Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Philosophical Flowers...

Since we saw our first spring flowers last week, and started with our spring green background it was time to start thinking about making flowers... but since we are a philosophical preschool I didn't want to miss an opportunity for reflection - so the vase of flowers became an opportunity to see how other's view things...
I arranged the flowers ensuring that each side was different - type, colour and size of the flowers. We sat at a round table with the flowers in the middle - the children one by one described the flowers that they could see in front of them  - some could see red, other's pink and then there was also yellow and whites to add to the combination. We talked about how we all could see different flowers and yet we were all looking at the same vase of flowers...
We swapped places and looked again...
And then we walked around the table a few times checking how the flowers looked from all angles before sitting down to draw...

view one

drawing one - there was a question "Why have you drawn a sunshine" and the answer was "its the big white flower" the children looked at the drawing and then looked at the flower and then looked at the drawing - and all nodded with approval...

the finished artwork



view 2

inspired by how the big white flower had been drawn, this child flipped the paper over and started again, producing a big white flower too!

the finished artwork


view 3

it started with roses, lots and lots of roses, and then inspiration to create a big white flower...

the finished artwork. The child started making strokes to create the white flower and I encouraged her to continue to create a full bloom...
view 4

started with a row of roses, as can be seen from the child's view, then the inspiration to create a big white flower arose - how to fit a big white flower on this picture - to draw it right around the existing flowers, problem solved...

the finished artwork... later when this piece was put up on the wall there was a transformation - the child and I walked back and forth, near and far from the painting and marveled at how realistic the flower looked from a distance... 
the flower gallery has started ... the lower picture is created by bashing petals and leaves... keep looking, more to come...
it was a noisy activity for sure, and it was interesting to see the colours being banged out onto the paper

sometimes its quite hard not to interfere... but I could see there was no great force with the hammer so that if a thumb was hit it would not hurt so much (it did) the child looked at me, I smiled, and then the child continued... how much it hurt I have no idea, but it cannot have been enough to want to cry or to stop - but it was enough to keep the thumbs at a safe distance after that!

it was created by several children taking it in turns to arrange the petals and bang, until there was no-one left wanting a turn, or another turn... oh, and lunch was ready and our tummies were rumbling...

We will be returning to doing still-lifes at regular intervals - to see how their ability to reflect on how we see things differently - and also to help them develop their observation skills, their drawing skills and painting skills...
The need to fill the paper with paint is still greater than the need to paint observations... but time to fulfill this need is required, to experience the paint and to feel joy... after all these are children of only 3 and 4 there is plenty of time we do not need to achieve everything today!

one of the two year olds came and sat with us and wanted to watch, after a while I asked if she would like to paint - an eager nod later she was equipped with paper, brush and paint - and she started to create her own masterpiece still-life. Her flower appeared and then disappeared again under her desire to feel the paint and fill the paper. When she was finished she proudly took her painting to show my colleague...



Reflection - December 2013

This has to be one of my favourite art sessions with children - I remember the very first time I did this with a group of five year olds with a bowl of fruit - how one child had shouted at another that she had drawn her fruit too big, and the girl physically deflated - I asked the child to come over and have a look from where the girl was sitting - and there was a gasp "wow it IS big from here" - the girl grew again and the five children sitting at that table all learned a valuable lesson about how things can look different depending on where you are viewing them from...

I have been working with the children in Vinden with still-life work - and we are getting closer to the place where they are interested in drawing/painting what they see and not just feel the movement of the paint-brush in their hand across the paper. So I am looking forward to doing this again... but with a different theme to connect with the Together on the Square project. Possibly when the weather warms up they can draw pictures of the square - or maybe to hop over the drawing and get them to take a photograph of the square - or a short series of photographs and then see how the children compare - have they taken similar views, have they seen the same details - or will they all bring something new to the table?

5 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed reading this blog post. Did they use flowers to paint as well? I noticed that the purple and green painting has a different texture.

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    1. yes, the purple and green one was created by bashing the petals with the hammer onto a textured paper - as the photos above show. It was real fun, and who would have known that deep red petals would produce a purple colour on the paper?

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    2. The hammering painting was my favorite one because of the process. ..and for the children to discover that red petals produce the purple color is amazing! Thanks for this post.

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  2. Wonderful observations from the students! I like to keep a vase of flowers on our dining table, I never thought about viewing the vase from each seat, I'll have to try that with my girls :)
    I bet the children had a lot of fun hammering the flower petals and leaves!

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    1. I am looking forward to taking a wooden board and hammer out with us in nature so that we can pick the weeds and create art from them... It was a great deal of fun.

      I have done still-life with children before using this "looking from another's perspective" as my main objective - but have always used fruit bowls before - which works great - and with older children (4-6 year olds) so I was unsure how these mostly 3 year olds would accept the challenge as they really are in an exploratory stage of their painting/art... it is going to be so exciting to follow their journey/process as they make the move from filling the paper to recreating what they see...

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