Last week I taught a collaborative preschool art lesson about radial symmetry. We stamped and painted recycled brown paper bags in small groups of three. The resulting papers from that lesson are the beginning of this lesson inspired by the imaginative and colorful City art of Barbara Gilhooly.
We used BG’s city buildings to discuss shape and form, different types of lines and colors. The children all had fun telling me all different parts of houses (the sweetest little girl offered up “a deck!” and “a doorbell!” very enthusiastically. We talked about stairs and windows and drain pipes and doors and shutters and rooftops and balconies. BG’s artwork lends itself so well to discussing all of these details and shapes.
Each of my students got a chance to shuffle through their now-cut-apart paintings from the week before and select a base for their new work of art. It is interesting to note that this was a challenging choice for some. What was most important? More paint or less paint? Did they like the defined parts of a radial pattern or a more even design all over like wrapping paper? Big? Small? Short? Tall? It’s hard to make up your mind sometimes!
For our first layer we used black marker to define some forms. I encouraged the kids to remember the shapes and forms we discussed but really let them take the lead without much direction. It’s important to let students explore their materials in an unstructured way. Inspiration and guidance turning into experimenting and mark making. It’s really neat to watch!
For our color layer we used crayola oil pastels. My students always remark that these are ‘so soft’ so I sprinkle in some gentleness reminders. Usually helps!
I love the whimsy of their finished houses. They could work on these forever too! No early finishers in this lesson.
And I am still reading and rereading this quote from Barbara Gilhooly’s artist statement:
I absolutely love how she talks about her process and all the layers. I am always helping little ones learn how important this kind of layering and reflection in artwork can be and the language used above us very “Reggio” in nature. So good!
Hope you have a terrific week ahead,