CBMS Choice-Based Art Studio

CBMS Choice-Based Art Studio
CBMS Choice-Based Art Studio

Monday, January 27, 2014

Studio Thinking Habit: "Develop Craft"

My new favorite quote is now installed over the door in the painting center; "I didn't know I could paint until I tried." Isn't this so true? 
Developmental art education theory suggests that children in the middle school years are transitioning from being bold, fearless, self-confident elementary-age artists to self-critical, unsure artists who now observe that their art may not look "real enough" for their maturing inner-critics. 
"J's" Work in progress
I heard an 8th grader  (let's call him "J") make the above statement, as he looked over his almost finished painting, one he rendered over several weeks. He used a photograph as reference, practiced mixing paint colors, noticed how his brush strokes could change with thicker or thinner paint application, drew and re-drew his figure-in-action and learned that wet paint applied over dry paint  can cover mistakes made the day before. He learned that he could work on a practice piece and transfer his knowledge to a final version. He learned to observe closely. Mostly, as the quote illustrates, he learned that to be able to do something, you first have to try. 
Acrylic on canvas - by "J," grade 8
And that is probably not all there is to it, because before trying, you first need to want to do it. Artists in our studio setting are asked to develop intrinsic motivation for learning and making - to find a good enough reason to risk, to try and fail, to work out problems of perception, and to work hard to develop their skills. For some this comes naturally, for others it is an almost daily challenge. I hope "J's" observation, and his painting success,  encourages others to "try."