Here we stand viewing the dwellings of the so-called “poorest among the poor” which line up the sidewalks and esteros. They are found under the bridges, on vacant lots, and even on parks and shorelines. What a perfect contrast they make against the skyscrapers! This view is what you are going to draw. In each sector, include the inhabitants in their own lifestyle.
A place where people meet people, the pulse of our socio-
economic life, where all walks all of life converge.
Everyday is market day in Divisoria, Baclaran, Pasay, Balintawak, and many public markets and talipapa in the city. In the province, Market Day comes maybe once a week, and when it is on a Sunday, the market comes alive after the mass.
Here we are going to meet people, we meet the common tao. We are among them. We are going to draw a complex scene. Here are the things we are going to put in our drawing. Let us play a lively tune, “Gavotte” and Antonio Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”. Because Amadeus Mozart music is light, let us have one or two of his compositions toward the end of the exercise.
1. A noisy crowd, people, people everywhere.
2. People selling and people buying.
3. Stalls and stores, carinderia, vendors and hawkers.
4. Wares, commodities, goods, services
5. Tricycles, jeepneys, trucks, carts
6. Festive moods, decors, colors, antics.
This is a group work. Each group has 5 to 7 members. Use one-half illustration board. Before you start, each group must convene its members and plan out what to do. Then it is all yours. You are give the whole session.
Building a House
A step-by-step follow-me exercise in building a
house, making it into a home and ultimately a
part of a community
This is quite an easy exercise. But it needs analysis and imagination.
Your score here will greatly rely on the interpretation of the theme. That is why you have to pay attention as we go through the step-by-step process. Do not go ahead, and do not lag behind either. Draw spontaneously as we go along. Our musical background is “Home Sweet Home” a classical composition you must have heard in “The King and I”. Let us also try the music of Leopoldo Silos, Buencamino, Abelardo and Mike Velarde Jr. in this exercise.
Let us start.
1. First put up the posts
2. Put on the roof .
3. There is a floor, maybe two, if you like.
4. The walls have windows.
5. Stairs meet the door
6. Extension for additional room, kitchen, etc. as you wish.
7. Think of the amenities for functional and comfortable living.
8. You are free now to complete your house
9. Make it into a home. 10. Make it as part of a community
The proof if you really made it good is, “Do you wish to live with your family in the house that you made?” Let us see. Exchange papers with your classmates who will correct and score your paper. What is your score?
Reviving an old art and outdoor sport; taking
part in a friendly and festive competition.
It is summer time. It is also kite flying season. When was the last time you flew a kite, or saw a kite festival?
Well, this is your chance. Let us see if you know how a kite flies. First of all, a kite must be light and balance, and with a string and fair wind, it rises and stays up in the sky. Notice that the wind keeps the kite up as if suspended in the sky. This where the art of aerodynamics comes in. You learn more about it in books and tapes about kite flying.
Here we go. This is a composite exercise. Just like in Market Day (Exercise 10) you will group yourselves into 5 up to 7 members. Plan out your work. Kites come in many shapes, figures, designs and colors. No two kites are the same. Be sure your kites fly against the wind, and only in one direction. Do not let them get entangled. Your setting is a park where there are people watching and cheering. Kite flying is both a festival and a competition. There are prizes at stake. The setting is in San Fernando Pampanga. Here beautiful Christmas lanterns are also made. Saranggola ni Pepe gives an excellent musical background. Let us play Friderick Chopin and imagine the light notes from his composition blending perfectly with the flying kites.
Use pastel or acrylic on illustration board. You have the whole session to complete your work.
A test of survival, a life without parents and home,
gathering around a bonfire, and counting stars.
Let us go camping like boy scouts and girl scouts. Let us go to a summer camp. Check the things you bring. Do not bring a lot of things, only those which are essential will do. You do not want to carry a heavy load, do you? Besides camping has its rules. Read more about camping. Let us play “Moon River”, “You Light up my Life”, Tosselli’s “Serenade”, and Antonio Molina’s “Hating Gabi”.
After this we play “Nature Sounds” which are recorded sounds of frogs, birds, waterfalls, and insect. To fully appreciate these sounds we will observe complete silence while we all work.
Like “Market Day” and “Flying Kites” (Exercises 10 and 12), this is a group exercise. Group yourselves into 5. Set your camp,on Tagaytay Ridge overlooking Taal Volcano. From this imagine view there are tents are of many colors and designs. There are big and small ones, round and triangular in shape. There are tents set under trees, tents in the open, along a trail, even on hillside. There is a central area where a large bonfire has been set. Around it are people singing, dancing, telling stories, others appear cooking something on the embers. Why don’t you join them?
But first, finish your drawing. Use pastel colors or acrylic on one-half illustration board. You have the whole session to do it.
Pure joy of adventure at sea, freedom riding on the
wind and waves, a test of courage and endurance
Have you ever gone to sea? Have you ever ridden a sailboat or banca? I am sure all of us have. For those who may have forgotten it, or were very young at that time, here is a way to relive the experience. Let us have a rowing song as background., “Like Volga Boat Song”, or music about rivers and sea, like “Over the Waves”, “On the Blue Danube”.
Let us go sailing in Manila Bay. Sailing is both pleasure and competition. Get your boat, and organize yourselves into a crew. Be sure you are ready when the race starts. Other sailboats are also preparing for the race. You can not afford to be left behind. The wind is building now. Is your sail set? Do you have enough provisions? Water, food, first aid kit, fuel, tools, map, flashlight, and others things. Review your checklist.
