Fifth Graders expressed an interest in learning Japanese and Chinese brush painting techniques after reading about the Chinese painter Wang Yani, who began painting at the age of 3.
Our theme in Fifth Grade Art is observation. We can use any media as a tool with which to exercise our observation skills, so why not sumi-e? I normally teach these techniques to younger children, so working with the same materials with older artists is a whole new (and very exciting) experience.
We begin with a peaceful attitude and an organized and orderly work station. Fifth Graders are experts at respecting one another's peace and the need for quiet to promote concentration. These techniques require focus and a great deal of practice to master. We painted pages and pages of bamboo leaves before beginning our first compositions.
This student's work has sparked an idea for how we will proceed with this exploration. It will be a great way to do quick figure studies.
The Fifth Graders will be traveling with sketchbooks this year in order to visually record their observations while on field trips. Beginning next week, we will try modeling poses for one another in order to practice capturing figures in action. I can hardly wait!