Saturday, September 25, 2010

Happy Accidents

I don't paint things. I only paint the difference between things.
-Henri Matisse

I'd say that one of the most important things that the kids take away from my class would have to be critical/creative thinking skills. Over painting, drawing, sculpture, or any artist or art history, I feel that creative problem solving is the most meaningful in students' lives. Try as I might, not every student will become an artist or even continue to have a place in their lives for art, so I feel that giving students the ability to see possibilities instead of obstacles is something that every student can take with them the rest of their lives in whatever they do.

This year I'm really focusing on the idea of happy accidents; taking something that you didn't expect and turning it into something even better. Aside from this being a great way to increase problem solving skills, this philosophy also decreases the amount of paper thrown out from so called 'mistakes'!

This lesson starts with talking about geometric and organic shapes. This little animation is a neat way to introduce the concept. We then practice by drawing examples of geometric and organic shapes on the board and in our sketch books.

The kids start by drawing geometric shapes and then coloring them in with water-based markers. I tell students that the colors will blend and run together, so to think about what colors they could put next to each other for interesting effects. I really like telling the kids that artists are sort of like scientists; we try lots of things in order to discover different possibilities!

The students then drip water onto their drawings. The bleeding of the markers creates beautiful and interesting organic shapes as it dries. Using ultra-fine sharpies, the final step is to outline the geometric and unexpected organic shapes to create the finished composition.

'It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer'
-Albert Einstein

These 'happy accidents' make me very happy indeed! They are even more beautiful than I even expected!

Check out all of my kiddo's work on Artsonia!


Eileen said...

Pretty talented teacher!

Erica said...

I'm loving your blog! This will totally loosen up my kiddos. Just what some of them need. I haven't brought up the vocab or geometric and organic shape. Perfect explanation of the terms even if English is not your first language you totally get geometric and organic with this lesson. It is cool that it is a two day project (the marker has to dry) so I can reinforce the vocab the second day.

Besides they are just gorgeous.

Erica said...

Taught your project today for the second time! You'll see why if you check out the post.

I hope you don't mind I included it on my blog it was so good I gave you credit:) Thanks for sharing!

Janie B said...

Awesome idea! I plan to try this one. Nice to meet you!

Lauren Taylor, Art Instructor said...

These are incredible! I will have to try this with my students. I love how you approached teaching geometric vs. organic!

Lauren Taylor

Mary said...

These are gorgeous! I am always saying that term, "happy accidents" to get my students to let loose a bit. Now I can put that phrase (as well as teaching organic vs. geometric) into action. Thanks for the post!

Shannah said...

These are gorgeous!
I think you framed the project perfectly with the Happy Accidents theme.
Thank you for sharing:)

Ms. Julie's Place said...

I am going to try this out with my students next week! Thanks for the great lesson! Happy to find your blog as well!

Megan said...

These are gorgeous! I can't wait to try them with my students. What kind of paper did you use?

therese english perdue said...

I used Molly Hawkins 117lb paper... You could use most papers, but some students get a little water-happy... so they might warp a little. I stress to the kids that all you need are a few drops of water, because it really spreads! Have fun! :)