Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Easy Ways to Teach Art Appreciation to Children

Romero Britto - Estação Clínicas
Romero Britto - Estação Clínicas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
by E. Allred

For those of us who are not natural artists teaching art appreciation to our children can be a daunting task.

With these simple resources even non-artists can be confident in their ability to make art enjoyable to beginning students.

1) Basics

Start by developing the skills needed to see the basic grammar of art: lines, shapes, colors, and perspective.

Mona Brookes' modern-day classic, Drawing with Children: A Creative Method for Adult Beginners, Too, is a wonderful resource that can be used to teach basic drawing to any age.

She begins instruction by breaking down pictures into their many parts: lines, curved lines, angled lines, circles, and dots. Learning to see and draw the parts that make up a picture will greatly assist you in appreciating the finished piece. You may just learn to draw yourself, too!

2) Skills

While learning the basics of art, start introducing projects based on the works of real artists. Students' appreciation for art history will increase as they themselves copy famous artists. For preschool children, Usborne's My Very First Art Book introduces fifteen famous artists and gives space to create your own version of their masterpiece.

For students in the elementary years and above, including adults, The Usborne Art Treasury features both artist biographies and simple, step-by-step projects that mimic their work. The quality of the finished projects rivals that of any other art instruction book, regardless of what experience your budding artist began with. You may also consider using an instruction book that speaks

3) Familiarity

By reproducing famous works of art you are producing the fruit of familiarity, which is a necessary precursor to true art appreciation. Don't underestimate the impact of displaying masterpieces around the house. Becoming familiar with art can be as simple as placing postcards of worthy pieces around the house or as disciplined as using Usborne's Famous Artist flashcards to drill your student.

Visit art museums and exhibits. Be on the lookout for art during your daily life and point it out when you see it displayed during your favorite television show. Remember, familiarity will come before appreciation and understanding.

4) Understanding

Regardless of how skilled your student becomes in the producing of art pieces, the mastery of art history requires that you study the actual artists, their cultural context, and the masterpieces they produced.

For a broad overview of art history, from Ancient Egyptian tomb paintings to modern-era art, The Usborne Introduction to Art is an excellent resource to start with as it goes through our historical timeline by using 160 famous works. You can use this resource to discover what pieces and time periods truly interest your young learner and then further develop those interests by bringing in more detailed history texts.

For more specific instruction on individual pieces, The Usborne Children's Book of Art displays over 30 of the world's most loved masterpieces and provides facts about how the artists created their work and why others find the pieces important.

Through practicing the basics, copying the masters, and becoming familiar with art masterpieces, you will give your student the foundation needed to truly appreciate and enjoy art. Surround yourself with art and have fun. Above all, don't be intimidated. You can teach art!

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