"Look at that bird!" Jessie erupts. She points at the sky like it is a phenomenal movie screen and she is watching a part of her favorite movie.
I have been doing art classes outside with my elementary school students. It is going well. No floor to sweep and no tables to wipe off. I give the kids creative things to do in a grassy area with a tree, a picnic table and a garden. I let them explore. They make lines with water squirt bottles on the side walk. We do sand art and art with rocks and sticks.
Jessie was focused on the sky and nothing else. I watched the other kids look up with eyes of wonder.
They saw some other hawks. They stood there looking at the clouds and the blue of the sky.
"THIS is art," I told them. "It is by the eternally best artist. God. His art moves and changes. He makes the wind push the clouds around. The sun dissolves some of them. He allows shapes to form and we can use our imaginations and see things like dinosaurs and teddy bears."
It was a moment that I soaked up. Earlier, the second graders, had come outside. There were more clouds. It took a little longer for them to look up, for some reason. Is it because they are older and have started looking down. As they looked up, they, too were fascinated by the moving forms on the great movie-screen like sky. They saw so many things!
Nature is the best teacher of art. All I have to do is point out and most of the time, it don't even have to do that. Doing art in the context of the outdoors is a great experience.
"You can make art out of ANYTHING," one student said excitedly, as they went back inside.