© 2010 Marla McLean

Indestructible Wonder

“If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life”

Rachel Carson

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“We have to let it go. It probably feels like it’s in jail.” David, age 5

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A few days ago, I had a group of Kindergarten children in the studio. We were discussing different ways to use color in our sketches. Since they had sketched magical creatures of the garden, we were discussing how to make colors “glow”.

Owen was particularly excited about the possibilities of line and color. He kept adding to his picture while narrating what the line or color represented. Suddenly he looked up an exclaimed.

“We’re writing stories by drawing a picture!”

I will follow Owen’s lead in this post and use pictures to tell some of the stories from the studio over the last 2 weeks:

PreK’s invented over 40 colors for the use of all the students at SWS

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With the the new paint colors, and photographs of school memories, the preK’s painted their first observational paintings.

When the anatomy of mark making meets paint- the wonder of watching unfolds…

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Melora

P1080790P1080804P1080830Dominic

Each child exhibited their visual thinking strategies. For some it was all about choosing just the right colors and enjoying the qualities of swirling the paints together on the paper.

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For other, some representational brush strokes to show a fish or a butterfly  or flower was pleasing.

P1080800George however, blew my mind. He methodically painted a solid black background, using brush strokes.

P1080834He then added the green lily pads in the foreground by using the the brush in a different way, as seen in the below photo.

P1080832He used another green to represent the lifted lily pad leaves, and finally added white petals of the lotus, with detailed yellow dots in the center. I just sat and watched from a chair with my mouth hanging open. Watching a young 4 year old deconstruct and then recreate an image is a rare thing. Creative thinking and the brain continues to be a complete wonder to me.

P1080843Fascinating…

and then from observing thinking to making visible the magic in the imagination-

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Christina

Christina

LauraLaura

CamilleCamille

Lilah'sWormWhile searching for gnomes and fairies, Lilah found a worm.

lookingAnd then there were some sightings of little creatures, for some.

maddie and emma

And then to the studio to sketch what might be living in and among the garden.

drawFloorLydiaLegs

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Slide4Slide1Slide2The following week, we looked critically at color.

How can you use color to make something “glow?”

We looked through books of illustrations, and the children returned to their sketchbooks to add color.

P1080823Finn

In the book, The One Hundred Languages of Children, there is an essay about the importance of the use of light and projection in Reggio Schools. The essay observes that many adults go through their day, not noticing or experiencing the light, shadow, transparency, translucence around them, and how it transforms and changes places and objects. It  states that this is quite a shame to be missing out on such an important element that is vital to our lives. The following story brings me much joy:

Slide1Slide2Slide3Slide4P1080821Every day. Indestructible Wonder.

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5 Comments

  1. Posted October 8, 2010 at 10:21 am | #

    What incredible acts of wonder are happening in your studio! I loved this post. I’d be really interested to hear more about the children painting from photos at the easel. How did that come about?

  2. Laura
    Posted October 8, 2010 at 11:14 am | #

    Wow, Marla. Thank you for giving us an eye into your world and sharing with us these important moments.

  3. Posted October 9, 2010 at 6:27 am | #

    That boy who painted the lilypads on black is amazing. I want to see what he does when he’s older, he definitely sees the world in his own way.

  4. Posted October 9, 2010 at 11:16 am | #

    Your posts are so rich and full, Marla. It seems like I always have to come back to read a second or third time before I can even think of something to say.

    I have to say, I was reading here with my mouth hanging open at George’s water lily painting. That is truly amazing.

    And Sam’s glowing color solution is genius.

    Thanks for sharing the inner workings of your art world. Truly inspirational.

  5. Danielle
    Posted October 31, 2010 at 10:18 pm | #

    You have inspired me! I will see where the question, “What if there were magical beings living in our (school) garden?” takes us…

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