It's my belief that young children are natural artists who love to create marks on paper and find joy in their achievements. Art lessons can help children develop art making and creative thinking skills to better express their unique views of the world. Older children and young adults can become critical of their own efforts, and worried about how their art looks. Many stop making art altogether. It's my job as an art teacher to foster and encourage creative skills and confidence as children grow, so that understanding, creating, and appreciating art remains a source of joy through the teen years and beyond.
The Importance of Drawing
contour line drawings of hands from observation by children ages 8 - 11
Drawing is probably the most important art skill, and it's as much about seeing as creating. I teach my students to see the world like an artist does, noticing rich detail and comparing shapes and sizes, varieties of perspective, value, texture and color. When we learn to see like an artist sees, we find joy in the little things and develop an appreciation for beauty. Also, once we've learned these habits of seeing, it's much easier to make lines on the page that match what our eyes are noticing, and what our imagination is conjuring.
A Variety of Media
While drawing is important, I also believe that it's valuable (and fun!) for children to develop strong fundamental art skills with a variety of media. By experiencing a wide variety of media at a young age, students can discover where their artistic passions lie. Most sessions of Art Start include a drawing/painting project, and a sculpture/mixed media project. The projects are always new because of the large number of returning students.
Encouraging creative decision making is very important to me. I don't have students copy finished teacher samples, something that differentiates me from many art teachers. When students copy a teacher-made sample, every step of the process has been predetermined, and discovery is limited.
Instead, I introduce lessons with carefully planned, visually rich Power Point presentations featuring both famous artists and the art of children. We have lively discussions about what we see. I teach brainstorming and thoughtful reflection. I demonstrate art techniques, give advice about using materials, and encourage student practice and experimentation. I do not dictate how the finished art should look, and I do not alter my students' work in any way. In the end students have created unique works of art to be proud of.
Whether I'm teaching at my home studio or conducting a library program, my classroom is a place where students can enjoy a relaxed, supportive atmosphere and where they and their art are valued and respected. It's my great honor and pleasure to guide my students in their artistic development, and to accompany them on their creative journeys.
Hope to see you soon!