From the Teacher
My students can barely control their excitement when I tell them they are going to paint. They look at me with anxious agony as I explain and show them the routines of picking 1 person from their table to get a set of paints and 1 person to get a half filled cup of water to share. Their suffering continues as I explain how to apply water to pigment and mix to create paint without pushing down on the brushes bristles. Students wait patiently as I demonstrate how to clean the brush in water by gently rubbing the bristles along the side of the cup. Finally their agony wares off as I finish explaining how they are to clean up and put their project on the drying rack.
Even with this prolonged introduction to painting routines, the first time a class paints is usually chaotic. I have learned that is is worth taking a few class periods just to introduce painting routines and allow students to free paint or paint photocopies of line drawings. Students are usually so enthralled with the materials they forget all directions. It takes time, however students begin to accept and understand the routines of painting in art class. Once a class is comfortable with these routines I can begin to delve into lessons that have included identifying and using complementary colors and analogous colors and controlled handling of the brush to paint smooth and clean edges along lines. I have many ideas for art projects using the donated paints I am looking forward to, I am patient and allow my students time to develop a basic understanding of how to use and care for the materials before introducing more content.
4th and 5th grade students were introduced to the Lyra opaque watercolor paints and the nicer set of brushes that were donated. My students minds explode, blown away as they realize how much better the brushes are and how much better the paints looked and covered over paper. It was truly astonishing to them. They have really begun to appreciate quality art materials. They know the different qualities of paper I have and they can tell if they are going to paint on a project by the kind of paper they start their project on. Controlling their excitement is by far the most difficult part.
From the Students