RECENT QUESTIONS SENT TO THE ART TEACHER ON THE NET
Jacqueline from Australia writes. . .I'm a mum and I need help teach-
ing art to my son.  His creativity in art is appalling.  I'm not good
at art myself.  Could you please help by giving us some ideas.  My
son is in Grade One.

Thank you so much Jacqueline.  Your question reminds me of the 
importance of defining "what is art," and the importance of developing
an appreciation and enjoyment of art in children that will last their
entire lives.  My understanding of art and creativity comes from many
sources.

For instance, when I was a student at the University of California,
San Diego, I studied with a professor who had earlier originated the
"Happenings," movment.  His name is Allan Kaprow and his theories
stressed the importance of the intermingling of life and art. 
I interpret his theories and other artists (from various historical
styles) to place an importance on the process of creating art.

This idea is especially important for children.  In working with 
groups of children I sometimes notice that they will freely want
to give up the object that they have made after the activity is over.
For them, often times it is the enjoyment of creating, and the 
positive input that surrounds it that is the rewarding experience.

Especially important to children is positive reinforcement.  Art 
should be an enjoyable experience that builds confidence.  I have
taught adults who actually stopped their art development in grade
school because a teacher told them they were not an artist.

I would introduce your son to the many artists throughout history
that celebrate their differences and styles.  I would let him know
that there is no right or wrong to art.

There are a number of simple exercises that will help to develop
creativity and skill.  Try these and if there are others that would
like to give some suggestions please send them and I will post them
on this site.

EXERCISES TO BUILD CREATIVITY

1.  Ask your child to create a self-image collage using old magazines,
or found objects.

2.  Find a picture in a magazine of a person looking straight forward.
Cut the photograph in half and glue it to a sheet of paper.  Ask 
your child to complete the other half by duplicating the photograph.

3.  Turn a photograph upside down and draw it.

4.  Create cartoon figures from basic shapes-circles, squares, 
rectangles, triangles etc.

5.  Copy an artist drawing such as a Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci, or
van Gogh.

At the top of the page you will find a RECYCLED BIRD PROJECT that is
simple to create and fun.  Here are the directions.

Materials Needed:

Empty Soda Bottle
Paint
Decorative Bird
Flowers
Craft Stick
Moss
Jute 
Glue Gun 
Glue Stick
X-acto Knife
Masking Tape

THIS IS A PROJECT THAT NEEDS ADULT SUPERVISION.

Activity:

*Empty contents of plastic water or soda bottle.
*Adults should cut a 2" x 2" window in the center of the bottle and
cover rough edges with masking tape.
*Paint a landscape or other scenes on the outside of the bottle.
*Glue craft stick (or twig) to the back of bottle at the inside
center.
*Attach flowers to outside of bottle.
*Glue jute string to top of lid.
*Glue flower to bird's mouth.
*Hang in your favorite window.

SUSAN FROM CANADA WRITES. . ."I think the bird house idea is great and
I will be looking forward to other exciting projects especially for 
grade one students as I teach grade one and would love lots of ideas
for recycled materials such as paper towel rolls, toilet paper rolls,
styrofoam meat trays, empty cans of all sizes, boxes (food kind), etc." Thanks, Susan

THANK YOU FOR THE POSITIVE COMMENTS SUSAN AND FOR THE OPPORTUNITY OF
FINDING SOME FRESH IDEAS OUT THERE FOR THOSE GOOD OLE CARDBOARD & STYROFOAM
RECYCLABLES.  YOU WILL FIND SOME SUGGESTIONS BELOW AND I'M SENDING AN
EMERGENCY CALL OUT THERE FOR ANY REALLY GOOD, FUN, INEXPENSIVE IDEAS.
I'LL BE TEACHING A WORKSHOP FOR ART TEACHERS NEXT WEEK AT UCSD AND I'LL
ASK THEM TO HELP.  KEEP WATCHING AND SENDING THOSE PROJECT IDEAS & ART
QUESTIONS.

