Monday, August 27, 2007

A Child's Art

K made this arrangement on the fridge a couple weeks ago. It quite struck me because it was the most organized thing I've seen her make yet. These are magnets that B got for use in his classroom, but they were quickly commandeered by the short one of the house. After she made this display she pointed at it and said "Beads!" I think they looked like a beautiful necklace to her.

Every time we go outside K must bring her chalk. She has gone through almost two packages this summer. For awhile her favorite place to color was the front step. I thought she did a beautiful job decorating it. These pictures are probably the type of thing that only the parent of the child would be interested in, but I think they are fascinating for two reasons. First, as someone who is interested in art in general, I love watching how K's doodlings are gradually becoming more and more purposeful. Secondly, I think children making art is just fascinating in and of itself.

With the days of summer ending and the new school year beginning, two reminisces concerning kids and art come to mind. One year when I was teaching preschool, I wanted the children to make paintings of trees. But I wanted them to observe some real trees first. I took them outside to a stand of young pine trees and had them look uuuup at the trees and their branches and then feel the rough bark. While we were out there, a cow that was penned up on the property next to us seemed very upset by our arrival and commotion. The entire time, the cow bawled and made the most dreadful racket. But when we got the children inside, I gave them long pieces of paper and green and brown paint and they made the most incredible paintings. I was so impressed. I didn't expect such little children to capture the essence of trees so well.
Another year when I was teaching first grade, I had the children look into mirrors and make self-portraits. They were allowed to use their watercolor paints, and once again, I was amazed by the personalities that came through in these little pictures as the children studied themselves. The crooked energetic features of one portrait perfectly reflected one talkative, irrepressible boy. Another boy, always two steps behind the rest of the class, was as yet more interested in the flow of the paint on the paper than the actual result, so his face with its green and brown stripes was rather sad; yet it still managed to look like him, somehow. Another little girl was careful to make her features neatly and tidily, reflecting her perfectionist nature.
I just think it's interesting how young children are usually more interested in the process of art rather than the result, and yet their pictures can be quite astounding when they are taught to look at the world around them.
And remember that cow that was making such a fuss? The next day when I arrived at school, I looked over and there was a baby calf by her side. No wonder she was so upset about having fourteen noisy four year olds and two adults suddenly nearby.

3 comments:

nonizamboni said...

I loved reading and thinking about your children's art! My daughter and I were just talking about this. She lives in a Hispanic part of Chicago and on occasion paints with the neighbor gradeschool girls. She said their paintings are always colorful and abstract and she thinks it is because of the urban setting. . .everything always moving...
Nice blog. :O)
p.s. I was a stay at home mom too! Now I have a 28 yr old artist and a 26 yr old med student.

trinket said...

I love how your daughter chose to color on the vertical portion of the step, that is very creative! Your insightful comments about your former student's art and their personalities is really fascinating.

Joelle said...

I love Katya's art - she is very creative. Audrey only draws one or two lines with her chalk - she isn't that interested yet. I hope that changes eventually because I would love to do art projects with her. During art with 4th graders in IF I would occasionally take them outside also to draw trees, etc. Amazing the difference that is made when students look at what they are drawing compared to what is in their heads. Funny about the cow! hahaha