A Journey through Art
Pablo Picasso once wrote, “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.”
Many of the artists that the students study have learned to draw and create art as young children, others have learned later in life. Many primary children here at Iroquois model Picasso‘s quote.
As each week passes, teachers witness every student’s journey as their art skills are transformed from simplistic attempts to detailed masterpieces. Students recognize that creating art takes time and focus. Learning to draw is like learning how to dance or play a sport. Basic techniques of drawing are first mastered by learning to break down a subject into its basic shapes. Then they add a background and detail to complete their artistic piece.
A parent recently asked art teacher, Mrs. Lasky, to point out her child’s sunflower composition. As they walked up to her child’s masterpiece, the parents’ eyes filled with tears of pride and excitement. As the parent asked, “When can I have this?” Mrs. Lasky stated that she wasn’t sure who was prouder, her or the parent. She knows these completed works will be cherished by my students’ families for years to come. It often makes Mrs. Lasky wonder which child may be the next Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, Faith Ringgold or Mary Cassatt.
Art students are not only learning how to explore a variety of art mediums, but they are able to study works of art ranging from the masters to contemporary artists. Students analyze how artists’ use the elements and principals of art in the construction of a composition. This is comparable to writing a well-organized response in a journal. Art students interpret artists’ renderings and provide a creative responses. The art curriculum combines subject areas such as science, math, literature, vocabulary and spelling. It is exhilarating to hear the students effectively communicate their knowledge of art concepts and art vocabulary in other classes. To illustrate, when a primary teacher recently explained an assignment to her class that involved a drawing with her writing activity, the vocabulary words taught to the students in art class were incorporated into the explanation. Student’s learning is enhanced by the reinforcement of skills throughout the primary curriculum.
The interdisciplinary flow of knowledge is not only exhibited in the art room; it is present throughout their educational journey here at Iroquois.
Article was written by Susan Lasky for the Iroquois Central School Newsletter, January 2008