Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fauve for Kids

On Thursday, I taught an art course at the Banff Public Library. It is the second time I have taught at the library, and I love to do it. The first course I taught was a mosaic mirror class, when Holly was still the librarian. Since then, Barbara has become the new librarian. I met her at my exhibit opening, and asked her to keep me in mind for kid's programming. She did! Tonya called me to ask if I would teach the class that she teaches on the first Thursday of each month, for November. She and several of the other librarians were planning to attend a conference in Calgary that day.

I love being asked to teach a class and then researching what I might teach. I gave Tonya the option of having me teach the kids about Fauve artists and having them paint portraits, or having them make color collages, where they select a color and then make a collage of items only in that color. We decided that because the kids are ages 6-11 years old that the cutting out of numerous objects might be too much for some of them, but that because she never has them paint, that would be a treat. She said that one hour is not generally enough time for painting, but I assured her that with small canvas boards and acrylic paint that it would be fine.

The local dollar store owner was nice enough to special order the canvas boards for me, which the kids like because they are more "real" than paper. On the day of the class, I had a nice older child help me to pass everything out, and in the end, instead of having 11 kids we had 13! I was happy to have extra materials to be able to welcome the extra kids. And a mom to help me change wash water, squirt out paints, and help when needed. Tonya had selected some amazing grown up art books I could use to show the kids examples of well known Fauve artists like Gauguin, Matisse, and Derain. Fauve means "wild beast" in French, and fauvists painted in a spontaneous manner, using bold colors, from about 1905-1908.

The kids got really excited when I explained that they could paint a portrait of a person or a pet or even a landscape using completely unusual colors. After sketching, they began to paint. In order to let the paint dry a bit, I read an awesome book, called "When Pigasso Met Mootisse" by Nina Laden.

I love the brilliantly colored pages and the fun story, I can't wait to check it out for Quin. After the story the kids painted a black outline around their painting. Then we read one more book. In the end, Tonya was in the building until the end of the class, and she was amazed by the behavior of the kids. They were excellent, even the one I know who is normally very loud. I take a very laid back approach when I teach art. I don't have a lot of rules, just a loose outline, and I want the kids to create what they feel. This usually results in a much more free and easy environment than when I have been stricter. My goal is for the kids to have fun, while learning, and for them to come to the library for both reading and creating. I was honored that Tonya and Barbara thought I had done such a great job, and I was so proud of the kids' work. We pulled it all off in an hour and the kids were proud to bring home their works of art, along with some new books about art.

I was inspired to teach this project after seeing a post on one of my new favorite blogs, Art Projects for Kids ....


robayre said...

Aw, this totally brings back when I was an art education major in college (for a year and a half). We taught and assisted in Saturday morning art school for kids and had to go into classrooms and teach our own lessons to elementary school. I completely forgot about how prepared and organized you have to be when you only have an hour to teach and work.
Looks like you had a good time and the kids' works is amazing. I love, love, love how they filled all the space up.

Tiffany Teske said...

Do you work in art education now, Robyn? I do have a lot of fun teaching kids. They are so much more free than adults. I, too, was impressed with how the kids used their time and filled the space. Just realized the photos are a bit glaring since the paint was drying...