Tuesday, May 8, 2012
On Monday I had a wonderful session at our local primary school with my young friends from Room one. and saw how Art had developed over twenty years since I retired.
Gone were the scungy powdered tempera paints, To-day's children paint with acrylics on cartridge paper. The chuldren I worked with had been taught not to use the same brush for different colours, to wipe surplus paint off the brush, not to drip paint.
Their teacher, Mrs Prescott, inspired them with a topic that spoke directly to their imagination. Their topic this term is The History of the District, and of course Waitaki Valley was once the home of dinosaurs.
Mrs Prescott told them,
"Imagine that you have discovered a new kind of dinosaur, that nobody has ever seen before. You are going to paint it."
My part was easy. My questions had to call out of their imaginations what they already knew about disnosaues. Two legs or four? Long neck" Coud it fly? did it have tusks? I asked as the brown splodges on their papers took shape, legs, arms, horns, scales, tusks were added.
The fisnished paintings did not look much like conventional dinosaurs, but these were their own dinosaurs, created in their own imaginations. They were wonderful. And their was a lot of thinking about science going on as they painted.
The children showed me how to work the rack in the corner of the Art Area. It is a steel contraption which holds paintings while they dry.
I have always maintained that children's obsession with dinosaurs has a deep psychological significance, just as my generation was obsessed with ghosts and bogeys. I doubr if Mrs Prescott's class will have deep psychological hang ups , because they have put their monsters on to paper and faced them And had real fun doing it.