F.E. Bellows Elementary School fifth-graders in Sara McElroy’s Seekers and Solvers STEAM workshop have been exploring various elements of the artistic process. They recently completed original tape-resistant paintings to express their creativity and understanding of the concepts.
Drawing from their own experiences and discussions about an artist’s influences, the students used adhesive tape and watercolor paint to create their images, which varied from abstract to realistic portraits.
Several students used emboldened text that was particularly meaningful to them to share inspirational messages, such as “dream big.” Throughout the process, the fifth-graders were able to self-reflect and uncover what inspires them through the power of the arts.
“As a result, the students shared a little piece of themselves and their experience, while acquiring many skills,” McElroy said. “They learned how to be mindful, maintain focus, persevere, problem-solve effectively and express themselves using nonverbal communication skills. I find that art helps build confidence, as well.”
Willow Edwards, a fifth-grader who incorporated bright colors in her painting to evoke happiness, said she enjoyed working on her project.
“I really like to express the creativity, and it’s fun,” Edwards said. “One of my favorite things to live by is ‘Creativity takes courage.’ It’s [a quote] by Henry Matisse. He is one of my big influencers, and I really like his artwork.”
Fellow fifth-grader Samina Quli, who used clear tape to outline a dragon against a green background, said she wanted to inspire others to use their imagination when looking at her painting.
“I’ve always liked drawing, especially dragons,” she said. “I had this idea of making a dragon that’s almost invisible to the world, but near color it shows. I’m making the outline of it, so you have to use your imagination to see what it is.”
The students’ paintings will be displayed in the classroom, photographed for their digital portfolios and eventually sent home for them to keep somewhere special.