Friday, May 8, 2015

Helping Students Learn to Love Art

I'm teaching art to 6-8th graders for four Fridays in a row. Not being a teacher, I had forgotten how students can be on a beautiful Friday afternoon when it's the last class of the day. When it came time for the second class, I told them that I'm not a teacher, and I'm volunteering my time because I have a passion for art that I would love to pass on to them. I think that woke some of them up. What?! She's not being paid?! She actually WANTS to be here?!

Not knowing how much art background they have, I started slowly by covering relational, or site-size, drawing in the first class. In the second class we learned how to draw in perspective. (No easy task in a 35 minute class.) I was happy to hear that some of the students actually had been practicing what they learned during the week.

Today, the third class, we took on color mixing. Yikes! I forgot how challenging this can be for even a seasoned artist. I had prepared a "color chart" that they could fill in using tempera or acrylic paint. I'm attaching it below for anyone who would like to use it. If you have a hard time downloading it, please contact me and I'll email it to you.

If you're not familiar with color charts, it's a method of learning what happens when different colors are mixed together in varying amounts. It's amazing what can be achieved using only a few colors. This chart was set up based on the Zorn Pallette. I used red, yellow, and blue since the students I'm with are beginning beginners. Anders Zorn used Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Red, and Ivory Black with white. These were the main colors he used in his work.

I was happily surprised when one young man sat upright and said "I see what I'm doing wrong! Can I start over?" It was like that "Ah-Ha" moment that artists sometimes get. If I can help even one student feel the passion that I have for art, my time will have been worth it! Next week is the final week. We're going to attempt to paint an actual painting on canvas. Wish us luck!


Teresa Cowley said...

Such a wonderful thing to do !!! Awesome...

Kathleen Eaton said...

Thank you, Teresa. I highly recommend it! Being with students is refreshing and invigorating!