From the art room...

Autumn Leaves…

Somehow in the flurry of back-to-school the season has definitely changed. I’m testing out a new route to work this year that takes me through a kilometre or two of two-story trees; watching the leaves change colour is a wonderful way to start each day…

Fall in all its variation has enough drama to distract me from my own daily.

No matter what is happening in the natural world, however, I never really feel like fall has arrived until the school bulletin boards fill up with autumn coloured leafy paintings… This year some of the most beautiful images are fluttering through our school halls.

These first few images are “in process” from a recent afternoon I was privileged to spend with fifty first graders.  In a mad moment I thought it would be fun to paint. Turns out it was fun. And very, very messy.

We started out with muffin tins full of paint, clothes pins, sponges and pastels.

Then, we painted.

And painted… and painted!


I was inspired by how excited the children were about paint – it was hard to get pictures because they never stopped moving!  In some cases we had to physically remove paint soaked papers in order to preserve them. Completely messy, completely worth it.


It’s a little bit sad to imagine that most children never get the chance to do crazy things like paint all afternoon with reckless abandon…

Some innovative schools have integrated art therapy into their special education programs, but wouldn’t it be amazing if all schools had such amazing art programs that the need for “art therapy” disappeared? Just seeing the wild thick wet crazy paint explosion here is a kind of therapy for me…

When the paint trays were completely dry we knew we had truly painted…

I can’t have all the fun though- one of our Grade One classroom teachers made these amazing pictures with small groups of artistes

First they folded the paper in half, and then painted the tree trunks and grass. Then they squished. Next they painted one leaf colour at a time, squishing in between. After the paint was dry they washed only the bottom half in a watery blue, and painted the top half with a regular blue background. So lovely!

“O hushed October morning mild,

Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;

Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,

Should waste them all.

The crows above the forest call;

Tomorrow they may form and go.

O hushed October morning mild,

Begin the hours of this day slow.

Make the day seem to us less brief.”

(Robert Frost, from October)

I have to include these autumn leaf prints made by our Grade Five class…


…and just a few snapshots from kindergarten to remind us what is just around the corner…

I hope you find a moment in the messy madness to relish the smells and colours and shapes of this wonderful season. Unleash the child inside that wants to paint and pile up leaves…


7 thoughts on “Autumn Leaves…

  1. Jane says:

    I love it! How did you get the reflection in the fall tree paintings with the grade one’s. They look amazing! And thank you for including my class art as well. I feel honoured. That pumpkin patch really turned out nicely- thanks to Christine for her awesome “hay” idea. The texture adds soooo much richness! and the afternoon light really adds a lot of depth. Yeah!


    • I was lucky to catch the light at the right moment. Standing around in the hallway sometimes pays off! Christine is brilliant, agreed. She is wasting her talents these days. (Don’t tell her I said that! There just aren’t enough hours in a day for her to use ALL her many gifts…)


  2. Pingback: Falling… | martinistyle

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s