Life, Art and Kids
I am on my 3rd day of 3 as teacher for an art mini term. I often get asked to teach art. I am self taught as some of you may know so I am well aware that teaching art and creating art can be two very different things. I have learned by exploring and experimenting which is not always what art classes are all about for obvious reasons. I have found painting needs to be part of my life for the following reasons.
Number one: Painting relaxes me. I feel good when I am painting. Many people comment that I am a prolific painter. I guess out of all the things out in the world that people do to feel good, this is a pretty good choice. No nasty side effects or hangovers but it is addicting!
Number Two: When I give myself time to paint I actually get more done! The added benefit is the other mundane things I have to do become easier. When I get my painting fix I can sometimes keep up with the organizational challenges of every day life. Sometimes, but if not I am happy. See reason number 1.
Number Three: I learn to paint by painting. I am still very much in an exploratory, learning stage. I guess I hope I am always there. Its fun to learn AND play. The learning happens in the exploration, the mistakes and accidents.
Having said all that I do very much believe in giving kid's the opportunity to have artistic outlets. When schools cut out art education they are doing a disservice not only to the kids but to the future of our communities. Not every kid NEEDS these kinds of outlets but the creative, artistic kids DO. Without a doubt. So I have volunteered for the past 3 years to do these 3 day special interest classes.
Day one of class I concentrated on teaching. Bad idea...BORING! 3 hours is a LONG class for this age. So I came home and came up with a new plan.
Day two of class I concentrated on enjoying the process. I gave them a large piece of heavy paper to paint on. I gave big brushes and told them to explore and have fun. The amazing thing is the kids sat for several minutes saying things like- I'm scared. I don't know what to do!!! I told them there are no mistakes- do anything. Slap paint on and have fun!! Play! They warmed up to the idea and really, really enjoyed it.
Kids being kids though I eventually had to step in when they were having too much fun! When the paint started going on body parts and neighbors we had to implement a few rules. Rule 1. Paint on paper only. Rule 2. No physical contact with your neighbor. Rule 3. Keep property damage to a minimum.
So much for 'free expression'!
The photo above is just before the mayhem. :)
The benefit to yesterdays art class was the kids enjoyed what they were doing. They took ownership for what they created and where quite proud of what they did. One of the points I wanted them to learn was THEY were the experts of what they wanted to say and do with their art. There is no right or wrong in creating art. The fun is in the doing so enjoy the process! I wanted them to not 'be afraid' to try. To get a feel for the materials and not worry about doing it a certain way. That can come later but first you must take the fear away. Obviously by the kids expression they were having a great time!
To see my finished artwork during more sane moments go to
Painting Faces, Expression and Emotion in Vibrant Colors!