I was using chalk with a young friend this morning when we came to body tracing, that old favourite. It reminded me of a very simple activity I’ve done a few times with my classes, and when I checked back in my photo archives I found a good example. First we read I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! by Karen Beaumont, in which a boy paints every part of his body in. Then we use large paper and do tracings of each child’s body with pastel. The paper is not large enough for the whole body so the kids just pick which part they want to do – the head and shoulders, arms or legs. Then, we decorate. Sometimes the children look back at the book to get ideas for how they might want to proceed. This is really where reading the book pays off, because otherwise there is a tendency to just colour the body all one colour, or draw clothing, but when they take inspiration from the book the designs take off!
I generally do this activity starting with pastel, so they can do some more intricate designs and then pass out the paint for that large-scale, messy feeling that is in the book! Of course, the pastel resist the paint so in the end the artwork is quite stunning.
Gary came to play his trumpet for my “Colour of Music” art class last week. There was much excitement over the “special guest” and I loved seeing them discover the instrument. After the visit we made our own trumpets out of foam-core. As they drew we revisited what we had learned about the different parts of the trumpet, and how many valves it had and how it is essentially a long tube that has been curled up, and you can really see this in their drawings.
Gary’s trumpet is silver but I didn’t have any silver so we went with yellow (we had a book with a yellow trumpet in it, so they thought that was ok). After drawing the trumpets we made “fanfare flags” just to extend the activity a little. The trumpets were very popular and the kids spontaneously began marching about the room “playing” their trumpets. (And they would have kept going if I hadn’t had to stop them after a while!)
Recently I’ve been trying to acquire a habit of morning yoga. I’m getting there. I have only limited experience of yoga practice so I’m using a book for my routines. I suppose it’s more like a glorified stretching session, but I do try to incorporate breathing (hard not to!) and balancing mind and body. Today, as the beautiful fall sun spilled in the window, I found myself wishing I had a place to do yoga outside. For me this would mean a private place – I’m too self-conscious to be doing yoga anywhere I thought people could see me! But as I’m inside, I usually like to play a bit of music. I’m sure that strictly speaking you are supposed to practice in silence but for my purposes, I find that gentle relaxing music helps me in that it stops my mind from going on to other things. This morning I chose some Erik Satie, and found it perfect for relaxing, breathing and being in the moment. I’ve tried lots of other music, even some with soothing nature sounds, but this was by far the best. It was too tricky to get a photo of me doing yoga ( I’m fine with that!) so, in honour of Satie’s “Three Pieces in the Shape of a Pear” here is a little drawing I did a few years ago.