Saturday, 24 February 2018

Collaborative Canvas ~ Exploring Creative Relationships

The atelier is a space that lives within each of us. As we go about our daily life, this space has the potential to communicate ideas, thoughts and dreams that otherwise might not be expressed. Supporting creative thinking and expression is key to unlocking the full potential that lives inside each one of us. 

Within the learning environment many opportunities are given to guide the creative spirit through materials, time and building of relationships. As children make meaning of the world around them the atelier supports their curiosity and wonder. As educators we engage the children to slow down, take notice and observe. This allows for deeper meaning to be made as we question and dialogue about what we notice. The creative cycle of notice, wonder, observe, dialogue and create is repeated over and over again until new connections and meaning emerge. Throughout the creative process in the atelier we share our journey visually with others and thus engaging them in the learning and building relationship with not only others but the creative materials held within this wondrous space. 

Our collaborative canvas invitation began with an offering of tempera paint to the children. The children covered the large canvas with broad areas of colour and began to paint flowers at the one end. We offered larger brushes to allow for these broader areas of colour. The brushes were both round ended and flat bristle brushes allowing for a variance in mark making with the paint. 

The following day the children were offered acrylic paint and smaller brushes. We discussed the shapes we observed on our canvas. The children were guided to use the small brushes to create details around these shapes. Lines, dots, and colour exploration were the focus of our collaborative painting. The children were very much engaged in the process and shared their ideas as they painted. The building of respect for the materials and each other was quite evident. Several children painted quietly completely at one with the creative process. 

It is important to note that the children have access to these creative materials daily and have had many experiences already with these art mediums. Each experience builds their relationship creatively and expressively. It is a joy to observe this and a privilege to guide as an educator. 

The third day of our collaborative canvas focused on using oil pastels to add another layer and dimension to our painting. I shared with the children how lighter colours next to darker colours provided high contrast and highlighted that area of the painting. 

With each layer that was applied to the canvas its story became richer and the relationship between the artists visible as their creative expression intermingled in an artistic dance on the canvas. 

Perhaps our canvas can become a metaphor for living. Each artist contributing their own uniqueness to inspire others in this collaborative canvas we call life. 

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