On a youth basketball team, some kids are there because they love the game and can't get enough of it. Some are there because they are really good at it. Some are there because all their friends are on the team. Some are looking for a place to fit in. Some aren't sure why they're even playing but they are hoping something clicks.
When we sign our kids up for a season of basketball, we're looking for an EXPERIENCE. Yeah, we'd definitely like to see some growth...maybe in better dribbling skills, higher game IQ, better teamwork or just increased confidence. We judge the success of the season NOT on the end-of-the-season tournament, but rather by looking at how the entire experience positively impacts the development of our children.
Our weekly art classes are an experience that encourages the same kind of growth as that baseball season (or baseball season or soccer season). We're looking for increased skills--in drawing, painting, printing, sculpture, etc. We're working on a better understanding of abstract concepts like composition and balance. We improving on our vocabulary and our critique skills so we can support our classmates. We're creating together and making connections with fellow makers. We building self-confidence and resiliency.
Just like the basketball team, our kids are come to the studio for ALL different reasons. Some have a natural talent that they are looking to grow. Some have a LOVE for creating and are just looking for an outlet. Some love the freedom of the studio environment. Some have friends in class. Others are looking for friends.
Our jobs as parents and coaches
Our instructors' job is to help each one of our students get what THEY need out of class. For most our our students, that still involves making an amazing piece of art. But, we also understand that not everyone NEEDS to finish their final project. Some have zero interest in finishing their artwork because that's not what THEY are looking to get out of the class. They may never truly finish anything in our eyes, but if they are getting what THEY need out of their studio session each week, that's what matters.
So, parents--especially Orange Easel parents--please look at the season, not the score. Look at the practices, the teamwork, the connection, and the experience. Not just the finished artwork that they walk out with at the end of the month. Because for some of students, what they are working on isn't as tangible as something that can be painted on a canvas. And for ALL of our students, that's not the full story.
Anyone who knows me well, know that I'm as competitive as they come. I like to win. And I like pretty art. But--at this age, at this level and in the big picture--the "score" in so unimportant. What we learn along the way is what matters.
My 10 year old daughter takes classes on Thursday night. This is her third year doing our Pet Portraits class in February. And every year she has chosen to paint a picture of one of our Great Danes. This year is a painting of Sophia, my 7-year-old blue merle.
Why we offer the "same" class
We repeat a lot of our curriculum year after year and I hear some parents express concern that their kiddos have "already taken that class."
Couple points to keep in mind:
Here are a few more portraits from our Thursday night class.
You know what's impressive? These 10 and 11 year olds had to DRAW their pet on their canvas first before starting their painting. They worked from photographs to design an interesting composition, get the scale right, and render their pet accurately. There's no paint-by-number here...they started with a blank canvas and a pencil!
We could make "prettier" art.
Our instructors could design out an already-balanced composition, pick out the colors that we know go best together, and outline each step exactly for our our artists to follow.
And the art might look prettier.
But our objective is NOT to see how well they can execute the teacher's instruction.
And in the end, THIS IS ALL THEM.
Could I make it prettier? Probably.
Could I make it better? I don't think so.
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The result from these bubble prints is a delicate lacy pattern (see above). The fish print was done in a second step using printing foam; we'll get a blog post written about that step next week!
The best part is seeing how BIG you can get your bubbles to grow!
It's a little bit science, a little bit art (and a little bit of soapy-mess)...and a whole lot of fun!
If you want to make these bubble prints at home, we've put together a short tutorial for you that appeared first on our facebook page.
After your bubble prints dry, you can cut or tear them to use them in collages or use them as backgrounds for more drawings, paintings, and prints. In our next post, we'll show you how we made our glittery fishy prints to go along with the story, Rainbow Fish. Stay tuned!
More Bubble Activities:
Content inspired by the artists and art created in our studio.
Orange Easel began as a small art studio in my basement and continues to grow and serve our community. Read more about our story here.