I love Audrey’s comment on my last post. And it links to something else I have been thinking, which is that thinking of something to draw/paint/pastel/create and figuring out what you need and pulling together the supplies and actually working on the techniques is a pretty complex and daunting task. This is one reason why the copying thing works. Someone else did all the thinking and composition and everything and one can learn from that by paying careful attention and copying. (This was how a lot of those famous painters learned, by the way. In fact, we discovered last year that one of the Van Gogh paintings that we’d learned about in a book is actually one of a series of copies of paintings by Millet.)
In our converstion the other day Tigger really liked the idea that she should do some kind of art exercise every day, just like she does a few pages of math every day, or practices piano and violin every day. But today, I was thinking that that is a lot of ideas for a kid to come up with. And really, it isn’t necessary for her to do a piece of original and creative art every day. Sometimes it is just about practicing a technique or trying something out.
One idea was to make up some envelopes that contained the right colour of pastel paper and an art postcard for her to copy. Then she could take one out, grab the box of pastels and a tray, and do a copy.
But then, as I was sitting on the sofa knitting away, I thought maybe it would be a good idea to have a bunch of art-exercise cards in a box or a basket. So on any given day she could either do something she had thought of herself OR she could pick a card from the box and do that exercise.
These wouldn’t be big projects but rather exercises like copying a painting. Or drawing the cat (which I suggested she do today; she did a really nice drawing using watercolour pencils and her new water brushes). Things that could take anything from 10 to 30 minutes depending on how hard you were concentrating.
I’m thinking that the card needs the following information: medium (e.g. pencil, pastel, watercolour paints, watercolour pencils, etc.), a brief description of the exercise, and a list of materials needed. I would pull together the necessary materials when she picked a card, which means that as I put exercises in the box of cards, I need to check that all the materials are in the house. If I come up with exercises that need materials we don’t have, then I need to keep that card out of the box until I get the materials.
So, given that I’m not much of an artist, I’m now on the hunt for ideas. Feel free to suggest them in the comments (with the 3 types of information: medium, materials, description). And also feel free to grab the suggestions and use them yourself. I also welcome suggestions of other resources that might be good sources of exercise ideas. … Oh, I just remembered some tiny Usborne books on art …