The Art Show Begins

Next week we begin in earnest to prepare for our annual Art Show for the entire community. In past years children have painted major works of art.  I am never surprised when they love a piece of art.  I am always surprised at the results, their masterpieces.  They are remarkable.  Always.

Starry Night by Liam, from Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night

The Girl in the Garden by Colin, from Claude Monet’s Gladioli

Replicating the art of Vassily Kandinsky

How can this be, with preschoolers?  How can a four-year-old see, understand, and have the passion to create?

It begins with looking at art, really studying and talking about what they see.  I ask so many questions.  We just look and talk, together.  Sometimes I say, “Oh, my!” Or “Wow!” and stop.  Children jump at the chance to say something.  That is when they begin to see.  Children have open minds; they have not been encumbered with the ideas of others.  Their minds are sponges and their hearts are open.  Therefore, art is exciting.  It creates an “I can” attitude.  Nothing is impossible.  Or should I say anything is possible.

When I show children art, I often stop to say, “Miles, you could paint that!”  As I do this with art, children cross the bridge from liking to I can.  The next step is to allow them to paint anything they want, give them real paints and tools, and let them work on their painting over and over again.  After all, a masterpiece was not made in a day.

When a child feels satisfied that their art is complete, it is framed in a mat and unveiled.  That is when a child names their masterpiece.  Giving a title validates how important their work is.  This is the grand finale before the art is displayed.

I can’t wait to begin next week and see what children create.


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty-five years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I was a live guest on the Kelly Clarkson Show. I am highlighted in the seventh edition of Jim Trelease's million-copy bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital, and the Massachusetts State House in Boston.
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42 Responses to The Art Show Begins

  1. Wow. Those are so amazing! What creativity, Jennie. I love the way they created their own versions of those paintings and how their choices worked together is such new ways. They CAN paint! I love your class 🙂

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Diana. I am so excited to see what happens over the next few weeks. Little moments become big ones. I never know what will happen, but as long as I introduce art with excitement, the world opens. Oh, I haven’t posted yet about introducing music to inspire their art. You will be amazed. It starts with a record player….

      • Sue Ranscht says:

        Do any of the children seem to think they CAN’T paint before you suggest they can paint their own versions of famous art? Or has it just never entered their minds that they could? Once you present them with a piece of art like Van Gogh’s Starry Night, do you ever find some who are frustrated that they can’t copy it precisely? Or do they begin with the intention to create their own version? Do any of them become impatient when their budding hand/eye coordination prevents them from making their work look exactly the way they want it to? The artwork you’ve shown us is joyful and unexpectedly detailed. I’m eager to see their music-inspired creations! What kind of questions do they ask about the record player?

      • Jennie says:

        No, not at all. They typically want to paint their own thing, yet some children want to replicate a piece of art. It’s all in how you approach it with children. Yesterday I paused to look at Large Blue Horses by Fran’s Marc. I said, “Kate, look at this. You could do this!” She was stunned, then really thought about it. Hunter is convinced he can do this. Today I did the same thing with Sunflowers by van Gogh.

      • Sue Ranscht says:

        I think that must be an important part of making art a part of your life instead of viewing it as peripheral or Other — developing it as an interactive, creative aspect of your Self by beginning to consider it as something you can do. Even as a kid, I knew some who had an irresistible drive to make art and more who needed a push. You know how to deliver an effective push. 😉

      • Jennie says:

        Thanks, Sue. An effective push, indeed. Your thoughts and point of view are spot on.

      • Jennie says:

        I will be writing about the music component this weekend. Can’t wait!

      • Sue Ranscht says:

        I’m looking forward to reading it, Jennie!

  2. Di says:

    Hello Jennie… nothing more to say except…
    The children are so fortunate to have you as their teacher…🦋💕

  3. Fabulous art from fabulously creative and joyful children. I hope we will see more, please Jennie!

  4. Darlene says:

    This is amazing. Tapping into the creativeness of children is a gift to the world.

  5. Wow, these are wonderful interpretations Jennie, such find young budding artists in the making, and its so good to see this type of encouragement… Wonderful to see.. 🙂 xxxx

  6. Give children the right environment and they can create wonders. Such an enriching post, Jennie! My nephew is called Miles and it’s his birthday today. 🙂

  7. beetleypete says:

    Great work from those youngsters indeed. They have really captured the essence of the work that was used as inspiration.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  8. Dan Antion says:

    I remember art shows like this when our daughter was little and throughout school. She went on to get her BFA. Keep encouraging the dreams.

    • Jennie says:

      I will, Dan. Thank you for telling me about your daughter. There’s the proof.

      • Dan Antion says:

        The best was when she was in high school. The art teacher always put up a show in the lobby of the auditorium the nights of the class play. The principal found us in the audience and complimented Faith’s work. Then we watched as she found Faith (sitting with friends) and complimented her. That woman retired. The next principal was an idiot. We remember both, but the first one made a difference.

      • Jennie says:

        Your story is a perfect example of how a teacher can make a difference, and vice versa. Thank you for sharing that. Have you or Faith ever tried to contact her to say thank you after all these years? I did that once with a middle school teacher who had a profound influence on our son. I’m so glad I did.

      • Dan Antion says:

        I lost track of her as she moved around a lot after leaving our school system. Maybe I’ll make an effort to find her.

      • Jennie says:

        It just might mean the world to her. Then you would be the one to make a difference. Enjoy your weekend!

  9. WoW! These are amazing! All kids are artists if we let them be and provide them with the chance to create whatever they like. Picasso said something similar when he said that an artist needs to stay a child at heart, else he would loose that wonderful open mind that you also mentioned 🙂 Can´t wait to see more of this! Thank you for sharing, Jennie! 🙂

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Sarah. You are so right about children and art. I love Picasso’s art quotes, too. I’ll be posting more as we begin our masterpieces!

  10. I do wish there was a LOVE button on WP. Like is just not getting there. I can’t tell you how many lives would have been different if only one person has said an encouraging word. You provide that word for your students. Now I think I need to go to the art museum and look at things a little differently. 🙂

  11. sjhigbee says:

    It’s amazing what children can achieve when they believe in themselves. I always think it so sad when they suddenly get to a stage when they suddenly feel they can’t – and that creativity can suddenly flicker out. How lovely to see your care and skill in nurturing it:).

    • Jennie says:

      You are so right; children an achieve when given the chance and encouragement. Then, they can believe in themselves and be creative. Many thanks!

  12. melissaguy says:

    Great art work, love seeing imagination through a child’s eyes, when you think they don’t understand what is happening they surprise you in so many ways, in your classroom its art, in mine its music. Love your post

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Melissa. You are so right. Stayed tuned next week as I introduce real music on a record player to inspire their painting. Music is as important as art. 🙂

  13. reocochran says:

    It is something I loved about last year’s posts, almost my top favorite one, Jennie! I liked the way you allow the kids to express themselves. You are an awesome teacher, like a coordinator and motivator! 😀

    • Jennie says:

      You are so kind, Robin! We are two peas, as this is a favorite of mine, too. I need to write about what happened just today, how I set the stage…it was incredible. On my list!

  14. Gorgeous art, so glad the children are free to create and not forced to all make the exact same craft project.

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