i teach art classes in my studio. the youngest is 18 months & the oldest…well, i’m not going to tell you my age.
the toddlers & children teach me how to be fearless-when it comes to putting any media to paper.
the children teach me how to find humor in almost anything (“how do you spell happy?”asked Hunter. “H-A-PP…” i answered, he interrupted with, “Ha! PP get it?! You said pee pee…we are always trying to do that joke at school.”)
the children teach me to never be afraid to ask a question about ANYTHING.
the children teach me to live in the present.
before puberty, i think most of us lived in the present…i think that is why colors, sights, smells seems so much BIGGER & BRIGHTER in our memories. puberty seems to make us all a little self centered-not always in a good way, we can be insecure, some of us gain a ‘voice’ inside our head. a voice that tells us we will fail, we are not cool, if we put pencil to paper everyone will see “i cannot draw”…and many other things.
which is why i like to spend time with children. the children seem to duct tape my head’s voice mouth shut. the children take me back to when i was a kid & for that gift…
(in their sketchbooks) i teach them how to draw cartoon animals (they are always funny). i teach them how to draw cartoon monsters (never scary) and aliens (cannot fail because who has ever seen one?!). ART should be fun, funny & a place where they cannot fail (Gosh, we do enough of that in life). No matter how their drawings look compared to my own, they are all wonderfully fun & we all laugh, pointing out the funny parts (Oh my Gosh, SIX EYES?! awesome, he can SEE everything).
i have been informed that my drawings are better then theirs, only once, by a very mature 1st grader. i said, “of course they are! What do i do all day long?!” “you do art” she said. “That is right, what do you do all day long?” i asked. “i go to school” she answered. I said, “that’s right, you do math, reading, writing, science, eat lunch, play on the playground, and MAYBE YOU ARE LUCKY ENOUGH TO DO ART for like a little a minute, then you go home & do homework or dance class, then dinner, bath and bed, Ugh, you do SO MUCH WORK!” I said.”But what if you got to art all day long instead, would you be as good as me?” i ask. she gave me a BIG SMILE & said,”Yes!” and that is the truth.
at a young age, their fingers do not have the strength to draw very well, i show them all where the muscles for their fingers are. i ask them to put one hand on their forearm & squeeze, then i tell them to open & close their fingers on the hand that is free. they can feel that their ‘art’ muscles move, in their arms. i tell them the stronger those “art” muscles are, the straighter their lines will be. i tell them grown ups do not draw very much because their art muscles are not as strong as theirs are. i tell them that grown ups are sometimes too chicken to try to draw because they are afraid they will make a mistake (stupid voice in our head).
i’ve told them all why the only difference between an artist & a ‘regular’ person is…an artist already knows they will make a mistake, but they are not afraid of that, because they are brave. an artist understands, to draw something, you have to start somewhere, then find the mistakes & make them right…after all, it only takes an eraser, what is so scary about that?
if only life had an eraser.
the above art was created by first grader Aidan M. (he is now on to bigger & better things-the second grade…in the fall. 🙂
Theory- as to why we’ve all heard, “an artist must suffer” whether by being poor, or weird, or abused (as a child in some way) or a narcissist (like painter (note i say painter, not artist) who had the audacity to paint a canvas white, and the ‘critics’ who called it art & the idiots that actually hung it on a wall, in an art museum) Perhaps these artists/painters’ were already convinced they are a failure (or the greatest) and have nothing left to lose, so when they first put pencil to paper they already knew it would suck (or thought it was awesome)… Maybe?