Plein Air Painting — Unschooling Art

A few weeks ago, I told you about how I turned control of science experiments over to my elementary age children.  Today, I am here to confess I have  done the same with elementary art education.  Yes, shamefacedly but triumphantly, I am here to tell you that I do not teach art.

Like most adults I know, I do not consider myself an artist.  I am a quilter, I enjoy viewing art, I love listening to music and making music on the piano, but art in the form of drawing or painting has escaped me.  I sometimes blame this on my ninth grade art teacher, who laughed at my attempts at watercolor painting.  However it happened, I certainly do not want my ineptness at representative art to rub off on my children.  I have decided that the best way to serve them in this is to allow them to do art — feed them ideas from museums, books, and websites — but with no adult interference.

Recently, this led to an afternoon spent like this:

We are fortunate in having these two large picnic tables on a patio outside our home.  Since the weather has been lovely, these tables are perfect for spending a long afternoon painting.  Lucy had an idea from her recent museum trip.  She had watched a video where an artist made abstract paintings and added texture by sprinkling sand over the drying paint.  We are blessed with a lot of sand at our house.  So she had a painting experiment, and Max followed along.

A great time was had by all.  I enjoyed it because the mess stayed outside and was completely cleaned up by kids, I had two great new paintings to hang on the wall, and because I had very happy children all afternoon.  Lulu loves doing art in any form, and was able to try out her new idea.  And Max enjoys mess!

Do you use an art curriculum, or do you just mess around as the ideas come to you?  Please leave me a comment below.

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