The Colours That You Mix

It’s a very other-worldly feeling to be journeying life through a pandemic.  In the grocery stores, yesterday, I felt to be plunked into the opening scenes of a Sci-Fi movie.  Sometimes a person just has to find a way to ground themselves when all else; health, economy, events and travel are floundering.  I almost feel that this is a guilty pleasure in these times…writing about children and painting.  But in doing this, I feel like a rope has been tied around my ankles…someone is tugging…and I am easing my way, like an overfilled balloon… coming to rest on the ground.  This is what I do.

At one time, I wrote about painting with Green in March.

This year, my friend, Claudia, inspired me by the painting she did with her students.  My practice, as a guest teacher, is to promote painting with children.  It can be so messy…there is the preparation and there is the clean-up…but Claudia doesn’t shy away from any of that.  She is a remarkably inspiring Div 1 teacher.  Thank you, Claudia!

After seeing the results of Claudia’s art lesson, I went out into a Div 1 classroom and painted the very next week.

And following that, Gillian also painted with little ones.  Gillian has had a long and accomplished career as an educator and she is also not one to shy away from paint.

I wanted to post all of these resulting paintings at the same time in order to illustrate the variety that can be achieved with paint….same concept…same lesson…but, each and every painting is unique and each of the three sets of paintings is using a different palette of green.  If you look about the hallways of elementary schools, if you see that there is a sameness about the works that children create, there is the possibility that their outcomes have been engineered to be close-ended; it also means that the means to get there may have been closed. (the trouble with most Pinterest activities) Try letting go, just a little, at first.  The resulting projects may not be as predictable, but this is what creativity and visual art should excite in children.

Children are magical.  May they be safe and may their teacher’s be safe through these trying times.  Happy March!  Happy GREEN!

Claudia’s Palette.  (I didn’t include images of students painting because their little faces were in the photos.)

Kath’s Palette.

Gillian’s Palette

Painting With Kids Outdoors on a Windy Day!

As I continue with my “My Life Falls Out of Order” series of posts…I still find little nuggets in my archives about teaching, music, nature and art moments that I wish to put in some form of reflection.

Not much to say about this one that the photographs won’t explain, but, it all began with good intentions.  When the weather is nice and the year is grinding to a close, it’s nice to get students outdoors as much as is possible.  These experiences can be based on curriculum; you just need to think it through.

So, of course, I head outside to paint.  There is a tradition of painting landscape called en plein air…if good for the Impressionists, why not for children?  Any grade…

When painting a mural, it is the teacher’s greatest responsibility to share with students the idea behind collaboration and elevation of the group’s efforts over the familiar experience of elevating the self.  Well before a project such as a group mural, lessons need to focus on the personality of line quality and the very specialization of mark making.  In a group mural, it is explained, it is important to share your marks in a variety of locations.  This will lead to a more successful piece, in that Unity will be accomplished through the weaving of many personal approaches to colour, design and line.

And…when the wind blows, just revise the initial plan.  Don’t get sad about a splatter, enjoy the impact of elements upon the collective result.

Is Teaching Art Becoming One Big Paint and Wine Party?

Ok. Well, someone has to talk about it, right?  The internet is blasted with this…and these.  And, because I have not attended one of these ‘girls’ nights out’, I have no idea just how much a person learns at these events.  I am thinking that this option might remove a lot of fear and mystery around paint and provide something really different to do for fun.  That part, I get.

Paint Parties

On the internet…22 more pages of links just like this one.

Paint Parties 2 However, what I am wondering…is this an option when we are teaching art, whether from our studios OR in the classroom?  I just want to get the wheels spinning…and maybe a conversation opening up.

I grabbed my 1943 Art in the Classroom textbook off of my bookshelf and snapped some quick pics.  Take a look.  I picked out a seasonal activity that someone might wish to ‘pin’.  I also liked the ‘Empire Day’ activity because it is very innovative and contains four options. (very cutting edge and YES!  I’m being horribly sarcastic.)

DSC_0694 DSC_0693 DSC_0692 DSC_0691 DSC_0690Does any of this leave possibility for ‘Happy’ mistakes?  I would really like to hear your thoughts about what you see as important elements of a positive art education.  I know from my end, I have very strong opinions about what is required.


A reading list:

Some things by Elliot W. Eisner

1. The Arts and the Creation of Mind by Elliot W. Eisner (Sep 10, 2004)
2. The Educational Imagination: On the Design and Evaluation of School Programs (3rd Edition) by Elliot W. Eisner (Aug 5, 2001)
3. Cognition and Curriculum Reconsidered by Elliot W. Eisner (Mar 1, 1994)
4. The Enlightened Eye: Qualitative Inquiry and the Enhancement of Educational Practice by Elliot W. Eisner (Jul 24, 1997)
5. The Kind of Schools We Need: Personal Essays by Elliot W Eisner (Aug 24, 1998)
6. Reimagining Schools: The Selected Works of Elliot W. Eisner (World Library of Educationalists) by Elliot W. Eisner (Nov 9, 2005)
7. The Role of Discipline-based Art Education in America’s Schools by Elliot W. Eisner (Aug 17, 1989)

Look at the Getty Foundation

Read this by Eric Oddleifson, Chairman of John Hopkins University School of Education



It’s easy, being green!

It’s been -30 degrees lately…bitter cold.  It takes resolve to think about spring time…plants pushing out from the earth…birds nesting…Being Green!

“From a meaning of colors perspective, green is also the color of growth, the color of spring, of renewal and rebirth. It renews and restores depleted energy. It is the sanctuary away from the stresses of modern living, restoring us back to a sense of well being. This is why there is so much of this relaxing color on the earth, and why we need to keep it that way.”

Al Green…

up into the silence the green…

up into the silence the green
silence with a white earth in it

you will(kiss me)go

out into the morning the young
morning with a warm world in it

(kiss me)you will go

on into the sunlight the fine
sunlight with a firm day in it

you will go(kiss me

down into your memory and
a memory and memory

i)kiss me,(will go)

e. e. cummings

Echoing Green by William Blake!

With grade twos, IT’S EASY BEING GREEN!   Imagine!  Grade twos paint Celtic crosses and a four-leaf clover, as they contemplate March!

1. Begin with dots in chalk on the edges of your picture plane!

2. Reach for these dots, so that your cross/shamrock is large and fills the space.  There are NO MISTAKES…just rub a little with your hand and make your changes with chalk again. (If you draw with just a little pressure, the lines are easier to change….just get darker and darker as you change your minds.)

3. All sorts of green paints…remember, two hands on the bucket!  Dip! Wipe! Stroke!

4. Paint in your Celtic Cross solid, one colour!  Outline your four-leaf clover and then fill it in with a new colour.  Remember!  Walk-don’t-run to the paint center.

5. Now, time to decorate.  Think of different shapes that you can use to decorate.  Reminder?  How is that you can tell when paint is dry?  RIGHT!  It’s lighter in colour.

MAGIC!  Green Magic!

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