‘Every child is an artist,’ said Picasso. At St Mary’s, we believe that each child has expressive capabilities and artistic potential that can be nurtured. Children are encouraged to notice details of colour, pattern, structure and design in their environment. As they begin to look intently and to use all their senses, they bring richer insights to their art making. They might also use their bodies in movement, listen to stories or translate music and sounds into paintings. Dressing up is a favourite activity and the girls take turns drawing or being the model. A variety of media are used during the year: tempera paint, oil pastels, wax resist, charcoal, papier-maché, clay, wire, collage or printing.
Children can often be quite harsh judges of their own attempts and may resort to the ‘safety’ of stereotypes, rather than taking the risks involved in looking carefully and solving the problems in their work. There are often happy surprises for children who initially lack confidence but who are willing to take risks and respond thoughtfully to what they are observing.
Our younger girls do not receive a mark in Art as we do not want children to categorise themselves negatively. In Grades 6 and 7 the girls are introduced to some Art theory and history, which is assessed. They also have a practical assessment at the end of the year.
Art making is an adventure, a process of discovery and creation. It requires problem solving, imagination, co-operation, perseverance and a willingness to go beyond one’s limits to encompass memory and emotion. The rewards are enormous.