Thursday, December 20, 2012
Teaching the Art of Mandalas to Kids
One of the classes I teach in my studio is to 6-7 year olds. I love this class. Well, I have to admit, that I love all my classes. Each group is unique and has its own personality. I truly feel privileged that this is my job!!! People coming together every week, to create together and connect in my studio. It’s a beautiful thing.
Kids have a special way of seeing the world. Pablo Picasso said "It took me 4 years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child." This is because as we grow up we are influenced by society and life; and our insecurities and our life experiences influence our creativity. I think what Picasso meant when he said this was that it took him a lifetime of painting to get back to that feeling of painting like a child. You can be taught to paint (not all of us to the level of Raphael or Picasso! ), but to get back to that childlike excitement of painting, to experience art as a child, the feel of mixing colors and touching different mediums….that's what we need to get back to! I try to teach that to all my students. But for this class, I don’t need to! They still have it! And a lot of times I learn from them. I learn to see art and artists through their eyes. This week I decided to try to teach them about Mandalas. I wrote about Mandalas in my blog a few weeks ago and I have taught this to grown up students, but never to kids. It was an amazing experience and I wanted to share it with you.
I started the class talking about what a Mandala is and showed them images of different Mandalas from all over the world and different cultures. We talked about how a Mandala is a way for us to express ourselves in a special way and connect with ourselves and the world around us. I had them close their eyes and do a little meditation exercise. It was very cute to see their reactions to this. My 7 year old daughter is in this class and I have been doing meditation with her since she was 3 years old. She uses breathing techniques all the time to help herself get through hard situations. When she is really upset, she will go to a corner, close her eyes, and just concentrate on her breathing – in and out - it works every time! But, here she was the top giggler at the beginning! They were a bit self-conscious, but soon got into it. I had them focus on their breathing - in and out - and then told them to think of something they wish for, or a prayer or a thought for someone in their life. I told them to imagine this wish/prayer as a little light in their heart growing as they breathe in and out, growing and warming their body as it spreads through them and out around them to a circle surrounding them. I then told them to open their eyes and to draw a mandala starting in the middle of the page and like the light starting in their heart and growing out, to draw the Mandala starting in the center and growing out. I got the idea for this lesson from a website on Mandalas- http://illuminatedrose.com/mandala_kids.htm
The Mandalas that they drew were AMAZING!!! I put out on the table A LOT of different materials for them to experiment with and express themselves through. We had collage, paints, pastels, markers and different brushes and stamps, finger painters and combs to play with texture and let’s not forget the 6-7 year olds favorite- GLITTER!!!. They really got into the paints and the colors; experimenting with different textures. Since I got permission from their parents I would like to share their work with you. I hope you enjoy seeing what they did as much as I
enjoyed watching them create them!
After class, my daughter was helping me to clean up the studio and there was A LOT of paint left over and papers that had been used and discarded. So we decided to make use of it all, and used the leftover paint to turn all that paper into amazingly unique textured papers that we can now use for other projects! Boy, did we have fun doing that! Here is an example of some paper we made and my very creative daughter’s work of art- notice her eye showing through!
Happy creating to us all. And may we all be able to paint like children!