What a great discussion -- thanks, everyone.
I've been deliberating this summer about a change in my 4th grade
landscape lesson. I have been using 4th grade as the year for little
drawing breaks at the beginning of the classes, and an emphasis on
still life drawing (from 3-D objects like softballs and plants). I
have found that when they're about 10 years old their minds get to
know the difference between what looks "right" and what doesn't, and
they tend to label themselves as good artists or not at this age.
(Even though my primary emphasis is on self-expression and skill
development, process instead of product, from Kdg on.)
Anyway, previously, when doing this landscape project I would ask
that they include a horizon in their painting, and paint the sky the
way they wished and try to show some kind of change of color/texture
from foreground to background when painting the ground. They were
asked to include at least some objects to help show aerial
perspective. Well, maybe it was the medium but I was never thrilled
at many of the results.
Since they study New York State in their Social Studies classes what
I think I may try this year (unless you all talk me out of it!!) is
using the digital pictures I've been taking all summer around the
state (it's a gorgeous state, in case you weren't aware. Mountains,
waterfalls, fields, farms, beaches, cities, rivers, um, smog, we have
it all!). I was thinking of telling them that if they had their own
cameras they might work this way on their own -- taking resource
photos and using them as inspiration and information. Like, how
exactly does this tree look closer than that one, or what color IS
that pond? I'll make sure that they understand that using other's
photos (i.e. from books or magazines) isn't exactly "legit" from an
artist's standpoint, but they'll know I took all the photos for them
to use just for this assignment. And we're gonna try pastels instead
Why am I doing this? Is it that important for me to have them bring
a nice "product" home? Is it to give them a way, one process they can
use, to make art in the future?
Fifth grade will again be more self-expressive with our ceiling tile
sculptures and showing how you feel about going to the middle school
next year , etc.
Liz in rural NY