Art class. Painting mandalas with kids. Dehradun, India

I often work with kids, every time I travel I try to give an art class. I have taught children in America, Russia, Japan and now I am in India! These kids are from the school, organized for poor families from slums of Dehradun (please read more in this blog post). Working with children is very different then teaching adults. There is always a freedom, there is never a limit, colors are often more vivid and shapes go crazy. No rules apply. And yet I need to try educating kids: help them with perspective, style, shape, shadows and so on.

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I have noticed a lot of patterns in India (read my blog about it). So for this particular class I decided to paint mandalas with children. Since our media was watercolor I had to explain how to use it first. Usually children of this age know what watercolor is, but for these kids, who don’t see much toys and art supplies, watercolor was a new thing. Then I started painting in front of them a pattern, that was centered and repeated. I was choosing different colors, showing how to make various strokes with a brush. We did not bring much watercolor with us, so kids had to share the colors (which was another part of the lesson, how to share). I was surprised that these rambunctious kids from poor streets of India would be so well behaved in my class. I could confidently say that they was one of the most focused group of children I ever worked with. Even few older kids from Woodstock has joined our class.

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One kid even started splashing with color on his painting. I really appreciated this, since splashing is one of my major painting techniques! And I did not show him how to do so, he just did it on his own.

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