Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Art with the Elderly + Complete the Picture

Every other week, a couple of the staff and I run an art activity with the seniors. I came across various ideas on the web that used either part of a photograph or a cut out image from a magazine (click link for an ex.). The participant completes the picture adding what they feel is missing. They may add a tail to a cat or they may give it wings. This is their choice.

There is a well know story about Maria Montessori visiting a school and observing children drawing a picture of a cow. She noted one young girl was coloring her cow purple. Maria approach the child and stated in a very respectful way that she was interested in why the girl had chosen to paint the cow purple. The girl answered in a very matter of fact way, "Because God forgot to make purple cows." And there it is in a nutshell...

For my prep work, I scoured magazines for images, cut a dozen or so out, cut off pieces of the images so that the seniors could reconstruct them as they artistically chose to and then glued the remaining pieces of the images to large sheets of white paper. Here are two examples:

I was excited about the project, but wanted to also include a simpler, introductory art activity so that the seniors had a good understanding of the concept of completing a picture or image. For the more advanced artists in our group, I often refer to introductory work as simply a warm up exercise such as athletes do before playing.

I returned to the web and found exactly what I wanted. Basic images of well known animals that required completion. Here is one example:

For these printables go here.

So here are the works of a few of the seniors. The first group is of the completed printables noted above:

I had to add a close-up of this remarkable piece:

Here are photos of several of the collage pieces done by the seniors, myself and another staff member. 

Art work by seniors:

The dog was finished by another staff member:

My elephant:

The rooster below is the art work of one of the seniors. I want to note the eggs below the rooster. The senior said to me when she saw me observing her drawing, "I know that roosters don't lay eggs. I'm not that feeble minded. But, I want my rooster to have eggs. This is my art and so I am going to give my rooster eggs." And so she did.

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