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February 07, 2018
This week's project is inspired by a mantra that I have been saying to my elementary students more and more in art class.
Progress, not Perfection
The younger students are still filled with the wonders of being creative and don't get hung up on perfection. They are excited to try new things and love their results no matter what. I have noticed that starting in 3rd and 4th grade the doubts start creeping in and they are more and more unwilling to take risks and do something they don't already know how to do. There is much discussion on having a mindset that allows them to grow and that making mistakes is part of that growth. I try to make my classroom a space where they don't feel like I am constantly judging or comparing them to their classmates. I found myself repeating "Progress, not Perfection" over and over throughout the day and found most students began to relax and feel proud of the work they are doing right now.
How true this is for all of us. The act of creation does come with feelings of vulnerability and when we start to compare our NOW with others' NOW it can be daunting. When my students see my project examples they proclaim that they want their art to have that same quality. I remind them that I have been creating for over 30 years and if they put the time in to work on their craft they will improve but they do not need to be perfect now. I want them to try their best and make it their goal to have each project improve in some way from the previous one.
I wanted to make this mantra into a permanent art piece to hang in my classroom so my students (and myself!) can be reminded that progress is the goal right now, not perfection.
I found a canvas in my studio that had a start of a background made from various printed papers. I don't care too much for the prints now but the subtle texture from the papers will be a nice foundation.
While that dried I pulled out my collection of chipboard letters (from my scrapbookin' days!) and spelled out my mantra. When the molding paste was dry I used regular gel matte medium to glue the letters in place in the center-ish of my canvas. I carefully flipped my canvas face down on my non-stick craft mat and placed heavy beanbags in the center and edges of the canvas to make sure the surface was flat to the table to as the gel medium dries everything stays flat.
When I was sure everything was dry it was time to give the entire surface a coat of paint and I chose Night from Dina Wakley Media. Again, wait for paint to dry. I then used a piece of sandpaper (a fine-ish grit) to sand off the paint from the surface of the letters and some from the perimeter of the canvas where I put the modeling paste with the stencils. This step really helps the raised surfaces stand out from the background.
After brushing off the dust from the sanding I used Ocean and Evergreen paints to give some color to the canvas but not the lettering. As a finishing touch I painted the outside edges of the canvas red.
Ta-Da! I love the way it turned out and look forward to displaying it in my classroom.
Have a creative week!
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