Each year for the last 4 years I've been teaching adults and teens with cognitive disabilities a six- week art program. Each week I come prepared to teach them a new art concept, technique, or learning about a specific artist. For the next two week I'll be taking a look back at some of my favorite lessons (that I've taken pictures of-- I didn't always bring my camera).
To get this art party started, I wanted to share with you first my favorite art lesson.
"Do you think it's too much to ask these participants to draw the Mona Lisa?"
"Do you think it'll be too hard for them?"
"Hmm, I'm still going to do it but I'll take it super slow and make sure they stay with me."
This is the conversation my husband and I had an hour before my Mona Lisa lesson.
For the last three weeks we had been learning about different artists and creating art in the style of the artists. I had decided for this week I wanted to teach the class about Leonardo Da Vinci. In my opinion, he is Utterly fascinating. I spent a lot of time in college reading books about him and learning about what an Amazing man he was. He was an absolute genius and a brilliant innovator, scientist, and artist.
I wanted to teach my class all about him and do a project in his art style. This seemed tricky and I spent a really long time looking for something that I could teach and we could do together. Eventually I decided I would get the class really nice pencils and paper and we would draw The Mona Lisa.
I started out by teaching them about the wonderful Leonardo by pointing to all his paintings which I had borrowed from the library and had all over the front of the room. One, which was of the Mona Lisa.
I asked the class, "Look around at these paintings. Does anyone know which artist we're going to be learning about today?"
"Jesus!" Yelled out one individual, pointing to the picture of The Last Supper.
Uh-oh, we're in trouble.
I then explained all about Leonardo and his influence on the art world. I then passed out items for us to study and practice drawing. That went okay. Then I geared them up for our big task.
"We're now going to draw the Mona Lisa" I told them, "And I want these to look really good. I don't want them to look scribbled and sloppy. I want someone to look at your picture and say, 'That's the Mona Lisa'."
Easy enough, right?
I told them they Must stay with me and pay attention to everything I was doing. I would draw a shape on my paper in the front and I told them to do the same on their papers
They did AMAZING!
I was So thrilled with the results! Every one tried really hard and had a great time. Again that night I learned another lesson.
Never underestimate someone's abilities.
I know they would have made Leonardo proud.