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.