Heads Up

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Year 6 art exploration

“Everyone is an artist.”
– Joseph Beuys

To do this you need to feel that you are in a safe space to be a risk taker and to use your imagination. I challenge Year 6 students to do this every day. We are using a range of watercolour techniques and specific colour schemes to visually express the impact of natural disaster on the landscape by creating a series of three paintings, before, during and after the event. I am interested in how to get students to go beyond the usual, to suspend their reality, to use techniques and materials, to research and to use their imagination to create a unique work of art. Interestingly, they say things like, “I could not find a good picture online of what it was like during the tornado.” I respond, “Why do you think that is? How can you use watercolours to capture the action, the power, the impact of mother nature? Paint the wind.” Respond, express, explore.

This reminded me of Keri Smith’s guided journal called How to be an Explorer of the World, an invitation to rediscover the world around you using “Explorations” that will set your imagination free and encourage you to be an observer, collector, documentarian, analyzer and creative risk-taker.

Writes Keri Smith: To document and observe the world around you. As if you’ve never seen it before. Take notes. Collect things you find on your travels. Document findings. Notice patterns. Copy. Trace. Focus on one thing at a time. Record what you are drawn to.

Explore, enjoy and give these activities a try:

“Stories about place are makeshift things. They are composed with the world’s debris.”Michel DeCerteau
Travel History : Collect objects that tell a story of your travels and document where you found each one.

“Every morning when we wake up, we have twenty-four, brand-new hours to live. What a precious gift!’ – Thich Nhat Hanh
Daily Travels: Have each family member collect 10 objects from one day. Display the objects together and share your reflections about them. Draw them.

“The world is an astonishing place.” – Milton Glaser
Animate Inanimate Objects: Gather random objects together, observe each one and use markers, paper, glue, stickers, play dough and your imagination to add facial features and personality! Play with them, make up silly stories, photograph them. Find a great stop-motion animation app and make one!

“The imagination needs moodling – long, inefficient happy idling, dawdling and puttering.” – Brenda Ueland
Food As Art: Prepare a meal paying close attention to all the details for someone.

Nancy Preston, Visual Art Specialist  npreston@ucc.on.ca



Blue: Whole School
Yellow: Upper School
Red: Prep School


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