Group yourselves into 5. Assume that you are in your boat moving with other boats. This is the perspective of your composite drawing. Draw on illustration board using pastel or acrylic colors. You have the whole session to finish it. Ready, set, go!
Views from an Airplane
Leaving our world down below and seeing it as a
miniature. How small it is! Rather, how small we are!
As the airplane we are riding on soars to the sky we lose our sense of familiarity of the places below us. Then our world which we left behind appears as a miniature. And we are detached from it.
What really is the feeling of one flying on an airplane? Nervous and afraid? Excited and happy? Most probably it is a mixed feeling. Now let us imagine ourselves cruising in the sky one thousand feet up. We get a clear view below. The most prominent are the landscapes. See those mountains, rivers and lakes, the seashore. See the infrastructures – roads, bridges, towers, parks, and the like. Next, buildings, schools, the church, houses, etc. Imagine yourself to be above your hometown or barangay..
This is an individual work. Use Pastel colors and Oslo paper. You have thirty minutes to finish your drawing. Let us play “Leaving on a Jet Plane” and “Up, Up and Away”.
Exercise 16 Building an Aquarium
An exercise on doing things ourselves,
following basic rules in maintaining life
and keeping environmental balance.
An aquarium is “ a pond in glass”. We can build one in our backyard or in our house. It may be large or small depending on the kinds of fish we want to raise as pets.
Why this exercise? We want to try our hands not only in making things, but to play a role as guardian of living things. Can we make a stable and balanced aquarium? Are we then good guardians? Is so, can we say to our Creator we are good keepers of Earth?
Each one will make his aquarium, using pastel colors on Oslo paper. Be guides by these components or parts of an aquarium.
1. Clear water.
2. Sand bottom with rocks
4. Aquatic plant
5. Fish, one up to three kinds (Your pet)
6. Snails and scavenger fish
7. Air pump to supplement oxygen and filter the water
Describe in class the aquarium that you made. Let’s play “Life Let’s Cherish”, “Fur Elise”, and Peter Tschaichowsky’s songs and waltzes as background.
Inside a Gym
A lesson on sportsmanship, physical fitness, will to
win, humility in winning and dignity of losing.
It is sports season. Intramural! We are in a sports center. Join the parade of athletes, go with the beat of lively music, cheer with the big crowd. The gymnasium has covered courts, swimming pools, and arena. Competition is in basketball and other ball games, gymnastics, swimming, table tennis, fencing, martial arts like aikido and taekwando, darts, and many more. We are in Rizal Coliseum.
This is composite drawing. Group yourselves into five to seven members. Each one imagines himself a player in his favorite sport. Draw at least three kinds of sports. Complete your work by including the crowd, other athletes, and the festive atmosphere. Play some marches. Get a tape of the Philippine Brass Band.
Plan out you work as a group. Present your finished work in class.
Preparedness, learning to deal
with disaster, lending a hand.
PAGASA Bulletin: Signal No. 3 And it is going to be a direct hit.
List down the things to do. Imagine you are in one community. Choose your members, five to seven per group. Prepare for the coming super typhoon.
When you are through with your list, pause for some time and let the typhoon pass. Do not go out during a typhoon. Stay at home or in your safe quarter. If it is direct hit, the winds will reverse after a brief calm. The second part is as strong as the first. Think of Typhoon Yoling or Typhoon Iliang which had more than 100 kilometers per hour wind at the center. (Music background from Gustav Mahler, George Bisset, the Spanish composer and violinist, Sarasate, and Igor Stravinsky’s “The Firebird” and “Fireworks”).
The typhoon has passed. What happened to the community. Did your preparation help you face the force majeure? Draw the scenario of the typhoon’s aftermath. Imagine yourself a boy scout or a girl scout, or simply and good citizen.
Reaching out, connecting places and
people, building friendship and love
After the typhoon many roads and bridges were destroyed. Our houses may have been destroyed, too.
There is a different kind of destruction that you and I must prevent to happen in our lives by all means . Destruction of relationships. Our teachers tell us that a broken house is easier to repair than a broken home. Aristotle always reminded the young Alexander the Great, “ It is easier to make war than to make peace.” Relationships endure as long as the bridges connecting them are kept strong and intact. And once they get destroyed, do not lose time in rebuilding them.
Let us reflect on the illustration below. There are bridges washed away by the typhoon and flood. You are going to rebuild them. Analyze and imagine that these bridges are not only physical structures. These are bridges to reach out a person in need, to share our talents, to say sorry, to comfort, to congratulate, to console, to amend, to say what is right, to befriend, to stand for a cause, and many other virtues. With these, - perhaps even by our very intentions alone - we are also building a bridge with God.
With a solemn music as a background (“Meditation” from “The Thais” by Massenet), complete the outline on the attached page and be guided by the aforementioned scenario. Take your time. This is an exercise in meditation. Show and explain your work in class.
Time for reflection and retreat, retirement
for the day, time with the family, thanksgiving
This is the end of our travelogue. We come home from our journey at last. It is Angelus. It is a time to put down everything and to thank God for the day – for our journey.
It is time with the family, with our parents, brothers and sisters. It is time to say the Angelus Prayer. Let us pause for a moment and meditate. Isn’t it wonderful to be alive? This is God’s greatest gift to us.
With a background music from “Messiah” by Georges Friderick Handel, “On Wings of Song” by Felix Mendelssohn and Toccata and Fugue by Johann Sebastian Bach, compose the scenario of a family at Angelus Let us have also our own Nicanor Abelardo’s “Ave Maria”. This is a highly individual exercise. Work in complete silence. You have all the time in this session. ~