Friday, April 01, 2016

Sharing Pastels with Children

'The Camping Spot'          12x18       pastel        ©Karen Margulis
available $150
I don't know what I was thinking. I agreed to share pastels at a local elementary school for Art Day. I started to get nervous as the day drew close. Would the children listen to me? Would I hold their attention for 40 minutes? How could I introduce pastels so that they would have a great experience?

It turned out that I didn't need to worry at all. Pastels were a hit with the groups of 4th graders. I hope I have some new converts. I had at least 2 children ask where they could buy pastels. And one little boy told me he painted the best artwork of his life! Now that is gratifying.

I began the presentation talking about pastels and how they are made and how they are the same as other paint but work a bit differently. I had them participate in the demo by suggesting things I could put in my painting to make it more interesting. I used the comparison to baking and decorating a cupcake. They helped suggest the 'sprinkles'  They had some fun ideas. I liked this one with the campfire and a bear!

The demo before I reworked it

So I had a great morning and painted 4 fun demos. When I got home I decided that I would rework one of the demos....just as a personal challenge. (and I didn't really need a campfire painting!)

I brushed out and redid the shapes
 I brushed off some of the pastel and sprayed the paper so I could rework the shapes. I decided to make the scene into a marsh and creek.  It was fun to use the demo as the start to another landscape. I may rework the other demos!  As my granddaughter Greta says "That was Fun!"

Matisse the Mouse was my pastel mascot today 

6 comments:

Susan Herbst said...

So many questions! This sounds like fun! Did you have them using "good" pastels? The student grade is so disappointing. On what paper? So often pastels and kids get to be a smeary mess with more color on them than stays on the paper.

Karen said...

I gave them a container of 5 real pastels and a small piece of sanded paper. When they were finished I put each painting in a clear bag. We had wipes on hand and it was surprisingly mess free! Most of them really thought about what they wanted to paint!

Joey J said...

Yes it went well for you. I did a demo in a elementary class and the little buggers had the stuff rubbed on everything, faces, clothes and walls. One of the little vermin had a stick of hard pastels in his mouth pretending it was cigarette. You got lucky!

Jo Castillo said...

Ha! Sounds like a fun time. Good for you.

Susan Herbst said...

LOL Joey J - That's sort of what I was thinking. I've seen them covered in it. Ive had to scrub them down.

Jan J said...

Your success came in laying the groundwork ahead of time, not telling them they were messy, involving them from the beginning, and allowing them to be free to do their own painting in the end. I used to teach elementary and if you tell them 'not to' in the beginning you can be sure they will do it just to test you. If that happens at any point you continue to talk, quietly walk over to that student, and remove the pastels without saying a word and continue on. After awhile that student will be ready to work appropriately, and any other student who sees what happened won't test you. I love that you went into a primary school and introduced them to a medium they probably would not come in contact with till late in school life if at all.