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The first water color lesson.

Every teacher introduces a lesson in his or her individual and unique way. The need to motivate the child toward freedom of expression, while also imparting information and encouraging critical thinking, is not an easy task. It is interesting to note how teaching strategies have changed since this article appeared in the June 1944 issue of SchoolArts--also note those teaching reinforcements that are still valid today.


The First Water Color Lesson

CORDELIA B. JENNETT Assistant Art Supervisor ROSEMARY BEMEYER Director of Art Public Schools Kansas City, Missouri

GREAT THRILL for both the teacher and the pupils is the first water color lesson. There is much to do and it seems as though there is need to do it all at once. The pupil needs to know

How to care for paints and brushes.

How to wet paints.

How materials should be arranged on the desks.

How to mix colors.

How to paint a picture.

Most second-grade pupils have a pet at home. They enjoy thinking of their brush as the hairy little fellow who will be their pet at school. This pet has to be housed in a clean box, be kept clean, and handled gently. They delight in seeing him drink up surplus water from the paper when he is dry. He needs just a small drink to work in a small area and a large drink when there is a large space to cover. His hair is not to be pulled, but he is cleaned by swishing him about m water and then wiping him gently on a folded flat rag.

Beginners need to be shown how to wet the entire cake of paint without getting their water dirty. Let them arrange the material on their desks so that their workshop is convenient for them. Each pupil may work out his own arrangement.

A successful lesson may be taught by painting movements.

"Who will show us with his hands how the waves move when you sail your boat?" says the teacher, who then transcribes the given motions on the hoard.

They are then asked to describe the motion: "When the wind blows the clothes on the clothesline." Other examples will produce additional lines. "Move your hands so that we may see how the lightning flashes through the sky. Show us how the water tumbles and splashes in a water fall." These motions are each transcribed on the board by the teacher after the pupils have described them with their arms.

"Kickball is a game which most boys like to play. You need to know the rules in order to enjoy the game. We are now going to play a color game."

"Let's think of a few rules as our brush sweeps across the paper. Rhythm is a big word, hut we can all remember, 'Do it again!' Let's have some large, some medium, and some small shapes. Have one shape and one color most important."

"Bump the edges of your papers with the painted lines, then we'll fill all the paper."

"We want to see the shapes which we'll paint, so be careful to paint light colors next to dark colors. Fill the brush full of paint. Fill it with your favorite color. Choose any movement you like."

Start with the waves or the lightning or the wind. While the color is wet, add another color. As they mix together you'll have made a new color. No stringy or thin lines. Make strong fat shapes."

As the children paint, bring out the points of the lesson by displaying their pictures and asking guiding questions. "Mary is wondering what color to use here. What would you use? Blue. That would he fine. I wonder why you suggested blue? The rule says: 'Do it again.'"

"John's picture is so crispy and clear. Why can we see the beautiful shapes so easily? He painted light colors next to dark colors."

Someone will exclaim: "Look, I made orange." Another will say: "See the greens."

The children are having fun. The papers are beautiful in color and fine in design. They are enjoying the liquid, free moving medium of water color. They are not hampered by subject matter and drawing. They are having experience with color and the handling of the brush.

After having one of the lessons, I asked the children to tell me everything they had learned. They listed some ten points. They learned to handle the brush, to put light next to dark, to clean paints, to wet paints, to use more water for large shapes than small ones, to use the same color again and again, to balance the picture, not to put too much on one side, to mix orange, green, and violet, to bump the edges of the paper. I then asked them what they would name these pictures. One reply was: "Playing with color." The one which delighted us the most was. "Our What Happened Pictures."

The teachers tell me that during the reading periods, the children often talk about the illustration in their books. They mention how the artist used the rules "Do it again," and "Bump the edges," and "Light next to dark."
COPYRIGHT 1992 Davis Publications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:includes sample lesson from 1944
Author:Bemeyer, Rosemary
Publication:School Arts
Date:Sep 1, 1992
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