The Elements of Art with Preschoolers: "The Line"!


Usually, Art teachers introduce the ELEMENTS OF ART with "THE LINE" and children take up a fat marker, or pencil, or crayon and go to it! However, young children have been working with the concept of line in the artistic sense long before they are able to masterfully grasp a design instrument and start drawing.

I will always remember my own children's first paintings created  with fat paint brushes on a big sheet of paper at the easel or on the table or even the floor..! Those wonderful whole body motions of the young child with a paint brush in each hand! Even before the paint brush, the child has probably had some experiences with finger painting (and I highly recommend "pudding finger painting" as a fun and safe "first art experience" for the little ones who put everything in the mouth) Here's a link from Sweet Treats & More for finger painting with pudding: Instant pudding finger painting.

I love to feature famous painters & artists when introducing the elements of art to young children, and one of my favorites is Joan Miro. (Barcelona, Spain 1893-1983)

Miro did everything from realistic scenes of people & places to abstract & expressionistic multi-media to whimsical & architectural sculpture. And, he was a friend of Picasso's!

Learn more about Joan Miro at this link:

                                        "Self Portrait" by Joan Miro (1919)

                                                "The Farm" by Joan Miro (1929)
  Here's a great example to illustrate the concept of LINE in the Elements of Art:
                                       "Blue" by Joan Miro (1969)

This one of Miro's shows his famous "star" motif that he used often in his playful style. Little children have fun looking for Miro's stars in his many "Line Paintings"!

                                          "The Gold of the Azure" by Joan Miro (1968)

                                    "Personnages" by Joan Miro
                                             Small Sculpture from the 1960-80's by Joan Miro

Large Sculpture from the 1960-80's by Joan Miro

The concept of "line" in art is evident from the beginning of our civilizations.

                                                       Prehistoric Cave Art found in India

                                            Ancient Egyptian Tomb art

I love the way Edgar Degas used "lines" in his wonderful pastels . Here's a great example:

                        "Dancer Adjusting Her Slipper" by Edgar Degas (1880-85)

I can't resist the imaginative "animated creatures" of Paul Klee with his whimsical use of fine lines in pen and ink.

                            "Twittering Machine" by Paul Klee (1922)

Picasso was a great admirer of children's art and he chose line drawing as a way of expressing the purity of art in many of his famous works. 

                                                   "Head of Woman" by Picasso (1905)

 One of my favorites for a Preschool Art lesson about the concept of line is from Joan Miro:

                                     "Figures & Dog In Front of the Sun"  by Joan Miro 1945

As we see, great artists & famous paintings obviously rely upon the first and basic element of art..."the line!"

Henri Matisse might be one of the all time greats at composition with lines since he was famous for his patterns made with straight, diagonal, zig-zag and curvilinear LINES! 

                                      "Purple Robe & Anemones by Henri Matisse (1937)

For the Montessori classroom, working with the "Line" element in Art is a hallmark found in many activities from cutting straight, zig-zag, and curvilinear lines with scissors to practicing intricate & beautiful line designs with art pencils and the Montessori Geometric Insets. Learn more by clicking here to see one of my past Blog posts: Elements of Art, Line, and a rationale.

Hope your little ones enjoy the study of LINE in their exploration of the Arts!

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