Friday, May 5, 2017

Abstract Paintings in Kindergarten

Kindergarten artists have been exploring abstract painting and printmaking in art class. 
They are so fantastic.

By which I mean both the paintings and the students. Feeling really lucky about this bunch of artists, they are so excited for everything they are learning!

This lesson began with printmaking- we used sponges, bottle caps, bubble wrap, special shape brushes, and cardboard to print paint onto the background papers. For the bubble wrap, artists painted it with a brush, bubble side up, and pressed it lightly onto the paper. In between students, I gave it a quick rinse and pat on a towel so that the next artist could choose new colors. You can see the bubble effect, the pattern of small purple circles, in the painting above, and in the painting below the bubble wrap was painted with purple and pink stripes.

We definitely needed smocks! The rest of the items, bottle caps and such, could just be dipped directly into the paint, which I put out on plates at tables for the students to use.

 In the work above you can see all of the bottle cap circles at the bottom of the painting.

We talked about layering, about how the first day of printmaking was going to be our under-painting. The next art class, we used only paint brushes. Students looked carefully at their dried prints to find areas that they loved best. Around those, they used their brush to paint circles in different sizes.  These were their Circles of Love, indicating the parts of their work they liked best.

Inside the circles, they let the under-painted first layer show through, and  did not add any paint. Outside of the circles, they could "paint away" any part they didn't love, adding patterns, and experimenting with color mixing.

In this lesson, I specifically steered clear of showing them the abstract paintings of professional artists. For this age, getting their hands into such fun materials and tools is so much joy-of-discovery, and I wanted them to experience that feeling first. 

Abstract art doesn't come with the heavy rules of realism which can burden and frustrate artists, and it doesn't distract the viewer with intentional "real" images. Instead, students are free to explore shape, color, line, and texture, and doesn't have right or wrong answers.

If you are looking at these at home with your child, don't assume that they are not "about" anything! Feel free to ask your young artist to tell you about their work, and feel free to tell them about what it reminds you of, what you see in it, and how it makes you feel!