Popping Off the Page

 Photo of student work. Use only with permission.

Photo of student work. Use only with permission.

Recently I posted a photo of a 6th Grade student painting a rose. Several comments mentioned that the rose looked like it was "popping off the page." In the post, I mentioned that this is the first serious painting that this student has done. She is excellent at drawing, but has never applied paint in this way. I simply told her that painting is just like drawing..only with color. This relaxed her and she began to enjoy the process. This reminded me why I love teaching art and watching a student's love and talent for art blossom like the petals on this young, budding artist's rose. Not all students who discover the magic of art arrive with a backpack of talent. Some are searching for a way to express how they feel about the world around them. They are not as concerned with technique as they are with content. For those students, I will present a way for them to develop just enough skills to communicate their message. If their interest continues..skills will follow and so will their individualistic style. Some students come with a love for experimentation. For those students, I introduce a variety of alternative surfaces and new materials. However, sadly, it is just as easy to uproot a student's love for art by fencing that student into a place where only perfectionistic realism reigns. As art educators, we must celebrate a diversity of individualistic styles and differentiate our instruction to meet the needs of students at all levels. The art room of all places must be the oasis..the safe place..where the student can think, plan, design, express, connect, reflect and emerge into a confident, empowered young visionary.