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Lesson Plans

Re: Art in America

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
henry (taylorh)
Wed, 28 Aug 1996 06:59:17 -0700 (MST)

On Wed, 28 Aug 1996, Leslie Miller wrote:

>>> The kids began to ask me about art which "just sqiggles and blobs of
color" that was selling for so much money and what makes it art! They
were very upset that they tried so hard to make things photo-like (not
because I make them do that) and here was an artist making thousands and
thousands of dollars for a "scribble." They were so wise in their
discussion. We never really did come to an answer, but it is an avenue
that we will explore, after I expand my store od posters and books, so we
can form hypothesis and ideas. <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Like so many younger kids, by the second grade I knew I wasn't an artist.
After all, I knew what drawings and paintings were, I saw them every day
in the illustrations of the storybooks I loved so much. I could not
create ANYTHING like that. Nothing realistic, Nothing even goofy. N.C.
Weyth, tho he didn't even know such a thing was going on, had efectively won
the competion with me.

Somewhere in that year my classroom teacher, (we didn't have art teachers
in the Sunnyside district then) brought in a filmstrip. It was Modern
art. Most impressive to my second grade mind was Brancusi's Bird. Later
in the week we did one of those Florence Kramer scribble activities with
chalk on black paper. You know the ones. You scribble maddly and randomly for
about a second and then turn the scribble into a picture. It didn't take
but a second more to recognize that a number of the lines, as they
crossed over one another, had a remarkable similarity to the outline of
Brancusi's bronze.

I made my bird ultra-hyper-super and in a peacock rainbow of color.
Because of that, and because the paper was black I called it "bird in
outer space." It was a LOT better than the Brancusi! I still have it.
It isn't as good as a Brancusi, of course. But back then it was good enough
that I knew that I WAS an artist.

I still work in chalks and pastels at the age of 48. I still do "Modern"
art. (actually I've become something of a postmodernist) I sell it too. I
went back to school to cet certified and to puesue a masters because,
having been drafted as an art teacher in my children's school, I found
that there were second graders who KNEW that they were NOT ARTISTS.

Kids need to have permission not to "art" like their storybooks. They
need examples of art appropriate to their levels of motor development.
They NEED these things in Pre-Kindergarten!