Alameda Art Docent Interview: Jane Grimaldi

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Jane Grimaldi, Art Docent and Lum Art Docent Coordinator
Hobbies: gardening, reading, and making art.
Children attend:  Lum Elementary (Gr K & 3) and Wood Middle School (Gr 6).

I’ve been an Art Docent for Seven Years for Grades K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
I’m interested in mentoring new Art Docents
Thegrimaldis (AT) earthlink (DOT) net

Outdoor Watercolors (click here to see the gallery)

Landscape painting, composition, and watercolor techniques

Lum School, Grade 3
Inspired by:
View of Toledo by El Greco
La Grande Jatte by Seurat
Tulips in Holland by Monet


How did you you teach this project?

I took the kids outside to the school garden with their paper and watercolors.

What was your step by step process?
After looking at and talking about the reproductions provided by the lesson, I also showed them some contemporary landscape painters. Then I passed around some real leaves and plant pieces from the garden and asked them to tell me what colors they saw (not just green!). I gave a brief demo of how to sketch and how to use the watercolors. Then each child chose a view of the garden, lightly sketched their composition, and got to painting.

What did you learn?
There are always a few kids afraid to put paint on the paper.

How did the children respond? What do you hope they learned?
The kids were so great! Some of them created these amazing, deep spaces with vast sky and some zeroed in on these interesting small areas (ie where the sidewalk met the grass). The most wonderful part was the fearlessness with which they looked at color: They found all the colors within the grass or concrete or sky. They layered on color with watercolor washes, and created these amazing, inventive paintings. They learned to really look at what they were painting.

What inspires or inspired you?
The weather and sky were inspiring. It was when we were having storm after storm, we had break in the rain, but the sky was turbulent and the plants were fresh and wet. Everything just looked so dramatic and beautiful: The kids were inspired and that inspires me.

What about being an Art Docent brings you joy?

When I’ve succeeded in teaching the kids that their art is valuable, that their art doesn’t need to look like anyone else’s art, and that I remember and like what they’ve made. When I see that self-esteem rising!

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