I took more paint out again for Art Club today. Most teachers and parents, myself included usually avoid the whole paint thing in the classroom and at home with their kids. It can be disasterously messy for furniture, floors and clothes. Not to mention how everyone disappears when it's time to clean up and who wants to make a mess all over their kitchen table and find places for wet masterpieces to dry?
Well since this is a short Art Club session of only 4 weeks we are painting! I have been told by the kids many times that they love to paint so 4 solid weeks of painting! Last week was the challenge of putting into practice how to make the secondary colours in a rainbow using only 3 colours on their palette, red, yellow and blue. It's amazing how few kids really know their primary colours and which go together to make the secondary colours, orange, green and purple. The kids were surprised how hard it was to make a nice orange and the purple brighter. Also how quickly the colours got muddy when mixed less than carefully. Anyways we all survived and turned out some nice rainbows and they don't even know it but they just learned the school's art curriculum!
When I showed up this week the kids were a little worried about having to go through all that paint mixing again but breathed a sigh of relief at the bottles of "normal" colours! Pulling out the straws did confound them for a short time but with a quick demo of how to create trees using very liquidy paint they loved it!
Once I do the lesson of the techniques I really let them explore and play and create whatever they want.
It always surprises me when they ask permission to add flowers, a pond or a log lying on the ground.
I guess it's the years of being told exactly what to do, step by step, they tend to need to check in to see if it's OK to do things a bit different. It makes me a bit sad that our kids are so regimented that they feel they need to ask permission as to what they can add to their own art. As a painter myself I feel like I'm always trying to let myself really go in my paintings the way a very young child does without any consideration as to what people's interpretation might be. I'm being shown by these kids that that disappears very fast when they enter school. I guess it's the need to keep all those kids focused and learning within all the parameters that are set in the classroom.
I always say in response to a question like "Can I put flowers in my picture?" "You are the artist, it's your artwork so do what you feel will work best, follow your gut."
The usual response to that is the rather shocked question "I'm an artist????"