from: Bunki Kramer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Los Cerros Middle School
968 Blemer Road
Danville, CA 94526
I once had an art 4 class who was very uptight about their work. I let them
use finger paints (from a kindergarten teacher I know) for an entire period.
When they had completed this activity they said it was fun using the finger
paints, but they had nothing of value to show for it. It got this "play"
thing out of their system and they seemed to be more receptive to
instruction, where they knew they would be getting a better product. They
still liked being able to play. I believe that art students like guide
lines and instruction that will give them a good finished product, and when
left alone, they will play but eventually come back to a more thought out
work that will give them some pride.
Hi, Ken. I know this isn't EXACTLY what you are talking about but it still
has some merit alongside your discussion.
I tend to teach more tightly than loosely...simply, I guess, because my
middle sch. kids come to me with NO previous art experiences other than
their core elementary teachers. They have had little in art experiences and
are beginning from square one. Skill building tends to lend itself towards
more structure. Having said that, when we do a lesson like the Jim Dine one
where the goal is to experiment with color, line, and pattern in a more free
form...like going outside the lines, exaggerating the brushstrokes, loose
coloring effect with the materials (everything doesn't line up and isn't
perfect), and reverse shading, then the kids have a hard time with that.
They have a hard time with loosening up and letting it flow like in
"playing". Even when they "think" they are playing loose, they really aren't
so it's a struggle of sorts. This is a good artist for using his techniques
of "playing" and still get good product from the kids though.
Ken...if you are finger-painting and want to direct it to a finished
product, you might try looking into the adult finger-painting video by Mary
Ann Brandt called "Finger Painting Fine Art". I just got my copy and can
share with you since you live so close by. She has a website....
...or you can order your own copy. If I taught HS, I would DEFINITELY turn
this idea into a lesson...just BECAUSE it looks so full of spontaneity but
she also uses control of her medium. Do, at least, take a look at her
And thank you for the kinds words about our site...Toodles.....Bunki