Back in the day, when I taught AP Art History, I would talk to my students about sacred geometry, the mathematical underpinnings of our world. Man’s art has connected to this universal law since the beginning of his art and architecture creations. Through keen observation, man recognized the relationships, the patterns and the power of essential shapes and proportions.
The Circle lies at the heart of this universal code and is rich with meaning and purpose.
The Circle is the most common and universal signs, found in all cultures. It is the symbol of the sun in its limitless or boundless aspect. It has no beginning or end, and no divisions, making it the perfect symbol of completeness, eternity, and the soul:
The circle is also the symbol of boundary and enclosure, of completion, and returning cycles. The circle symbolism most familiar to us is that of the wedding ring which encircles the finger associated in ancient times with the heart. The wedding ring symbolizes not just a pledge of eternal love, but the enclosure of the heart- a pledge of fidelity. (From the symboldictionary.net)
I was introduced to a beautiful collaborative activity at our art education in service workshop before we began the school year. Our Visual Arts Coordinator provided us with big panels of cardboard, paint and brushes, and we worked together to create our own circle painting. Instead of sitting at tables, clumped up with our art teams, we mingled together and painted with abandon. Instead of being talked at, we created together. It was active and fun. This collaborative art activity has sprung out of an organization that is using this simple but powerful activity to bring people together – Circlepainting.org.
Our district art team got to work that day and painted our own circle painting with glee.
After school got underway, our Visual Arts Coordinator organized our annual staff exhibit that is hung at three of the administration facilities in our district. She had one circle painting framed and hung at each of the exhibits to display the beauty of art teachers playing together.
The circle painting was a powerful influence! I had seen it grow from a big, blank piece of cardboard into a beautiful, dynamic work of art. It had been easy, quick and so much fun! When our school announced that we were going to have a Club Fair on our campus to promote all of the clubs offered to the student body, the circle painting was in the forefront of my mind for our table display. Let’s make our own circle painting! Off we went, aprons on, paint and brushes out, ready, set and GO!
In just one hour, our art club produced their own spectacular circle painting! The students LOVED it! As they left, each one expressed how much fun they had. A sign was also made and when we set up our table, we had the most dynamic, beautiful table of all of them!
I was incredibly proud of the students, and they were so proud of themselves! As they manned the table, you could see them beam in front of their creation. It was such a powerful way to start off the year! If you haven’t done this with your students, find a day when you need to infuse some energy back into your program. Get that paint out and make a circle painting! We all know how much fun it is, but your students may not have experienced an art activity that can bring the whole group together. Art – it brings people together.