Friday, August 28, 2009

Eric Carle and his Caterpillar Share a Birthday

My family and I visited the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts this summer. In the main hall are four large sheets of Tyvec stretched on frames and painted by Carle. Beside each is a description of how they were painted, laid out on the floor using a variety of materials including brooms and carpet squares to brush and stamp designs. Viewers are encouraged to try to find places where each tool was used. The fields of color are very vibrant, Carle is an artist who clearly enjoys playing with his materials and with color. In an interview excerpt, below, he advocates for giving children opportunities to make choices in their work and to play with color, texture and materials.

Eric Carle is celebrating the 40th anniversary of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and his 80th birthday. This excerpt comes from an inteview posted on the National Education Association (NEA) website.

If you were an art teacher, what would your class look like?
"When I was an art student, we painted colorful paints, all kinds of colors on sheets of paper, and that way we accumulated a nice collection of color. Then we tore out shapes, cut out shapes, made collages. It's not so important that right away you go ahead and do houses and animals. The children could make birds or elephants, if they like, but I'm not saying to do anything. If you just do abstract shapes and squares and you play with them, it would be a wonderful thing.

Some schools I've been to, they collect all kinds of discarded things -- wools and papers and sticks and stones. They make collages out of that and I think that's wonderful, rather than sitting a child down and saying, "Now draw a tree!" Maybe the child is not in the mood to draw a tree!"

1 comment:

  1. I really like this post. Especially when he talks about "Now draw a tree! Maybe the child is not in the mood to draw a tree!" Sometimes I think we create a goal rather than allowing the student to have control over his artistic direction. I think he showed how important tools not expectations were.