Thursday, 4 September 2014

Letting local art inspire...

On Thursday the three children in Vinden, that are in their last year of preschool before starting preschool class in a school environment, will be working with me on an art project throughout the year... one where we will be collaborating with the same aged children at Filosofiska's preschool in Skarpnäck.

Today we looked at two pieces of local art, what did we think about them... and is it OK to play on art (as they played in and on both of them)... their first response is "...are we allowed to?" - and I relied "that was not my question, my question was do you think it is OK to play on art?" - of course right there and then the answer was a resounding yes as they busied themselves into their play.

The first artwork we looked at was a glass installation we have visited before, where the glass is very reflective in a rainbow like way which makes it hard to see the person on the other side... it also means that when you are face to face with someone you can see your face and their face at the same time in equal amounts... we were rolling around in laughter... my face was green their's was pink and they sort of merged... I guess you had to be there...

The other artwork was the horse sculpture that lies in the grass, the same one we sat around in spring and drew, each considering how different the horse looked depending on where you were standing/sitting.

The children took photographs pf both... and on the walk back to the preschool the children decided that the rainbow glass should be our inspiration in the atelier...



 So we talked about what we had seen... and pink and green were the colours that had stood out most... even though they called it a rainbow, when we looked at the photos it was mostly pink and green.... just like our faces had been. So we chose to work with pink and green. I also looked around the atelier for a suitable surface to paint on, something that would capture the reflective and half transparent nature of the art. I found an old piece of emergancy blanket and held it up for the children to see... it was shiney, but at the same time we could see through it. We wrapped it around the light table and then got busy with the paints.

We started with pink. How do you make pink. Red and white... of course. So we experimented... what would happen if one pot had more red than white, another had equal measure and a third had more white than red... the children made their hypotheses and we mixed to see if they were correct. They were.










The children then started to paint, one started to paint round the edges and the others joined in, so I asked what was the plan? It was to paint round the edges... how much room were they going to leave for the green... as we had talked about how green and pink when mixed would end up being brown, and since they were clear that this was to be pink and green I let them know... and also told them that afterwards they could put my words to the test and see if I was really right...


Then it was time for green. How do we make green... with blue and yellow they answered. But here I placed a bottle of ready made green in front of them, so we experimented to see if we could change the green colour by adding more blue to one, more yellow to the another and some white to a third...

Three different greens appeared and the centre was filled with green. This time they experimented much more with the effects their brushes had on the surfaces, creating letters and shapes.

The above photo is taken in the dark with the lighttable switched on. The lower image is with the room lights on. Again we looked at how the colours changed depending on the kind of light being used.


Then the children had some time on the big easel.... at first they painted with intent, careful not to mix the colours, fairy themes dominating the paper.
Then one of the children mixed her colours a bit and exclaimed that I was wrong... it was still pink, it had not gone brown. "yes I could be wrong, you need to test this more"

So encouraged them to experiment... mix on the paper, and brown splodges started to appear... I encouraged them to test their different pink and green combinations and how much of each to see how that would affect the colour... they were amazed at the different shades of brown that started to appear...
Since I had seen how much they had enjoyed the mixing process when we first blended the colours, I encouraged them to start pouring and mixing and creating new combinations, I gave them a extra small pot each to be able to do that.

We then started going wild mixing the colours in the pots and on the paper, creating a swirling whirling combinations of greens, pinks and browns... and then hands got in on the actions and before I knew it they had paint up to their shoulders...


The other children would be returning soon, we needed to tidy up... they washed their arms, the pots and brushes, cleaned the sinks and dried the floors (as this was a wet business indeed) as it is important to leave the atelier in the condition that you want to enter it - a place ready to inspire and to create, not a place needing a clean and tidy up...


The next two coming weeks we will be looking at two modern artists, and then the week after we will take the bus to visit the children in Skarpnäck and share our experiences - as they are doing the same things as us. Will the children have interpreted the art in different or similar ways?
I am curious for sure.


2 comments:

  1. Suzanne,
    As someone who has always been interested in the tension between how to balance skill instruction and free exploration in art, it is lovely to read such a detailed description of your work with young children. I really appreciate the role you've taken on when teaching art; gentle and clear suggestions, encouragement to confirm information for themselves, and checking in to find out about & help flesh out their plans for their art. It's so helpful to hear how other navigate this - both to affirm the things I'm already doing and to suggest new directions to try. Thank you for the inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thank you so much for your feedback... I agree about the balance bit... it is such a fine a line and one I am aware of all the time, and one I am trying to get better at all the time. It is always a learning journey... and that is what Makes this job so exciting...

      Delete