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Lines and Color
July 14th
StoryArtplay Session I, Class Two

This class began with a small group of parents and children, but the families kept arriving until the canvas that Zoe Alowan placed on the library floor was quite crowded.

Lydia shares her painting with the group
Lydia shares her painting with the group
There were finally 18 or more children working in the class. The children began in the circle by playing a clapping game to tell others their names. Then Zoe introduced the idea of lines in drawing. She asked the children to identify different types of lines. Several children responded with usual and unusual answers; straight lines, round lines, zig-zag lines, elephant lines. One boy proudly contributed a "T-intersection line" which perhaps he learned from a parent. Zoe demonstrated that she could paint different sizes and styles of lines by using her entire arm, her arm just from the elbow, and then just her hand from the wrist. She then passed a paint brush and some black paint around the circle, so that each child painted one sample line and gave it a name or description.

Everyone drew their own line
Everyone drew their own line
We passed out paper, white paint, and brushes for all the children to draw lines on their own pieces of paper. Parents generally encouraged their children and worked with them to make drawings. Most of the children made several drawings. The youngest children, those under 3 years old, generally practiced with colored markers and oil pastels drawing on paper. This activity was absorbing for the children for some time. One or two chose after one drawing to look at books instead, but most of the children kept drawing.

'Colors' by Sage
'Colors' by Sage
For a second stage, Zoe had all the children take their white line paintings to the library tables and fill in the spaces with colors, using markers and oil pastels. The children worked here on color and design, some made figurative pictures from their drawings, like one boy who described his colored drawing as a house with a number of different rooms. Asked to name the art, he titled it "The House That Lives in the Meadow." Other children used titles such as "Lines and Colors" or titles based on what they saw in their drawings. One girl made her drawing into animals.

'The House That Lives in the Meadow' by Alex
'The House That Lives in the Meadow' by Alex
Finally, Zoe had the group get together again on the canvas in their circle, and each child showed one or more finished art works. They gave the titles and said something about the work. Some needed coaxing and said just a little, others talked freely about their art works. The class ended around 11:20 A.M. This class worked well for the children, providing the following benefits: working alongside other children as well as with parents; trying out the physical gestures of painting with the brush, as well as the smaller coordination of coloring with markers or crayons; working with free drawing rather than immediately trying to draw objects or figures; gaining confidence with different art tools and media; promoting self-esteem by having them name their own works and present them to the class. Zoe praised the art works as the children presented them and complimented the artists on their work. One father with a toddler, a little boy who is handicapped (or developmentally disabled) commented that his son was just learning that the markers and crayons were not food, and that this was the first time he used them without putting them all in his mouth.

As a critique, several parents needed to leave early (one to attend the 2nd clay class at the other MAMA location.), so either the first or second section of this class could have been a little shorter, in order to have the entire group regather and do the final presentation. We urge parents to arrive on time so we can start promptly at 10:00 am.

Iven Lourie