An author's step-by-step instruction for children to create masterpieces

March 03, 1994|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,Contributing Writer

In "Move Over, Picasso!" Ruth Aukerman explains very simply how a child can create his or her own work by studying the paintings of the great masters.

"My theory is that children choose what they want to learn from art: the color, the style, whatever," she said.

The book shows original paintings with a couple of paragraphs about the artists and their paintings or their styles.

The reader is asked several "Do you know?" questions relating to each painting and is urged to "Take a look" more closely at the works.

Then suggestions are given, such as picking flowers, for preparing to paint things related to the artwork.

Now ready to paint, the student is offered step-by-step instructions for painting the scene.

For example, one of Mrs. Aukerman's favorite lessons is on "Red and Yellow Poppies with a Blue Delphinium," by Emil Nolde. Mrs. Aukerman researched the three-paragraph text for accuracy with help from the National Gallery of Art.

She asks if the child knows the parts of a flower or the song, "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" Her ideas for studying the painting include picking out the most important flower in the picture, looking for differences among the kinds of flowers and imagining the flowers as people of different ages.

"I always have a connection to the world of the child, such as

building a Lego block city or collecting feathers, so they can feel the texture of something in the picture," Mrs. Aukerman said.

Before painting, she suggests that the child look at flowers in a garden or a vase, make a list of flowers he or she knows by name or cut out pictures of flowers.

She also lists the materials needed for a particular painting and offers ways of changing the painting to make it distinctly the child's own, such as painting the scene at a different time of day or adding characters or things such as insects with the flowers.

Finally, the student is given ideas on how to do a particular painting.

For flowers, Mrs. Aukerman encourages the children to have fun with "bleeding" colors in watercolors, temperas or water-based oils.

"The children respond to things in the painting, and you get these truly fantastic results," Mrs. Aukerman said.

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