80 Annual Print Book 2015 • Getting Started in Art www.TheOldSchoolhouse.com
Getting Started in Art
Art is important. Jane Cooper Bland1 says, “Art to the child is more than a matter of paint- ing pictures or making ob-
jects. It is a means by which he expresses
his individuality and communicates his
ideas about himself and his world.”
Creating art is a time during the school
day when children can do something that
promotes out-of-the-box thinking. There
is not just one way to get it right. There is
only one correct date in history, one way
to correctly spell a word, and one correct
answer in a math problem. But in art,
coming up with a new idea is a bonus. No
three architects come up with the same
idea for a certain building. Art promotes
independent thinking and problem solv-
ing and can be a wonderful bonding time
between the teaching parent and student.
When children reach the age of eight
or nine (or sometimes earlier), they want
to know how to make something look
real. This is when perspective and other
techniques in drawing such as shading,
shadow, and texture can be introduced.
For a younger child, as long as you are introducing the elements and principles of
art and showing them master art, an art
lesson becomes a delightful opportunity
for visual communication.
Coloring is a fine motor skill and is important, but it is better to allow the child
to color in a picture of his own making.
Coloring books can have a negative effect
on learning art. When children look at the
pictures in coloring books, they can develop an “I can’t draw” mind-set. They sometimes subconsciously compare their work
to the work of the coloring pictures drawn
by professional artists. When they color
their own pictures, they can take pride in
their own picture because it belongs totally to them and they can grow more as
an artist. Art is like any other discipline in
that it can be learned step-by-step.
Art as a Catalyst
How do you allow the child to learn technique and still allow for creativity? In a
high-quality art lesson, children learn at
least one of the elements and principles of
art, look at one master work of art or more,
and then do a hands-on project where a
technique is taught—however, they have
the freedom of adding to the finished product. Art is a catalyst to invention.
Art is valuable in that it teaches children that failure is a key to success.
Though they may not be happy with their
first try at an art project, they should have
by Sharon Jeffus
Teaching Art in
Art is like any other discipline
in that it can be learned