Monday, June 23, 2008

"A Little Give, Take Action"

Last week I taught a scene painting class for a theatre camp. O.K. , now this is the third summer I have taught at this camp. And every summer I try & think of a project for the kids that will 1.teach them something about being a scenic, 2. engage them, 3. needs to be completed in two 50 minute sessions, and 4. most importantly, will be FUN !
So, the camp is split into 3 age groups. The youngest group starting at 5 or 6, the oldest group no more than 12 years old and then the little guys in between.44 kids in all.
Also, I need to keep in mind that the space that we are working in, is really not good for messy painting, thoe I have gotten very messy by putting down drop clothes and plastic, in the past.
O.K. I decide we are going to do a little trompe l' oeil painting. A" little trick the eye" action.
I decide to cut out 44 canves squares to work on.
Then I decide, I am going to tape off the outside of the squares, creating a frame around a picture.
So, the first day, I talk to them about what a scenic is & the part they play in the production of a show.......I then explain what trompe l' oeil is & that we are going to create "what will appear to be a picture in a frame.....So, the 1st. day we are just going to do a little "scumbling, sponging action with 2 or 3 colors to create the background of our picture. Then tomorrow we will do a little stenciling on the background and finally pull the tape off and do a little wood graining or gold paint action to create our fake frame. Sound Good ?......While explaining, the kids did seem to like the ideal. But, a few hands did go up in the air asking if they could paint their own picture & not use the stencil. Of course ! Their minds were already way ahead of mine.
So, after camp, I go to the art store to purchase the stencils. As I stood there in front of the stencil selection, I thought, "Dummy...they don't want to use these boring stencils !...They want to PAINT !" So, thankfully I walked away from the stencils, walked over to the paint brushes and bought a nice selection of them.
The next day, when I announced to each class that they could paint what they wanted for their picture, they were all like, "YES!"
What was I thinking? Once again I learned my lesson. Every year it's the same, I start out saying, "first we will do this, this & then, this". And every year I am so grateful that I am not totally stuck in my perfectionist ways and am smart enough to let loose. So, between the kids & myself,and a little" give, take action." The class went very well.
Now, look at those paintings. They are BEaUtiFul !
While they worked, they hummed, they sang, they talked.
Enjoy your Monday.
Summer is finally here & I have alot of my own art to do. Get loose Amy, get loose ! :D


Christine Mercer-Vernon said...

ah amy, i have totally been there...i lead an art therapy group and the most enthusiastic and sometimes moving work the patients create are when i let them do just that...create, i provide the supplies and the encouragement.

sometimes, i think as an artist it's hard to relinquish that control, but when we do... :)

Amy Gethins Sullivan said...

Hi Christine, and really there is not enough time. And they really need something that they can walk away with. And as a Mom, I love this kind of stuff. In fact my own little Rowan did the hand painting that I posted.Kids love to get down & dirty with paint. And of coarse I had given them the what a scenic is lesson to start with.

Anonymous said...

I just loooove kids art! It makes my heart pskip a beat!!

Janine Serresseque said...

Amy, I am so grateful to have you teaching at camp. Your presence is so sweet and the kids love you!

Amy Gethins Sullivan said...

Oh, Thanks Janine :). It is fun ! Amy