After last week’s play with primary colors, I thought we’d explore the world of symbol and pattern. I was inspired from a recent trip to Alaska and thought it would be delightful if we all painted totems of ourselves. Class started with a mini lesson on Inuit art, specifically the totem, and continued into an extended lesson on symbolism. The students struggled a little with the concept of symbolism, having a hard time linking abstract ideas to an animal. However, once they got the hang of it, finding meaning behind each creature became easier.
The students were enraptured by the examples of Inuit art. They were particularly drawn to the patterns and simple color schemes of totems and modern art pieces. My first graders, the next day, had fun reading all the animals and meanings we listed on the board in class. I ended up teaching two lessons on symbolism.
The art students had about an hour to draw and paint in class. They were so taken with the project, that not a single one of them finished on time. They all worked for the entire hour as if a seriousness had fallen over them. As they sketched, I demonstrated some watercolor techniques, working on a totem of my own. As you can see by their paintings, their watercoloring skills have developed nicely. There is much more control, in both brush and medium, than when we began class in January. All of the projects were finished at home. I think the students enjoyed working throughout the week – they’ve been diligently testing and probably needed the release.
Next month will be our last for the year. There are only two more scheduled sessions – one of which will be an all day trip to the Getty in Los Angeles. Next week, the students will begin their final project. I know they are all excited – I am too.
This post also appears at Lifeasgood.com.