The Art Show – Part 2

In Part 1 children were introduced to real artist tools, and also to music played with record albums on a record player.  Music inspires art.  It goes into your ears, then your brain and your heart.  Then it shoots out your fingers like magic to help you paint.

Part 2
We started with fun painting.  Since we’re learning about Italy, we decided to paint with spaghetti.  We dipped cooked pasta into paint and then dropped it from the loft onto paper.  It was messy, fun, and very creative.  Children returned to their painting to add a single spaghetti noodle dipped in black paint as a highlight.

In this way, children learned that an important work of art isn’t created in a day.  Artists return to their painting over and over again until they are satisfied.  From this point forward, all the art children painted was open ended; they could work on a painting as many times as they needed to get it ‘just right’.

Every day we put a record album on the record player, either Vivaldi or Beethoven, and painted.  We made different types of art, and children could choose what they wanted to do.  Some children decided to paint with thick gold paint and add jewels to resemble Early Renaissance art.

Some children were fascinated with Venice.  They used a collection of items to create the bridges that cross the canal.  Sparkly blue scrapbook paper, painting with a loofa, craft sticks, and real stones made some great art.  Other children were fascinated with actual masterpieces and wanted to recreate the art.  It is amazing what happens after a child is empowered with ‘I can’.  The children’s paintings are remarkably close to the original!

Large Blue Horses, By Franz Marc

Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog,
by Caspar David Friedrich

And of course, some children wanted to paint the Mona Lisa, after we really studied her and wrote what we saw.  Children often see more than adults do.  The background in her painting seemed to be what interested children the most.  Have you ever looked at it carefully?

Mona Lisa
~Tell Me a Story~
There are trees.
There’s a river.
Beautiful sky.
There’s a castle.
Her neck is white.
I like her.
She’s feeling happy.
There’s sand along the road, maybe a beach.
The water goes from one side to the other.
She might be a mermaid that turned into a human.
Is she smiling? Yes (10)  N0 (4)

Since this was portrait painting, children wanted to paint the Mona Lisa… but they really wanted to paint Gloria.  We called this the Mona Gloria.

The most popular paintings were straight from the heart; letting that music shoot out your fingers like magic so you can paint.  Colors and shapes that have abandon.  Feel good paintings.

There is one last thing that makes a painting a masterpiece – a title.  Every important work of art has a name.  Children certainly know Starry Night.  So, when all the paintings were finished, each child gave their masterpiece a name.  There is ‘A Busy Scene’ (above), ‘Charlotte’, ‘Water’, ‘Blue Beads’, ‘The Bridge of the Water’ and so on.  Icing on the cake.

We had a Zoom with all of our families to show them our masterpieces.  It was wonderful!  Children beamed and talked about their art.  Families were thrilled.  My co-teacher and I hang the Art Show this weekend.  Stay tuned for the Part 3 finale.


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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88 Responses to The Art Show – Part 2

  1. Norah says:

    I love the way you encourage children’s creativity, Jennie, and show such respect for their works of art. I think Mona Gloria must be my favourite.

  2. beetleypete says:

    ‘A mermaid turned into a human’. Fabulous imagination! I wish I had thought of that!
    And ‘The Mona Gloria’ tops Leonardo for me! 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • Jennie says:

      It was Eddie who said that, and he was the one who painted Large Blue Horses. Yes, such an imagination! I’m so glad you liked ‘The Mona Gloria’, Pete. 🙂

  3. Annika Perry says:

    Yeah! What amazing and gifted young artists! Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog is one of my favourite painting and the child one here is wonderful, and wow, the renaissance one is stunning. The energy in the classroom must be amazing – a high of joy and creativity! As for spaghetti art – can I return to school please and have an excuse to try this?!😀😀

    • Jennie says:

      What a joy it was to read your comments! Thank you, Annika. Children amaze me year after year with their talent and creativity. I wish you had been sitting with me when Connor painted Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog. And the spaghetti art was a blast. James is one of our youngest and littlest, so his perspective to drop that spaghetti from the loft was something else. I would love for you to be in school and do this. 🙂

  4. Ritu says:

    This is brilliant. I love what you did there!

  5. It might interest the children to know that I attended a Zoom artist’s salon last week and the featured artist uses the same process you describe to create her abstracts:

    “In this way, children learned that an important work of art isn’t created in a day. Artists return to their painting over and over again until they are satisfied. From this point forward, all the art children painted was open ended; they could work on a painting as many times as they needed to get it ‘just right’.

    Every day we put a record album on the record player, either Vivaldi or Beethoven, and painted.”

    She also dances when she paints!

  6. quiall says:

    They are spark as well and truly been lit! Well done everyone!

  7. How wonderfully fun and innovative!

  8. Alice Collins says:

    Painting with spaghetti! Brilliant! Jen you make everything a creative adventure. Those lucky students – oops – artists! Can’t wait for the show…

  9. delphini510 says:

    Jennie, I would so have enjoyed being a pupil in that class. It is wonderful how the children respond to the ideas you gently plant in their fertile minds.the results speak for themselves.
    Fantastic colours and interpretations. I also enjoy the story about Mona Lisa.


