I’ve mentioned before that we loosely follow Artistic Pursuits. It has proven to be a simple, pick-up-and-go curriculum —- wonderful when I don’t have time to plan and insures that art class gets done. I have a Artistic Pursuits, K -3, Book 1, which gently introduces children to art study and art discussion. More specific “how-tos” are given later in the book. My kids were showing a lot on uncertainty about where and how to start. In one child, this revealed itself as a “lack of interest.”
So I have veered off Artistic Pursuits many times to give some basic instructions, nothing complicated —- studying simple objects and their lines — straight lines, curves, circles, ovals. We’ve made a tiny dot on our drawing papers to determine a start point and then added another tiny dot, determining where to draw to. This has slowed the process down, and given the children time to make sure they are really seeing the object and to review the line they are considering drawing BEFORE they actually draw it. They look at the object and then at their drawing paper and consider, “Oh, I placed that second dot too high. That line ends only slightly higher than it began. I need to move that dot down.” or “Okay, I like where my dots are. The line between them is almost a straight line, but not quite. It has a slight upward curve at the end.”
I am always telling the children that art is more about SEEING than actual doing, that the eye must accurately observe before the hand can draw it. My hope is that the preliminary object study and the designation of dots will create in them a habit of study and cause them to not rush headlong into a drawing. However, I did have some concerns that the children would come to depend on me to “help” them draw all the time, especially the girls, who are getting more help from me.
But I am finding that this is not the case. All the children are following my art instructions quite happily and eagerly. Afterwards, they are branching off into their own creative art projects. All 4 kids are drawing more spontaneously now, throughout the week, with nary a suggestion from me.
Last week, Lincoln combined our regular art instruction with his own creative flair. Our inspiration came from a critter Sid brought home.
This baby turtle temporarily visited our mudroom sink, seemingly content with his accomodations. The children played with him for a while and we let him go.
I took the turtle’s picture, thinking I might make him a part of our art class. I told the boys to carefully study and draw the turtle as shown in that picture, but use their imagination to place their drawn turtle in a different environment, a place more interesting than our sink. Lincoln immediately grinned. He knew exactly what he was going to draw.
His little turtle sits happily on a log surrounded by sweet, happy fish. A crocodile with wicked-looking teeth adds a touch of danger and suspense. If you look closely, you will also see that Lincoln injected a bit of humor too —-his signature is digesting in the belly of a fish.
While the boys worked on their turtles, I presented the girls with an Eric Carle drawing to imitate. I thought that Carle’s bold, simple lines would be easier for the girls to replicate.
Prairie is obsessed with orange. All our orange pencils are worn down SHORT. I showed Rachel how to lay down a base color and to add a pattern on top in a different color. At first, she was inclined to make her fish look exactly like Mr. Carle’s, but at the very end, she chose to throw some pink fins on her fish.