The Art Study Approach
The Purpose of Displaying the Art Pieces
One of the simplest and most effective methods for creating an interest in the art pieces for each individual artist studied is to display them on a bulletin board, wall, easel or other designated area before any lesson work has begun with that particular artist. The art pieces are always readily available to be viewed. Daily views of the art pieces allow children an opportunity to examine a piece and then examine it again with a new perspective or approach, just as they are able to consider one work on one day and a different one on the next day.
I recently overheard my two daughters discussing the new art pieces just a day or two after I had displayed them. They had a lengthy conversation over breakfast about which piece they liked and why. This led to a closer examination of some elements of the piece and some debate over it ensued. This point needed further research and they then went online to research further for an answer. I loved watching the whole thing from a distance!
General Approach to an Artist Study
1. Choose an artist and then 5-8 art pieces of that artist, with 6 as a good goal. I try to include a self-portrait as often as I am able. This gives the students a visual of the artist.
2. Gather books about the artist or research suggested books that could be checked from the library.
3. Print the art pieces in color or mark them in a book. You may also wish to find an article which explains or provides more information about each specific art piece, but these articles are merely meant to be supportive to you as the teacher.
4. Display the art pieces on an easel, bulletin board, wall space or other designated area with labels for each piece.
5. At the beginning of each new term, have a discussion about art. Why do we study art? Why do artists paint, sculpt, draw or build? What do we, as humans, learn about ourselves when viewing art?
6. Read at least one biography of the artist. Usually a short book such as one by Diane Stanley or Mike Venezia will work, but books with short or chapter biographies of artists work as well.
7. After reading the biography, study one picture for each lesson. It would be helpful, although not required, for each student to have their own copy of a picture. The first lesson will focus on reading the biography and introducing the artist. The subsequent lessons will focus on one of the selected art pieces, one each per lesson. Each study of a piece will be followed by an art study narration.
8. Quick sketches of the general outline of the art pieces are introduced in the next level, but if your child is particularly keen to do this or if you have slightly older children joining younger children, then you may wish to allow a brief sketch for just one selection per term. Allow your student to choose their favorite piece from those selected for the term and sketch the leading lines for this one. Continue this until these children are ready for Level 2.