Techniques to Teach the Basic Elements of Painting!

Painting lessons for children and even for adults to learn the basics of how to begin painting. I have been teaching art for almost twenty years. I have learned the best ways to teach the basic elements of art through trial and error. Daycare workers, art teachers, parents, Sunday school teachers, summer camp workers can benefit from the secrets to my success that I also mentioned on

If at all possible it is better to paint outside! I have used drop clothes laid on the ground under their paintings. My favorite thing for them to paint on is a large piece of cardboard. The boards I used were the liners in blueprint paper. You could go to an architectural firm and ask them if they have large cardboard for your students to use. I never worried about the budget I was given as an art teacher because I would gather my own supplies by asking companies to donate to my art class. If you ask, you will be surprised by all the things you can use for an art class. Framing companies will give you the inside of matts. They save them for art teachers. They are wonderful boards to paint on. The only concern I have with the inside of matts is they are sharp from the bevel cut, so be very careful. Companies love to donate supplies to art teachers. Some will ask for a tax write off. I tell them the name of the school and my name to turn into their company for donating to painting or art classes. If you paint outside you will have to worry about the wind. You will need to have rocks placed on the corners or tape looped on the backside of the board or paper. If you use paper, use paper that is very thick. If it is a really windy day you may want to wait for a better day.

The next thing, of course, is your paint. Pick your paint wisely. I have had to clean areas with a pressure washer before to remove acrylic paint. I always remember what one of my painting teachers told me, “God, can’t get acrylic paint off of clothes. If I have a t-shirt on I really care about, I turn it inside out when I paint. I wear lots of black because I can cover any paint marks up with a sharpie permanent marker. The best paint to paint with children is tempera. Some of the pigments will stain clothing, so tell your students to wear clothes that can get stains on for the art class. If students did wear something nice and got stains on it, I told them that they just created an artist outfit they can wear every week. Make sure you tell parents in a letter that their children’s clothes may get messed up. This seems to be the biggest complaint any art teacher will get! If you use tempera paint, be real careful of the paint that you have to mix up yourself. Any kind of powder that is breathed in is very dangerous to your health. I don’t spend a lot on student paintbrushes, I just don’t like brushes that have hairs falling out, other than that, I usually buy the student grade paintbrush.

The basic elements you want to concentrate on are color, texture, line, shape, value, space, symmetry, and repetition. There are different elements depending on your source. I think these are the basic elements to teach young children. Teach these in order, focusing on one a week. Research, research, research! Study the one element each week. If you show the children an example, they will copy it. If you paint an example, they will copy it. Teach them copying in art is how you learn, but don’t let them copy from you. You can teach them art history in other classes. Don’t paint on their painting, don’t tell them what to paint, and don’t guess what they have painted. You don’t want to add any subjective ideas to their artwork. While you may think that is a beautiful painting of a giraffe if you tell the student that, it may crush them because they actually had painted their pet that they love very much. You have to be the most careful of how you foster young artists. Painting can be a wonderful thing for anyone to do, from the youngest to the oldest. You will be the person who opens the door for many lifelong artists! Paining lessons for children can be a great way to broaden children’s horizons!