Art has always been important to me. I’ve always enjoyed dabbling (what some call “process art”) as well as more structured lessons. Oli’s first art activity was fingerpainting at age 4-months. I poured three globs of tempura paint colors onto a square of white paper and put this gently inside a ziplock bag. Sealing it with clear tape, I set the bag in front of her and watched her excitement and wonder and she squooshed the paint onto the paper through the plastic bag.
She’s been an art lover ever since.
Much like most learning at the age of five, kids learn best about art through play. This is what we call “process art,” the term I used above. Process art involves tinkering and playing with various mediums. It encourages a child to freely experience and learn to use art materials though experimentation to see how the materials work and interact. The idea is to become comfortable with trying new things, learning through hands-on experience and trial and error. It’s also, incidentally, how many artists come upon their individual style.
Because I wanted of little of both worlds – structured and process art – I chose a beginner’s art curriculum and two supporting books:
What I like about this program is the instruction provided for parents on the child’s brain and how creativity works in children. The preschool program called, The Way They See It, is all about introductions to various art materials. It presents new materials alongside classic artwork and scripted questions for engaging your child in a discussion about what they see. If you follow the link above, you’ll see that Artistic Pursuits provides very generous samples to preview the material before you buy.
I really appreciate this approach. Because my child is too young to appreciate art history, I can still share famous works of art with her in a more basic approach. Because we’ve always done art, many of the formal instruction is too basic for us (such as learning how to use scissors), but even so, the artwork and projects are perfectly aligned with her interests, so this is a win! Artistic Pursuits goes on to offer art instruction up through the high school level and I look forward to seeing future books from this company.
The Art Books for Children
After a little research and some luck, I stumbled upon these fantastic books from Phaidon Press. Each book features 30 artists and a piece of two of their work for study. The background info is sparse but sufficient and the questions are thoughtful and encouraging. These can either be read, page by page, or paired alongside activities.
Here are a couple of examples of what we’ve done…
I’m thinking a future post might feature extension ideas for these books. What do you think? What have been your successes and failures with home art instruction?