The study of aesthetics is the core learning experience for development in the Visual, Literary and Performing Arts. It is a proven fact that the Arts have the capability to inspire, inform, challenge, raise self-esteem, provide pleasure and allow for self-expression; creating a sense of pride, identity, and development of skills that are transferable to everyday life.
The following is a sample lesson in using the five senses to heighten aesthetic awareness. This is a great exercise to try with a group of people, or students so that you can get an idea of what others are experiencing through their senses and can learn from sharing the experience. You may want to copy and print out the "Magical Garden" print below so that each person in the group has a copy to closely focus upon.
Things You Will NeedPen or pencil
paper for notes and painting
Your choice of paints, markers or crayons
A sense of adventure and imagination
A desire to heighten your senses and develop your aesthetic awareness
Step 1STIMULATING THE SENSES
Take three minutes to intensely stare at and
study the painting, "Magical Garden", as shown. Make mental notes of everything that you see in the
painting, considering the subject matter, colors, shapes, small
details; anything and everything you can soak in. After your three minutes are up, close your eyes for a few
seconds and re-create that picture in your mind.
Take 10 minutes to make a list of all observations that you made, everything that you can remember. Share your observations with the group. Other things that can be discussed would be textures, mood, colors, and thoughts (how does it make you feel).
Step 3TOUCH: Talk about the textures that you see in the painting. How would certain things feel in the painting; rough, smooth, cold, hot, soft, hard, etc.
Step 4SMELL: Discuss what types of smells would you experience if you were sitting at the table or walking through the garden.
Step 5SOUND: Imagine yourself sitting in the blue chair, lie back, close your eyes and imagine all of the different sounds that you might hear, then share your thoughts with the group.
Step 6TASTE: Discuss the types of taste would you experience if you were sitting at the table or walking through the garden.
Step 7VISUAL ARTS:Paint your own version of a magical garden, using as many details as you can. When finished with your painting, have everyone share and discuss their creations with the group.
Step 8LITERARY ARTS:
Write a poem or short story about the painting, being as descriptive as possible, so that the reader will experience the beauty, richness of color, aroma of the flowers, etc.
Step 9PERFORMING ARTS:
Using your body and motion, act out a certain object in the painting and see if others can guess what it is. Another idea would be to divide up into groups and have an impromptu play by acting out an imaginary scene as they were in the painting itself.Keep in mind... The more you practice taking a closer look at things around you and exercising all of your senses through the Arts, the keener your aesthetic awareness will be.
Tips & Warnings
This is a great awareness lesson to use for home-schooling, classroom students, or just as an individual.
Try several sessions of the same type with the same group to reinforce and heighten the aesthetic awareness learning process.