Monday, May 30, 2016

Art Lesson with Kids: Unity and Variation in Painting Seashells

I've been thinking a lot about how the similarities in the things God has made help to make the world beautiful.  Diversity is an important element too, but without unifying elements, the world would be aesthetically jarring.  

The kids and I were looking at seashells the other day...noticing how pretty they look together.  We talked about the ways they are different, but also the things that they have in common that make them look like they belong together.


We talked about how God has made people to be creative, just like He is.  And when we create, we can learn to make good art by following some of the same principles.  So, for example, we can also strive for a pleasing balance of unity and variation.  

I wanted them to see this principle in action; so we tried a simple seashell painting project.  I gave each child a handful of shells and told them to paint them however they would like, but to follow 2 guidelines:

1. Create a common element.  Figure out some way to make all the shells the same.  Make sure it is something that is obvious when a person glances at the group of them.

2.  Completely cover the shells.  (in the end, they felt there should be some intentional exceptions to this rule, but I was glad we set it up as a general standard anyway)

It was neat to see the themes that each child chose, and how the theme really did help to make the group of shells beautiful together.

Maggie decided to put a big red dot in the middle of each shell.

 Grace painted all of hers with the same three colors.

Jack wanted all of his to look like water.  He said he was calling it, "The waters above, and the waters below."  Isn't that poetic?

I made seashell rainbows.

After the shells were dry, we decided to use them to make pencil holders.

We covered de-labeled tin cans with a thin layer of salt dough,

 pressed the shells firmly into the dough and baked for 3 hours at 200 degrees.








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