I have a very traditional approach to art education. This approach focuses on a foundation in the elements and principles of design (line, color, shape, texture, ect.), as well as a heavy emphasis on drawing. Much like music, where mastered scales eventually lead to new songs and compositions, the ability to draw well and understand the elements equips the student with the ability to create their own artwork in the future. In exercising fundamentals during the elementary years, students are well prepared for middle school and high school art classes where they continue to build upon and explore these traditional methods.
Combined with the traditional focus, I strive to allow students to exercise their creativity and stretch their abilities—don’t worry, no paint throwing in here! However, we do strive to stay away from cookie-cutter projects, and challenge the students to draw, cut and paint on their own rather than from a stencil. For example: as an alternative to than having “step-by-step” instructions for drawing a bird, we look at pictures of birds and point out shapes and characteristics. The students then draw their own version, looking back to the picture to see how to progress. This builds the students confidence in their own drawing abilities, challenges their problem solving and teaches them how to really draw!
As a practicing art professional (currently running my own illustrative and design business), I have seen the benefits of this style of training first hand, and desire to give students the same opportunities.