This past week I had the honor of teaching the final summer camp of the season at the Arts Council. From 9-4 Monday through Friday you could find me and 11, 6-13 year olds making some pretty awesome stuff in the Studio Classroom!
The first day I pulled out the charcoal and asked them to try and do some DaVinci style diagrams. While most ended up just drawing, they all loved the charcoal and it’s ability to smear and make a mess.
That same day we discussed abstract drawing and ways that you can make art without just “Drawing”. I told them about a project I did in undrgrad where I hung pens from trees and most of the kiddos go really excited to try attaching pens to their feet, mouths and strings while others tried to do reactive drawings to the radio music.
Day two was painting day, and we started outside with acrylics. All the kiddos did a great job at plein air painting and really captured what they were looking at. This was one of my favorites.
And one student even decided to paint one of the outdoor sculptures. Can you tell which one? The afternoon was filled with watercolor, as each student made a color wheel and was then asked to paint a picture using only 3-4 colors from the wheel. Many chose simple designs but all were successful in knowing where to place which color.
And we ended that day with salt painting!
Wednesday we talked about collage and started with Picasso. I asked the kids to draw or paint a picture of themselves then cut it apart to reassemble. While many of the kids hated drawing themselves and didn’t quite get why it needed to be abstract, a few caught on, like the one shown above.
In the afternoon we did Eric Carle style animals with tissue paper and glue. All of these turned out fabulous, especially the turtles!
By far the most successful day was Thursday when we did printmaking. Every single student really got into the idea of drawing an image, rolling out ink and making lots and lots (and in some cases LOTS) of copies. It took them a bit to understand, but after the initial demo they all loved it. I honestly believe this is one technique not taught enough in pre-college art classes.
Finally, Friday. It was supposed to be 3D day, and it ended up being so much more. The Chihuly style sculpture/mobile didn’t go over quite as well as I hoped – only a couple really did what was asked. But the bottles were put to good use when one girl decided to make a flying pig and then everyone else did too!
Throughout the week we ended up with a lot of free time between projects. I know some teachers would be really restrictive on letting kids do and make other things, but I believe that if a kid is behaving and being creative then it’s alright to veer off the path. I saw lots of creative minds at work this week when they began to make things I didn’t even teach – musical instruments, paper purses, flying pigs and even popsicle stick houses!
So what did I learn this week? That 9-4 for a single group of kids is a long week. But even more so, that I really love teaching and watching kids be creative.