draw what you see

drawing a pencil with a pencil...have YOU tried that???

is like
a line
walk..." (klee).

Art is how you feel, what you touch, what touches you.

colors, lines, shapes.

eyes, hands.

you are the art.

We offered the idea of Still Life art with our 4s and 5s. This process is something that works well after a length of time in your classroom (months even) where children have had extended choice time with art materials, exploring, inventing, using Stuff, using Stuff again and again, discovering a sense of being an artist.

The idea of Still Life can be really fun for children. We talked about how art is YOUR CHOICE and WHAT YOU SEE. We talked about how in Still Life artists often try to represent what something really looks like, exactly, yet  - ironically - the art work always depends on YOU, The Artist, and how YOU see something.

We talked about
  • details
  • looking again and again
  • color
  • shape
  • curves and line
  • size and spatial sense
  • going slow so your eye and your hand can work like a team !

In our First Work the children chose anything in the classroom for their Still Life drawing. This is a wonderful way of engaging children because - no surprise - they will be more connected to their work when they have choice and ownership. The choices of items themselves were a delight to see - who would have known that someone wanted to try to draw a cell phone? a dinosaur skeleton? blocks stacked just so? or a pair of Fiskar scissors?

**[my apologies for the less-than-fabulous photos as these are photos of photos...I think they still offer a strong sense of the quality of the children's efforts].

The second experience with Still Life was outside among our big trees and flowering hills of our school yard. The children used clipboards, chose whatever they wanted to draw, sat where they chose to sit to observe their "still life" and dove into their work.

Outside with clipboards...trees, flowers, drawing close-up and drawing far away...

The third experience with Still Life was with a classic vase of flowers. These were challenging and beautiful! We presented the group with the same item - the vase of flowers -  yet their different perspectives allowed each art work to be as though they had their own vase.

"Drawing is like taking a line for a walk..."(and who doesn't enjoy a lovely walk?)

Go. Take a walk with your children:
Draw what you see.


  1. Now I'm hankering for some drawing time. Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. @Laura - thanks :) hope you get some drawing time in!

  3. I love the children's perspective and interpretation. What zest they bring to taking that line for a walk!

  4. @the book chook - yes, the children's 2-D drawings were quite impressive! well done by them :)

  5. Wow! 4 and 5s drew these? That's amazing. I can still remember having to do a still life and hating it. (I was in 5th grade) and we had to do one of a huge display of teddy bears and another of my art teacher's violin. It was crazy. There was too much detail to attend to. I love how you let them choose their own objects first. And also how the objects were simple and clear directions were given.I'm sure you are helping to create kiddos who will love art! :)

  6. @Jackie - thanks for your comments! As adults, we all have memories of when we struggled in a childhood experience - and only now realize it could have been different if the teacher offered it differently :) Cheers to CHOICE!

  7. These still life experiences and your post on self portraits are really extraordinary. I've rarely challenged children to draw anything in particular. I can really see I'm missing the boat.

  8. @Tom - I have a feeling you don't miss many boats :) I love having children engage with art materials and real life objects (or their faces, or maps, or works of art) - the relationship created is often quite magical. Watercolor, charcoal, pencil, color or no color, so many choices for each child AND not following directions by me except to draw what they see. cheers.


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