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ABC's aestheticklies.

I must admit often I enjoy young people's artwork with its fresh uninhibited approach to subject matter more than professional work. This is why the teaching of art is so rewarding. However, the constant rectangular inner edge of a picture is of ten a very dead area. I would like to share an idea about creating more interesting interrelated pictorial borders. This approach to picture making, to my delight and the students' surprise, suggested ideas for the subject matter itself.

I find myself teaching art in the same way I create works of art. I build as I go along. I say "trust me" and pray all works well. This is fine for me but students are often apprehensive.

For this project, students begin by looking at newspapers and magazines for examples of lettering which they find most personally satisfying. This is an important study in itself, for students are amazed to realize how many variations and different styles of letters there are. Many times our minds are clouded by content, and we miss the aesthetic essence of the printed page.

There is no rule as to the way the letters may be glued down on a sheet of paper. However, the letters seem to act like visual magnets, dictating how they want to be placed on the paper. After pasting up their letters, students place a piece of tracing paper, the size of the final picture, over the paste-up so the edge of a letter fits just inside the border between the paste-up and the edge of the tissue paper. This partial outline of a letter is then connected to another letter that seems to relate according to the aesthetic taste of the individual student. A Baroque-like undulating line results which may or may not follow around the whole picture.

At this point the imagination takes over, and the "road map" created by whole or partial outlines often makes students change their original subject into an altogether different idea. From caves to waves to the abode of Mephistopheles, the results please every-one. Any imaginative subject matter may be used and any painting media--we used tempera.

A few of my students commented, "I really like this problem; it opened tip a fantasy world for me;" "It is amazing how one shape will suggest another;" and "I would not have come up with this idea on my own."

Allan I. Rosiene is Art Department Head, Ledyard Senior High School, Ledyard, Connecticut.
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Title Annotation:aesthetics of lettering used to create borders which lead to completed paintings
Author:Rosiene, Alan I.
Publication:School Arts
Date:Nov 1, 1990
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