Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Do not draw with the paint

This year at the paint center I am encouraging my students to choose their subject matter carefully and thoughtfully. It seems like a universal trend where children are happy to just paint letters or cliche symbols. I actually told the students that when they paint their name on a piece of paper, it's not really a painting (more like using paint to form letters) and we need to be a bit more creative in art class. They do know what I am talking about....the older students are more apt to do this. This happened last year when I opened the paint center and I see the need to revisit it again. This time when I taught the lesson on painting animals, (focusing on 2 ways only-shape and texture/pattern- to save time), I focused on technique. I spent a great deal of time talking about holding the paintbrush like a painter (in the middle) and not near the bristles as if they were drawing with the paint.
During the demo I showed them how to apply the paint like a painter and to not "draw with the paint". I also told them to not outline a shape and then fill it in as if they were using markers, but to dab the paint. For using the shape method of painting animals, I used a dry erase marker to draw right on top of the laminated photo so they could see what I was referring to and now I tell them to do this as well before they start their painting. For teaching dry brush, during my demo I pick up some paint with the brush, change my mind and wipe it off on a sponge and then "flick" an imaginary bug off the paper. After explaining it this way I even have first graders dry brushing animal fur in their paintings.
Their paintings are amazing and are worthy of exhibiting but they all want to take their paintings home and I can't blame them.

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