I've been wanting to start blogging for many months now and procrastinating with endless excuses.
There is a quote I came across a while ago that still resonates with me:
"Getting it done is better than perfect."
So that's what I'm doing. Here is my first blog. It is based on this Spring's culmination of art projects created by my students from my Saturday morning art class. This is the documentation that I displayed during the Art Show
Enjoy reading my first blog (I know it's a bit long). Although it's far from perfect, I'm so happy I've finally put it out there. If you feel like sharing, I'd love to know about your experiences on "getting it done is better than perfect!"
Inspiration for the Spring course:
This spring art course was inspired by all the twigs and tree remnants from this winter’s ice storm.
This was not planned. Every week during our ice storm clean up, I was inspired to celebrate our trees by sharing the twigs or branches with the students. My goal was to honour the trees while having them inspire us to create a fabulous artwork.
We realized just last week how everything we did is related to trees.
I thought this was kind of cool how it all came together.
That’s what I love about inquiry based learning. It allows for happy accidents and surprises for both the students and teacher.
Collaborative: The Mini Jungle
Medium: Earthen Clay, branch, plasticene, plastic flowers
What can we do to with all these materials so that we create ONE piece or artwork?”
How will we attach the materials together?
Children were immediately engaged at attempting to create a unified piece. Initially, they created individual pieces. However, they next realized another problem to solve:
How can I attach another piece while honouring what the person before me placed on the branch?
This is where collaboration took over. Kids naturally worked together to tackle this issue.
This was such an engaging project. The children were excited & worked so well together trying to make the pieces connect to the branch. Stories were being created. Laughter & giggles at the silly stories they heard from their peers. A genuine community was being formed. Kids shared ideas and no one’s piece was better or more important. It was just a part of the story that was accepted.
What a beautiful moment! It was obvious that the children’s minds and hearts were fully aligned & connected to each other. This was a great way to begin our first class! Together, all agreed on the name: The Mini Jungle.
Painting The Mini Jungle
Medium: Paper & Acrylic Paints
Students were asked to paint The Mini Jungle using black paint to begin drawing the lines. They realized that it was hard to see the branch because of all the pieces placed on it so they asked for more colours to complete the painting. However, after close observation of these paintings, I decided to take this project a little further.
During our next class, students were asked to find form or an image and bring it to life by extending or removing lines and colour.
What a surprise! The results are amazing!! And the children had quite the stories to describe their painting.
Medium: Recycled Paper, food colouring, water
Students filled a blender container with shredded paper, a few drops of paper and warm water.
The blender was turned on and our everything turned into a glorious mushy pulp. The pulp was layed over a screen and children pressed the water out of the pulp to begin creating the paper.
This paper was used to create our Mother’s Day necklaces!
Medium: Chalk Pastels and Black Construction Paper
What is a line?
Can it be more than just a straight line?
Students demonstrated all the wonderful lines we can create.
Explorating lines made with water on the Chalkboard.
Medium: Water, paintbrushes on chalkboard
This was supposed to be the initial activity to ease everyone at the beginning of class while everyone arrived.
It turned into something so great as students realized the joys of painting the negative space on my chalk filled chalk board.
Students explored using thin and very thick brushes and they were engaged with this activity from start to finish.
Sunset Trees-stepping out of our comfort zone
Medium: Watercolour Paper, watercolour paints
I always like to begin with instruction and then introduce a surprise. Students began this activity by painting circles of all sizes using all the primary colours.
I then asked them to use a dry brush and begin at the top with a side to side motion.
Students looked at me like I was crazy. I began to hear comments like ‘I’m scared’, ‘I don’t want to’, ‘I want to leave mine like this’. This created lots of discomfort. However, I honoured what the children felt and allowed them the opportunity to leave the painting as is, just do a little bit, or step out of their comfort zone completely and go forward with the side to side motion and erasing their gorgeous circles.
Some children dove right in and began going 'side to side' with their brush watching their painting transform right before their eyes. Others that were more hesitant watched on until they felt comfortable to change theirs and then some only changed a little section.
All the children did explore this process even if it was just a bit.
"How courageous!"--I thought. It is so brave and bold of these children to have transformed their painting.
We then went outside with our paintings and picked a tree to draw/paint onto our background.
What a transformation! From circles to a Sunset!
Making Peace with a Piece of Tree
Medium: Paper, Pencil, Watercolour Paints
Recently, two of our trees were cut down due to the damage from the ice storm this winter. I wanted to celebrate my tree and share its beauty with the children.
Some kids already knew and some kids just learned that if you count the rings in the tree you will find its age.
Children had to use this piece of tree as their still life to create a beautiful representation of our adult tree.
Twig in Plaster of Paris
Medium: Plaster of Paris, Twigs, acrylic paint
Students each chose a twig to paint.
We secured them by mixing plaster of paris and pouring it into a plastic container to create the base to ground the twig. Students really enjoyed observing the properties of plaster.
They were amazed at how quickly it hardened and transformed from a liquid into a solid in just a few minutes.
The kids also realized that creating art can sometimes turn into a science lesson!
We removed the plastic container to reveal a very strong base for our twig. Students used acrylic paints to paint them.
Birch Trees Multimedia
Medium: Tie Dye Fabric on Canvas with watercolour paints
Students were taught how to tie dye pieces of fabric by folding or tying them with an elastic to create a striped effect. The little pieces of fabric were dipped in fabric dye of their choice. We placed these beautiful tie dyed pieces of fabric vertically onto a painted canvas to create a tree trunks or forest of birch trees.
Lastly, the children put on a little performance which they created and choreographed.
A few weeks ago, as part of my kids yoga training, I took a course-'What I See I Can Be Certificate' with Young Yoga Masters taught by the amazing Janet Williams. Since most of our projects were all tree related, I thought I'd teach the children the tree pose.
They enjoyed themselves so much that they ended up creating the 'tree seed pose' using their smocks- (see photo above). They collaboratively created an entire skit -sharing ideas with each other which they presented to all our guests at the art show. The story is about how a tree seed can grow into a strong tall tree and how the strength of trees in numbers (they all held hands while doing the tree pose) can overcome any obstacle.
I just love this metaphor! We have so much to learn from our kids! We just have to allow them the time and space to express themselves.
Thank you to all the awesome students in this Springs' Art Class and to all the Mom's and Dad's who enrolled their kids in our program.
I am truly grateful!