In our previous newsletter, we discussed the philosophy of the new art studio and ways to talk to children about their artwork. Now we are excited to tell you about the curriculum and the experiences the children are having in art class.
We started the school year teaching the children the basics of colors,
starting with black and white. They experimented with collage and drawing techniques. They also explored paint with a variety of tools to mix different grays.
We then focused on primary colors (red, yellow and blue) and made monochromatic works of art using different techniques. We discussed how mixing these colors produced secondary colors (orange, green and purple). Some techniques used were mixed media collage, fingerpaint prints, and crayon resist.
All of the children have experienced working with clay. We started out challenging the children to make certain shapes with the clay such as a ball, a pancake and a cylinder shape. They also used ‘slip' (watered down clay) to help the pieces stick together. The 4's used the techniques they learned to create beautiful nameplates.
In the art studio we believe everyday materials can be turned into works of art. We recycled cardboard to create ‘cardboard constructions'. All of the children worked with cut pieces of cardboard to create anything they desired. The 2’s created their first group project on long, thin cardboard backgrounds. The 3’s created 2-dimensional designs on a flat background. The 4’s created 3-dimensional free form works of art.
We are very proud to see our students’ skills grow over the year. Recently with a class who tray painted for the first time, a child expressed that he wanted to paint a rainbow to a fellow classmate. “But we don’t have all the colors,” he said. “Well, we can make them!” responded the second student. They both proceeded to paint a rainbow, in order while using primaries and mixing secondaries.
On another note, our new hanging systems are currently being put up and we look forward to posting more work very soon!
Janae & Julia
"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up." - Pablo Picasso
Dear Montclare parents,
For those of you who did not get a chance to attend curriculum night, we wanted to let you know a little bit about the new Art Studio. The 4's are enjoying one class per week taught by Janet and one class per week taught by Janae & Julia. The 2's and 3's are all taught by Janae & Julia.
When working with Janae and Julia the focus is "process over product." This means that the children are encouraged to explore and experiment with materials and produce what they wish. There is no end product shown ahead of beginning to work. Children are shown which materials are to be used that day and we may show techniques or suggest a challenge, but the children control and decide how they get there. The exception to everything being open ended is working with clay. We will have a goal in mind, but the children are free to choose how detailed to make their project. This differs from Janet's class where the 4's, mostly, experience and create product-based projects.
As a result of emphasizing more exploration, we always allow students to create more than one piece if they choose. After a child finishes the main activity, they are offered a smaller piece of paper to continue working. This allows children to finish up their work at their own pace and to have an activity while waiting to wash hands.
Sometimes small papers may be part of a larger project. For example, the children had a color mixing exploration class, that we called "The Color Mixing Shuffle." They painted on 3 separate small papers. We challenged them to mix different oranges, greens, and purples by varying the amounts of primary colors used. Some chose to focus purely on mixing while others painted images while also exploring mixing colors.
In addition, small papers from choice time in the regular classroom, are often sent home.
Lastly, a lot of children ask if they can take home their work the day they create it. We explain to them that it needs to dry in the art studio and then we like to hang it up in the school. So we may hold onto some work for 1-2 months. But we assure the children that everything will be returned.
We look forward to a fun and creative year in the art studio!
Janae & Julia
Most children love to draw and paint. Full of excitement, your child runs to you, artwork in hand, presenting her latest masterpiece, anxiously awaiting your praise and comments. You look at the lines, shapes and colors and with a big smile on your face you pause and think, “What on earth is it!?”
Following is some helpful advice compiled by our Montclare Art Studio on how to handle these sensitive and important moments.
There is no “right” or “wrong” way to make art.
Remember that when it comes to a child’s art, “right” or “wrong” should only apply to whether or not he is using tools and materials in a safe manner, not to the technique, artwork, or subject matter. As long as your child is safe, let him play around.
Focus on the process, not the product.
Comments and discussion about your child’s artwork should be neither too critical nor too gushy. Remember that what your child thinks about her artwork is more important than what you think. Try to not impose adult standards on a child’s work. Your child is in charge of what’s best and what’s next. Instead of conforming to an external adult standard of excellence, your child is discovering her own aesthetic and standard.
Offer praise for doing, not for being.
Focus your praise on the work accomplished, not on your child’s innate talent. You could say: “What a great idea!” or “You really worked hard on this painting!” rather than “You’re so talented!” or “You’re so brilliant.” Children who are rewarded for “doing” (working hard and making progress) often progress and grow, whereas children who are congratulated for “being” artistic or smart tend to play it safe to protect their image and status, afraid to disappoint. Focus praise on your child’s efforts, not on the finished product.
What NOT to say…
What to say . . .
Talk about the shapes, colors and marks you see.
Encourage effort, enjoyment, and risk-taking.
We hope you find these tips helpful. Once you figure out how to talk about all the artwork coming home from school, you have to figure out what to do with it all! Here’s my one of my favorite solutions, also available on Amazon.com: http://www.dynamicframes.com/store/p/62-A4-Lil-Davinci-Art-Cabinet.aspx.
Thank you for reading!
Julia & Janae