an overview what it is like to teach art

Art is always a favourite with me – despite me being the actual worst artist EVER!! I cannot draw at all. I’m almost embarrassed to even try. Thank goodness for google images!

But I do love creativity. I do love originality. And I believe that enthusiasm is the key to success (not just In art lessons). Just don’t ask me to paint your portrait unless you’re not easily offended!

I believe that you should approach any art focus with lots of questions and an open mind – whatever your age. It is such a subjective area as everyone has different artistic approaches and preferences – and that’s ok! I love looking at art with children and asking them if they like it or not. As we all know, children are brutally and beautifully honest and will say it like it is! I love listening to their answers and always encourage them to justify their ideas. I also ask them what they would prefer? ie another artist or artistic method. I believe that children need to see a wide range of contrasting art across the primary phase. Art that seems to make perfect sense and art that absolutely doesn’t. Art that needs no explanation and art that literally cannot be explained. I also believe that talking about art… is art itself and should be embraced and acknowledged along the way! Teachers can help children to think critically about different representations or artwork by asking both open and closed questions! Have sentences stems or modelled examples at the ready….

Teaching Tips!

  1. Immersion afternoons:

    Get stick in!
    Listen to the music of the era or culture, get the laptops out to research or use artistic apps, create a “have a go” table filled with different media for the children to get creative on, go on a nature walk to get inspired, watch a movie from an art gallery, look at artwork and give marks out of ten ‘strictly come dancing style’, only use one colour paint and ask the children to create different colours using different materials, mess around with plasticine creating the Rodin’s ‘The Thinker’ it doddle as you watch an old black and white movie from the past – the possibilities are endless!
  2. Large scale piece:

    A large painting inspired by a famous artist or a huge mural representing a particular technique. I love these! You really do get a real sense of comradely and pride. Children seem to work with greater accuracy or flair if they know that their effort effects others. Stand back and watch them create!
  3. Well equipped Art area:

    Ask for a budget and get spending! Beg, steal and borrow too! Write to the parents and ask if they have any old paints, picture frames, canvases, materiel scraps etc…. oh and make sure it all looks tempting too! Maybe even colour coded! Oh how lovely would that be!
  4. The Vocabulary:

    Keep saying it! Display it! Model it! Praise it! Overuse it until they copy you! Have the words and definitions in the wall! The children could make examples eg: How to make green! How to draw shadows! Different types of line…
  5. Daily photos / Questions:

    Visit the Guggenheim online or use Once upon a picture and select a painting! Ask questions. Make comments. Have debates. Discuss artistic techniques! Celebrate the differences opinions within the group! No one is wrong in art…

Resources I have Found Useful

sketch your face

Painting Portraits: Before painting a formal portrait, get the children to look in detail at their facial features! 

Vincent van Gogh

What an artist! Find out all about the famous Vincent van Gogh! What techniques did he use, how did his colour schemes change and look at his most famous artwork. 

Colour Mixing

Create primary colours and also find out what happens to colours when you add black and white! 

Gallery of Inspiration

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