Painting has always been king!

It is true to say, that in the western art tradition (European in particular), there has been a hierarchy of art forms which has placed painting at the top. The walls of our galleries are lined with framed images and our art colleges are still full of young people engaging in this same activity. The history of painting can be traced back to the walls of caves and tombs.

Today, although many continue the ‘traditional’ approach, the boundaries of painting are being pushed in terms of content, concept and the materials that are being used. Young children seem to effortlessly combine using the paintbrush as a drawing tool and as a more expressive means of conveying their ideas and feelings. This natural inclination needs to be harnessed early and they need to be provided with a framework of skills and techniques that will enable them to become independent in making the most appropriate choices.

Without careful planning, it is unlikely that continuity and progression will naturally occur in any area of artistic experience. As teachers we need to carefully plan our visual arts programmes.Painting, is one of a range of artistic experiences that children will encounter in the Primary phase and one well suited to delivering the requirements of both attainment targets. Pupils engage in painting activities that enable them to work individually, in groups or even on a whole class project such as a mural. They are able to express ideas and feelings in paint as well as making observations and images. Ideas, meanings and feelings are communicated in visual form yet at the same time, pupils will also be developing a critical vocabulary to articulate their views.

The visual elements of art (e.g. line, tone, colour etc.) will be reinforced through practical activity and through consideration of the work of other artists. In this way, the relationship between making and appraising will be understood and developed from an early age.