Monday, July 13, 2015

Art for the whole family!

   Purchasing art curriculums is a tricky business, many are trying to cover necessities of art terms bu really kill the fun of art. Just like grammar worksheets killed all desire to write in many of us. I've seen some and they are not good for lessons, they can help the parent/teacher learn but then you'll need to let the kids learn by hands on art. A lot of art is inherent in kids, they know that lava spewing out of their drawing needs wavy lines to show the flow. They know that down slanted eyes and brows look mean or angry and that pointy noses indicate a villain. Art curriculums tend to spell this out and the kids feel insulted and bored. My preference is to teach from real artists, not companies trying to fill a hole in their curriculum. Again this is an example of dead versus living knowledge. One method is torturous and the other engaging.
    I've got 7 kids and have taught hundreds of lessons to local homeschooled children in our area. My philosophy is that if the kids are bored and uninterested then you are teaching it the wrong way. God created our spirits to love learning and crave new ideas and knowledge, this leads us towards other truths and we feel light and fulfilled. I have ruined many good topics by a horrible lesson. I watch to see if my method is sparking interest or dread, if it's the latter I go back to the drawing board and begin again. I ask the kids what they want to learn about the topic and get their ideas on how to make it interesting and ask what method they'd like to learn it through. They have great suggestions.
    Idea #1)  A fabulous book for mom/teacher to read and use with kids of all ages is "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" by Betty Edwards. Published in 1978 and still the best around to get kids and adults to use their creative side and turn off the left uncreative part of the brain. Move through the 21 chapters teaching one at a time then after the students try the art technique you do the next lesson, review as you go and use the first activities to start each art session because they activate the right side of the brain.
  These are drawing lessons and materials they need include pens, oil pastels, and a selection of various pencil leads and a large pad, nothing smaller than 11x14.
#2 See if your local art museum has a program to educate adults in art so you can teach children. In Phoenix the Phoenix Art Museum has a seminar for a day every September, for close to $25 educators get many classes, hands on lessons, a guided tour with conversations about art that are just what you'll go home and replicate in your discussions with your students, a set of 4 to 6 poster size prints of art work in the museum to keep. The seminar discusses art terms and concepts and teaches you how to talk about art. I attend every possible year and am very disappointed when I cant make it. Two years I missed due to pregnancies and I called the class coordinator and she mailed me the poster sets free of charge. The museum has sponsors who help cover the cost of printing the posters and they are trying to encourage the public to make good use of the program.
#3 Either from a book or online list - find a list of art terms and discuss them while looking at art work. Kids will automatically try them out in their own work without being told to do so. The Phoenix Art Museum and many others have online galleries. After the kids learn the terms the subsequent discussions can be shifted from instruction to review and searching for examples of technique.

Provide lots of art time and stay away from coloring books and crafts, these are not art. These are for people who think they are not creative and want to follow a script, directions or rules, like in a coloring book where kids must stay in the lines.

My 6 year old son loves to draw monsters and he was adamant he couldn't draw anything else. So we sat at the computer and looked at boat pictures and I told him if he'd draw a boat I'd give him a piece of candy. He tried a simple boat and liked the results and kept working on more boats that each got more details and he was thrilled. Now he tries new things to draw, houses, people, plants he makes up. The feeling in his art is wonderful, very alive and inspiring.
  Keep your kids sketch books or take photos of what they draw, it's great for memories and records and to see progress. You can "frame" them by taping them to black poster board cut an inch or two larger than the picture. We thumb tack them to the hallway walls or to their bedroom walls and hang them on the fridge.

 The two following paintings are from our 15 year old daughter. She loves watercolor.

Below: notice the wavy arm and bent body, this is the mean guy chasing the good people

 This guy is "bad" notice the slender body and sharp long claws. Opposite feeling from the fat round friendly monster whose being eaten.
 This family is dangerous! And their long tongues are poison.
 A trick or treat kid with ghost and moon and stars in the sky.
 This guy is friendly. Always ask your artist to tell you about their art work, for young kids there's usually a great story involved. My kids are proud of their creations when I write the story on the back of their picture.
 This guy is dizzy. The use of lines in art really is natural in kids.
 Another bad one. My kids are very captivated by what makes a person or creature bad, evil, dangerous, or nice. We often have discussions that animals are not mean, they are trying to protect themselves. Art shows us what our kids think about. It is a wonderful stress reliever and a great way to spend time together.

" The big house is where we live and the little houses are the neighbors."
In reality our house is the same size as the neighbors but the size drawn simply indicates that our house is more important to the artist than the neighbors homes.
 Mom and puppy. by 4 year old girl who was too impatient to wait for her paint to dry.
Our 15G loves animals and reads, paints and writes stories about animals.

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