Mary Ellen Gutknecht - Visual Arts, Drawing with graphite

Mary Ellen Gutknecht

Teaching Experience Grades K-6 and Adults

I believe that learning to draw is a lot like learning to read: that foundational instruction and practice provides a launching pad for students to move forward with skills that enable them to draw whatever they like, and in whatever their personal style might be. Students begin by drawing an object or animal from real life or from a reference photo, which enables them to expand their knowledge about the animals’ actual appearance and features. To finish the drawing, they choose to create the habitat (foreground and background), the weather, and other details that tell that particular animals’ story.

Here are some of the ways I like to explore and nurture creativity:

  • I have 20 years’ experience in connecting with children and adults at their level, have realistic expectations and listen to their concerns.
  • I engage and challenge students, and support them on their artistic journey.

Residency projects…

Self-Portraits. This is a project that covers a wide range of concepts from Pre-K through adult, from looking at the true shape of eyes and noses in the younger ages, to the
(mathematical) proportions that guide the structure of a face for older students. Also texture, value, and shading are covered.

Drawing animals. This can include using drawing pencils to show texture, value, and details specific to each animal. Accurate natural history is important and should be taken into consideration to complete the drawings with the students’ own choices for habitat, weather, food, and other surrounding details. For example: a drawing of undersea animal life should include figuring out how to use the drawing tools to depict sand, water, plants and animals, and determine how to make them look real.

All projects can be adapted to fit the needs of the class and goals and preferences of the teachers. 

Contact information:

Phone: 763-226-8720

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