When I give an art class to a child I also want an adult taking the class. Since I teach private sessions this happens easily, first an adult takes a class or workshop from me and they see the value of offering the same thing to a child in their life. Teaching in this manner, child and interested adult, I find, I am able to direct the artistic future in the household. I teach ways to encourage the child as well as teach methods to play and practice art. The adult is often a Grandma, an aunt or a parent and they also participate in the class. During the class I ask questions and learn interest and art habits. I use vocabulary that encourages creative thought, words of discovery about the interest and direction the child shows. I provide child and adult watercolor paint, paint brushes, and paper and we all begin to dabble in color. I start and this always seems to be enough... and then I begin to explain how to care for a paint brush and why. I talk about primary colors and secondary colors and a lot of other fundamentals that everyone may know but when I offer the discussion they become building blocks.
The main purpose of what I share is the encouragement to discover “creative process" and how to use the tools.
I call this the “Etude for the Artist”, or daily practice.
Light and dark, values, primary colors, design are a few words that I’m not likely to use with children. But if I show them examples giving definitions, this gives understanding they can begin to build. I introduce the fact that the art they are working on “is only a piece of paper”. I want the goal to become learning, self-teaching rather than accomplishment of a masterpiece.
With each class I teach, adults and children, I am listening for the students to tell me where they are in their art interest – I translate this into individual goals. I want to show how to plan and build a painting. I show them a finished painting and I talk about the layers that make up the end result that you now visually see. The goal is to build towards the masterpiece with each painting.
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