Paper Towel Magic Flute

1. You'll need a paper towel roll (the thinner ones work a little better
for this project).
2.  Punch 3 holes in the top of the paper towel roll. (THIS IS AN ADULT
SUPERVISED PROJECT) Place a small sheet of wax paper over one end of the paper
towel, and wrap a rubber band around it, making a tight fit, so that 
the wax paper will stay in place.
3.  Children should paint the outside of the flute.  There are some good
children's books about flutes that could be read prior to the art exercise.
4.  Now, the flute is ready to be "played".  Children should hum into the
roll and cover l, 2, or 3 openings with their flute.  They will see the
differences in tones as they move their fingers around the top of the flute openings.
5.  They love this one, and it is so inexpensive.  Have Fun!

Paper Towel Roll and Cereal Box Guitar

That's right! It is so easy, just glue the paper towel roll to the back
of the box. Glue the empty box lid together, and cut a round hole, and
attach yarn or plastic craft string for the music strings, tie them
at the end around brads.  Decorate the guitar with a "History of American Guitar" music collage.

Thin Cardboard Picture Package Frames

These really do make excellent frames, and it is good to turn the frame
into a collage about themselves or even a found object project.  Real
object can be glued to the cardboard frame.  The frame is created by
first cutting 2 rectangular shapes and then an inset 2" x 2" square.
You can introduce artists Picasso and Braque at this time also. 
You could also use the advertising side of the cardboard packaging.
Coca Cola 12 pack boxes are good, and it is a good opening to talking
about the Pop (no pun intended) artists.  

Decoupage Can Planters

Before the children decoupage the cans you can hammer a couple of
openings in the bottom of the can and they will make a handy planter
for their favorite flower.  The decoupage could be about their favorite
day, favorite book etc.

Tin Can Art

Older children can create tin can art, by hammering designs into the
can with a long nail, the cans become beautiful candle holder when
a tin holder and votive candle are placed inside.
THIS PROJECT IS FOR TEENAGE STUDENTS AND ADULT SUPERVISION IS REQUIRED
ALL SAFETY PRECAUTIONS SHOULD BE OBSERVED.

Plastic Shopping Bag Rugs

I've seen some really neat things done using shopping bags as braided
rugs and bags instead of cloth.

Styrofoam Meat Tray Rubber Stamps

Using your favorite cookie cutters, press out a styrofoam stamp and
make wrapping paper, Christmas ornaments, stories, greeting cards . . .

The trays also make great paint palettes that can be used again and again.

Have fun!

MARIE WRITES. .  ."I inherited some moulage and posmoulage but I 
haven't a clue how to use it.  Have you any experience with it?  Do you
know of any books that might be of help?  I would appreciate any info
as I'm certain my students would enjoy working with it.  Thanks, Marie"

WOW! What an interesting and CHALLENGING question.  Moulage is often 
understood as a process rather than a material, but there is a specially
prepared moulage sculpture that can be purchased in art specialty
supply and sculpture studios.  So you are fortunate in deed to have 
acquired such an inheritance.  You can find molds-lytex,plastic, and
rubber face mask molds to use with your material to create your mask.  You will probably have
to go to a sculpture  supply store.  An interesting art history
lesson to go along with this art lesson would be the Roman Death Masks
which were created as a tribute to the deceased person.  A wax copy
of their face was made after death and molded from a material
similiar to moulage. Not to be done one the living :). I will do a little more research and see if
I can find a book and more project ideas. It is a good idea for
children to wear disposable gloves (you can buy them cheaply at
a beauty supply stor), a dust mask when using these kinds of products.
You might also want to check with your school district to make sure this
is not a discouraged classroom medium in your area.  
Anyone have any ideas about this?    
Thank you so much for the question.

(c) l997-2009 Art Teacher on the Net

 

The Art Teacher on the Net

crafts@artmuseums.com


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