Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Artistic Expression

One of my favorite quotes is "Every child is an artist" by Picasso.  I truly believe that, not only as an artist myself, but as an educator.  Do Picasso's paintings mean something to all of us? No. Can we interpret all pieces of art for ourselves? No.  Sometimes we stare at a piece of abstract art and wonder what it is or what it means. Does art mean something to the creator? Yes!  Art in the classroom is not always about the end can sometimes be an exploration of new materials, an interpretation of knowledge, or even a release of emotion.

Visual arts provide a spark for students' imagination and creativity. Art expression allows for students to make choices and build confidence in themselves.  Art in the classroom provides engagement of different learning styles and  initiates higher level thinking skills. I have used artist studies in my classroom to introduce new materials (like watercolors, pastels, etc.) and techniques (stamping, printmaking, using brush strokes, stippling, modeling, sculpture design, etc).

I have used art projects to provide an extension of a lesson or a unit. The photos above and the one right below are of my students' garden watercolor paintings. We were studying gardens and explored our school courtyard garden and pond. Students' created versions of their ideal gardens.  Choices were made about materials..crayons, pastels, watercolors, or a mix of all..thick or thin paint brushes...what to include in their gardens. This experiences opened up conversations about different plants (soil plant/water plants), fish, insects, (and turtles!)...predictions about mixing colors and materials and the results..

I strive to include choices in our art projects and the motivation for creative expression. I try to stay away from the reproduced die cut..add black buttons for eyes..and a yellow triangle nose bit. I do admit to a few crafty things for holidays or something that is too cute to pass up for the students to make...but I try to fit some sort of choices and expression in there as well. 

Here is an artist study on Kandinsky...we were studying shapes and colors at the beginning of the year. It was our first watercolor project.

This photo was taken during our study on vegetable gardens.. students explored the insides of the vegetables..chose what they wanted to use in their "garden" ..and learned a stamping technique.

This pic is from our ocean unit. We were also learning about likenesses and differences between friends. Students drew their own fish shapes and were introduced to pastels..and the techniques of smearing and mixing pastels. We also read the book "Rainbow Fish 
This pic was during our ocean unit.. Students chose what shells to use and made their own patterns/designs with sand. We also studied the art work of artist Eric Carle.  We read "Mr. Seahorse" and students did sea creature watercolor paintings.
The photos above and below were taken during our about me and feelings unit. I love how different they all are!

Princess and the Pea story and art/math project.  
Nursery rhyme art project.
Barn art from our farm unit. These were kept as a portfolio piece. 

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