March 23, 2010

Body Art

Last week's art group: body art. We started by reading I Ain't Gonna Paint No More (yes, I know it is grammatically incorrect and usually that drives me crazy in kids books, but it's hard to resist the vivid images and catchy text). Then we moved onto drawing self-portraits. Each child was given one very large piece of paper, crayola slick stix(really love these for drawing) and asked to draw themselves. It was fascinating to see the different stages of development in their drawings. I have always been intrigued by how children draw people and this article from the AAA Lab of Stanford is very helpful in looking at the stages that usually occur within children's drawings of people, especially that early stage of tadpole drawings (large head with arms and legs extending from the head, like this). I had always been curious about why/how this happens, but the AAA Lab of Stanford explanation makes sense:

This work examines a more perceptual explanation: when children look down at their bodies, they see their arms coming from their head. (Stretch your arms to the side and then look down.) Therefore, early on, children draw pictures combining their head and body as one component. Because children assimilate their environment to what they see and know about themselves, they will draw all humans and animals in this tadpole manner.

After completing their self-portraits, we pulled out a large roll of brown craft paper, traced each child, handed out brushes and paint, and encouraged them to paint their bodies (on paper...hoping we can do some really body painting once it gets a little warmer...any suggestions on best type of paint for actually body painting?). Once again, it was interesting to see how each child approached the task. I think the kids enjoyed having such a large "canvas" and the freedom and space to do whatever they wanted to with their bodies (the body on paper and their own bodies as they worked on the floor).

8 comments:

Di said...

These are so lovely! One of my abiding memories from Primary 1 in school (grade 1) was of drawing round the tallest boy in class so we could make a life size (ok child sized) Father Christmas. This reminds me of it so much!

boatbaby said...

Fascinating, fabulous, creative! Thank you for sharing this. I defintiely need to try this with my little guy. And your photos are beautiful! Thank you!

Laurie said...

Too cool...I remember doing that as a child, too! And thanks for the insight on the arms out of the head - I did stand up :)

likeschocolate said...

How fun for all these children to be able to come together each week and paint.

Juniper said...

Such a wonderful art project! Very interesting as well to see how different children perceive themselves and in what manner they choose to show it. I think I may have a 'dotter' among my lot. The article also sounds very interesting- look forward to reading it. the looking down aspect is very funny and true! Hope you are feeling better and that you enjoy the rest of the week.

Jocelyn said...

What great ideas; I was interested to read the pyschology behind "arms out of the head." I'd always wondered why developmental experts want to see how many parts (and how they're arranged) there are in a kid's body drawing.

For literal body painting, I wonder if those crayons and paints made for the bathtub (actually, to be used on the side of the tub...but they work on the body, too) would work.

Lindsay said...

we looooveee that book! we have an art group as well (you can check out some of our work at http://makebelieve-lindsay.blogspot.com), so it's great to "find" your blog (linked by artful parent)... wonderful project!

Cami said...

Love love love! My son's preschool did this once, and they all decorated each one together. Very fun.