"That's so beautiful!" said one of my kindergarteners when he saw Van Gogh's "Starry Night" for the first time. When asked to elaborate, he said he loved the way the circles around the stars and the moon made them shine. My fifth graders studied Morandi, and then drew very compelling still lives with glue bottles and condiment jars. One mother told me that her son would not let his dad touch anything on the breakfast table... he was drawing a still life of the bottles and jars she had put out.
My students take what they learn into their lives.
They synthesize information and experience and make it their own. They are generous with each other, and share their ideas and discoveries. The art room is a place of growth and discovery. They come in, learn a new concept, watch me model some possibilities and they go off to work, exploring the new material or idea and apply it to their projects.
I inherited an art room supplied with fat bristle brushes that only have unruly hair days, and reams of drawing paper that rumple and curl under wet paint. The brushes are only good for mixing color to cover the paper, any attempt at line becomes a fat shape, and an attempt at a shape appears as a blob of one kind or another.
Even young artists need materials of decent quality to do their best work.
Responsive brushes of varying sizes and shapes give young artists more control and allow them to feel successful and proud of their work. Heavyweight paper stays flat and can hold a variety of media.
My students are responsible and take care of their tools. These brushes and different kinds of paper will lift the level of their work.
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