Alex liked his painting of “The Scream.” He called it “The Yeller Who Was Lost”, because he couldn’t remember scream, and he knew the painting had been lost. Actually, Alex liked the original art by Edvard Munch far more than what he had painted.
I knew it. While he patiently and passionately worked with small brushes and watercolors from a tube, they weren’t the right tools for what he wanted to paint. Last week I saw Alex using markers and making orange swirls across the top of the page. That was a red flag- he still needed to paint this again, his way.
Today I gave Alex big paper, and the right paints and brushes. He was thrilled! I also introduced Mozart at Morning Meeting on the record player. As I played the album, I slowly panned pictures of art for the children. No words. Just listening to music and looking at art. You could have heard a pin drop. The music played the entire morning as children listened and painted their hearts out.
Alex was focused as he started. Very focused. Teachers and children tippy-toed as they walked by. Everybody left him alone.
It was almost a relief. Alex could finally paint his way, what he wanted to paint. And, he did. At one point he told me he wanted to paint the whole paper. I was being the messenger of washed brushes and fresh paint. I didn’t say a word.
Yes, he did. He filled the paper. Alex spent a good thirty minutes carefully looking at “The Scream” as he painted, and then painting it his way. Look at the satisfaction on his face. And, look at his masterpiece!
Teach children by giving them the tools, then stepping back. All they need is encouragement. Don’t get in the way.