Yesterday I introduced a project to the teen class that focused strictly on drawing the eye. It was a nice tie in for Valentine's Day, which is just around the corner, and had an interesting art history story.
In the 18th and early 19th century, wealthy European lovers exchanged painted eye miniatures. This fad was supposedly ignited by King George IV when he had his eye painted, placed in a locket and sent to his love, a twice widowed Catholic woman he could not legally marry by law at that time, in place of an engagement ring. This gift convinced her to marry the Prince in secret and set off a frenzy of lovers exchanging eye jewelry that they could wear publicly without others knowing the identity of their true love...because affairs were common since most marriages were not based on romantic love at this time.
Hence coining the modern day term of these works being referred to as "Lover's Eyes".
I am completely smitten with these works of art. I shared them with the teen class last night, who were also quite intrigued by the story and the artwork, which has to be the ultimate two thumbs up for an old lady like me.
The Salon website has a great detailed article on these if you are interested in learning more about eye miniatures.
Anyhow the girls giggled at the thought of giving their eyes to a boy, so we settled on maybe these being a gift to their parents as a symbol of their love. Whether they give these to anyone is a mute point because they all thought the idea of creating an eye was "cool".
I gave the students several options to use in creating their eyes and one settled on using Prisma pencil and the other on watercolor pencil.
13 year old, watercolor pencil
Using a mirror to study their own eyes, they began to create their works of art. Here is the one work finished last night, the other is still in progress. This was a great opportunity to really study and learn how to draw an eye, paying attention to shadow and light, the eye lid, and nuances of the pupil.
The girls truly seemed to enjoy this project and it seemed to really resonate with each of them and inspired them creatively.
And I just fell further in love with artwork focused strictly on the eye looking at their finished creations.