Monday, November 14, 2011

ARTitude Kids Workshop

I ran my first ARTitude Kids workshop this past weekend. Seven kids ranging from the ages of seven to ten came to my house to complete one painting. With that age gap I was concerned I'd created a piece too difficult to mimic.

My goal was to have the kids think about texture, color transition, moving the eye through a composition, and layering colors.
Leah - 5th Grader

Half way through the project, as I was walking around to help my students I thought, crap, this project was too hard. The kids weren't getting it. I had them squinting to see  if there were enough dark colors and contrasting light colors, many of them couldn't see that there weren't. Some of them wanted to stop at that point, and it was my job to show them there is more to a painting than the top layer.

I began to grab the kids brushes and show them how and where to add the color. I wanted the kids to create something their parents would be psyched about hanging in their house. I know, unnecessary pressure to place on the kids. 

With thirty minutes left of the class, I breathed a sigh of relief, the kids were layering their colors. Their paintings were their interpretations of my example, and they were all unique and beautiful.
Nicholas - 3rd Grader

It was a reminder of what I go through as an artist every time I do a painting. Half-way through my paintings I hate what I'm working on. I think I suck. I wonder if the painting should be thrown away and I should start over. I keep going, because I can't stand walking away from an unfinished piece. The areas I can improve and expand upon begin to stick out. I keep going and before I know it, I fall in love with my painting, glad I stuck with it.

It is that extra push that turns an average piece of art into something really wonderful, in my opinion. It's like baking, if it is under-cooked it's messy, if it's over-cooked it's ruined.

Anyway, I am very proud of my students. They didn't give up, and wow did they come up with some incredible pieces.


Annie said...

Hi there. This is Annie from your SCBWI's crit group. (I came once so far.)

You should consider signing up as a vendor for some of the local homeschooling charters: Visions, South Sutter, Horizons. Homeschoolers would love to take your classes!

Just a thought. Beautiful paintings.

RAD - Dot Painter said...

Awesome idea Annie! Thanks so much. I hope you're picture book is going well.

Angelica R. Jackson said...

We learn so many valuable lessons by teaching, don't we?

Christina Mercer said...

I love your ARTitude cat logo! So cool. And what your are doing with these kids is wonderful!! You are a gift to the classroom ;-D

Preschool Math Games For Kids said...

Innovative idea..

Cindy Feldman said...

Leah loves your Artitude Classes! She gave her last piece to us for Christmas. It was beautiful. I especially liked the Koi fish she painted. I don't know the technique, but that little fish had texture and colors that were definitely something new she learned at your class! Thank you for enriching and encouraging Leah's love of art! Barry and Cindy

Annie said...

Rachel, you're amazing! Nick and Katie have loved your workshops & now I'm hooked too. I spent all weekend talking about mixing colors. You've created a monster (or 3). Thank you for the patience and skill you've shared with all of us!

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

Wow, they did some beautiful work, Rachel. How exciting. You have every reason to be proud of them.