Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pencil, Paintbrush, Crayon, YEAH!!

I have to thank Kathy Barbro at Art Projects for Kids for the great giant pencil idea.  We have a new Art Room that I wanted students to be able to easily find.  So we covered 3 hallway posts (a la Claes Oldenburg) with butcher paper so they would look like a pencil, a paintbrush and a Crayola crayon.

The crayon and pencil turned out great because of the vibrant colors.  The paint brush is a little iffy since I made it red at the upper tip and the red sort of blended with the brown of the bristles.  If I were to do it again I would use white or a light tint for the "paint" on the brush.

Today I was working in the room as kids went by outside.  Our room is right on the way to the restroom so there is a fair amount of traffic.  Almost every duo that passed the columns was talking about their new look.  The absolute best was the little guy who went up and gave the "pencil" a huge bearhug!!  Thank you Kathy for the inspiration!!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Getting Started

In another week I will be starting a new Art Studio classroom for elementary students. I will see one grade level each month, beginning with 3rd grade.  Since this is a new adventure, I have been immersing myself in thought about how I want this classroom studio to operate.

Teachers make hundreds of decisions all day long.  Some are huge, some not so huge, but many involve "fine lines".  How much content do we want to offer students? -- often a fine line.  How much freedom of choice is appropriate?  What limits or structure is best for each individual child? Which art materials will create the best results?   

The other night I was testing out some new illustration board that I was lucky to acquire for my classroom.  I had been online looking at some terrific art blogs, so my head was swimming with MANY ideas from others.  But when I sat down with a narrow strip of board (maybe 3 inches X 12 inches) and a Crayola watercolor tray, I found myself leaving the online ideas and shifting to that other way of thinking about art.  I started devising the "color system" I might want to use -- primary?  secondary?  complementary?  value?   Then I considered the thickness of lines that might work best.  I flashed back on Kandinsky's Circles, but dismissed using his exact idea.  How about triangles, rectangles, organic shapes?  I settled on squares and began.  I want to have kids experience that leaving white, dry space between the watercolor stripes results in clear colors.  Allowing the paint to drift wet into wet creates new colors that we may or may not want to happen.  I was experimenting with trying to leave white spaces so that I could go back later with a black Sharpie and create black and white line designs in those spaces (much like the image above).  Sometimes I "goofed" and colors ran -- "that's OK," I thought.  This will be a teaching opportunity to share with kids. Unplanned events in art often create delightful results.  Each decision I made regarding line or color offered fine lines of distinctions and a variety of possibilities.  As I painted, I found myself realizing that this was the experience I want my little artists to have -- mentally sorting through the artistic options and making choices that please them.

As my students make their fine lines and splashes of color I plan to share their work here.