  10. Darlene says:

    This makes my heart happy to read.

  11. Yessssss!
    I’m also thrilled Gloria is learning how to sit as a model for your art students to incorporate into their work – Viva Mona Gloria!

  12. Don Ostertag says:

    What fun you have, Jeannie. Love Mona Gloria

  13. Orvillewrong says:

    All wonderful efforts, your pupils should feel justly proud!

  14. I love the way this is unfolding, Jennie. Thank you for sharing this project with us.

  15. Wonderful, Jennie. And I love Mona Gloria.

  16. ok. how fun is painting with spaghetti? did any of the students experiment with painting with the uncooked spaghetti? that would have given a different texture and motion to the painting too. I love the freedom they developed in their painting choices

    • Jennie says:

      No, they didn’t paint with uncooked spaghetti. They did use uncooked pasta to glue onto the map of Italy. Thank you, Lori. That freedom certainly added to their excitement and creativity.

  17. Amazing art and a Zoom show too! ❤ You are all absolutely wonderful! Hugs and Hoorays all around.

  18. Dan Antion says:

    What a wonderful experience, Jennie. I love that you shared this with the parents.

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Dan. The parents were thrilled! Each child came up to the screen with their art work and talked about it. This year with Covid, when families cannot be in the classroom, made the Zoom very special. In past years we have walked with the children to see the Art Show, but we cannot go into a public space this year. Hopefully parents will visit with their child.

  19. petespringerauthor says:

    Outstanding ideas. I’ve never heard of painting with spaghetti noodles. I’ll bet the kids got a kick out of that. Mona Gloria—-brilliant! What does her smile suggest behind her mask? I’ll bet the parents loved to be included too. Excellent all-around! Looking forward to part 3.

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Pete! Dropping the noodles from the loft is really fun, albeit very messy. And Gloria was perfect as Mona Gloria. Wait till you see the painting of her smile.🙂 I’m so glad we did the Zoom for parents. They loved it! Every parent was there, and children were excited to show off their masterpieces. We hang the show tomorrow!

  20. This is amazing Jennie!

  21. TanGental says:

    Goodness how this takes me back to my family kitchen and mum clearing the decks for my brother and me. We used the back of old wallpaper and made our own Bayeaux tapestry, because my brother had become fascinated by William’s invasion of England in 1066. Thank you for triggering that memory from circa 1964!

  22. I have never painted with Spaghetti!! That’s brilliant and sounds like fun. The children’s artwork is wonderful. I love Mona Gloria!! 💕
    I used to play Mozart while my children were doing their homework to help relax them and open the creative side of their minds it works.

    • Jennie says:

      Spaghetti painting really is fun! And Gloria was thrilled to be Mona Gloria. 🙂 I’m glad to hear you played Mozart when your kids did homework. Very inspiring. May I make another suggestion (not for inspiration) now that you have grandchildren in the same age? Soft jazz has been proven to give children a soothing and happy background. Every morning when the children arrive at school I have Frank Sinatra playing in the background. It’s wonderful. Music is magic so in many different ways!! Thanks so much, Deborah.

  23. I can honestly say without fail, Jennie that I could not ever have made art so beautiful as your pre-schoolers! Those are amazing. Art was never on our curriculum. I’m so glad to see it’s at the top of yours. Just so much hope for the future here.

    • Jennie says:

      To this day, I could never make art like preschoolers either. I remember being struck by what Picasso said, that it took him a lifetime to paint like a child. Isn’t that something? Art is so controlled at elementary school. For preschoolers, they can paint at school, but there isn’t encouragement, and I doubt they ever see major works of art. As much as I love introducing art to children, books and reading aloud will always be my #1. Thanks so much, Marlene! I do think there is hope for the future. 🙂

  24. This is such terrific good fun, Jennie. I have never tried painting with cook pasta only with the hard one. What a great idea.

  25. frenchc1955 says:

    Hi Jennie, this is simply wonderful! Thank you so much!

  26. frenchc1955 says:

    Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
    Here is part 2 is the wonderful series on art and music by the extraordinary teacher, Jennie.

  27. srbottch says:

    I like the part about returning to your work until you know it’s done. Returning and returning, that’s the theme of my writing. Thanks for enlightening me, Jennie.

    • Jennie says:

      When I first started to do an Art Show with children, it made perfect sense to give them time to finish, and sometimes that took days. I think you’re right that it works for writing, too. I’m glad you felt enlightened. 🙂

  28. Art is always multi-dimensional — both in concept and in rendition. What a wonderful way to show that relationship between idea, prototype, and instrument of creation!

  29. Wow! Thats great, and Gloria is also part of it.

  30. Sara says:

    This is wonderful! 💕

  31. Pingback: The Art Show – Part 2 – eat food drink and pastries

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  33. Akriti Jain says:

    The paintings are adorable Jennie 💙 If you don’t mind me asking, what is the age group of these children? I love the way they are being inspired by creativity… this is going to stay with them forever 😇 Also, their observations in the Mona lisa painting really surprised me. We can really learn a lot from kids!

  34. Monica Singh says:

    This is a great idea to get kids inspired and occupied. Also, a good tradition to put on some music, paint, and get messy!

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