Thursday, December 1, 2011
Circle Paintings on a Windy Day
This was definitely "one of those days!!" Winds up to 100 miles an hour in Southern California, although we did not have the high winds that were predicted in our little corner of the land! That being said, on a day when I had about 125 drippy, wet, painted pieces (some large like these and some smaller projects) that needed drying space, a little breeze was welcome. I ran out of drying racks before lunch, so I strung some rope on the patio and hoped the winds would not kick up too much. (I was in luck!)
4th graders worked cooperatively in groups of 4 on circle paintings. They then took their color of paint and traded tables, so that each piece of work had 8 colors of paint. After a while I had them return to their original work to finish it up. Our focus was BALANCE (dark/light, primary/secondary, warm color, complementary colors).
We are displaying all the panels together as one, large mural. I told the kids that ultimately I would cut each work in fourths and they would each get one fourth of their original piece (they all put their names and room number on the back of "their" panel). Everyone seemed fine with that concept:)
There were a few considerations that helped the in the project's success:
1) Pre-mix enough paint to last through the day.
2)Set tables up without chairs so movement doesn't result in spilled paint. Having a meat tray under the portion cups of paint provided a resting spot for the brush that would support its weight.
3) Have sponges handy when brushes drop or paint spills ( have a carpeted room, so this is something I think about).
4) Model the process first, before kids get started. We had the rule that each person puts down their color once in the center before all 4 start to paint simultaneously. We also had the rule that you kept your own color throughout the painting time. Our third rule was that we worked from the center out, touching a color someone else had made.
5) Students discovered it was smarter to paint solid areas first and then add dots, designs, etc.
6) Really reinforce how much you value the kids' meaningful conversation about how color and design elements support making a balanced piece of art. We actually had groups of parents touring the school today for a visitation day, so in addition to the 30+ kids in the room there were 4 groups of between 10 and 15 adults coming through as we were painting. I was SO proud of the "art talks" kids were having in their groups. That, actually, is the most rewarding part of doing this lesson. I am so grateful to Barbara's Thought of the Day (here) where I first learned of Circle Painting sometime last year.
7) I showed my class some of the photos at http://www.circlepainting.org before we started working.