Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Art of Learning

On Saturdays, it's my job to teach my 11-year old son, because my husband does it all week.  I teach Language Arts and Art.  Language Arts is fine - I'm pretty comfortable with that - but Art is another issue.  I am creative, but not artistic.  I can craft, but don't make me draw a picture.  There is a lot of picture drawing involved in this class.  There are no patterns involved.

As part of this teaching gig, I'n learning about elements of art.  Line, color, shape, texture, are part of my vocabulary now, but only to the extent of appreciation.  Today we were learning about balance.  The easy type of balance is "formal."  It's the easiest to understand because it's simple symmetry.  We also learned about radial balance, in which items "radiate" from a single point, frequently unseen.  The best example I can give is a fan.  Finally, the last form of balance we learned about was "informal" or asymmetrical balance.  That one was the most interesting, but also the most difficult to understand.

As part of the lesson, Christian and I had to walk around the house looking for examples of each type of balance so he can sketch them.  Here's his example of formal balance (symmetry):

What I realized is that there is a natural sense of balance in all kinds of things.  I didn't realize that what I find myself doing when I take pictures is trying to achieve a type of balance, especially asymmetrical balance.  (Photography is the closest I get to being an artist, and I'm hardly a good photographer.)  But, I will say that learning some of these elements of art might make me a better photographer, so at least my scrapbooks (if I ever make them), will be more interesting.

One of the best things about working with my son is that I get to channel my inner teacher.  I've taught a bit, mostly informally.  I really like it.  If I weren't a lawyer, I would like to be a teacher.  But doing this one-on-one with my son is a great opportunity to connect with him on a totally new level.  It's awesome to see the lightbulb go on when he grasps a new concept.  So, with something like art, we're learning together.  Cool.