Pablo Picasso once said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”
Ain't that the truth? I suppose that is why Mr. Picasso was so famous, and I am so very NOT, but in all honesty, that quote really touched my heart the first time I read it. To freely engage in art, like so many things in life, is something that sadly so many of us lose as we age. By the time most of us are in our tweens, our sense of artful expression dwindles as we begin to compare ourselves to others. We feel a sense of needing our art to have a purpose, and to come up with a product that is worthy (whatever that means?) of others admiration.
As I previously discussed, sometimes it is hard to remember that it isn't about the product at all, it is most assuredly about the PROCESS. I wonder when, where, and how we lose sight of that along our journey. When do we stop letting our heart lead the way, and start second guessing ourselves? When do we forget how to just put the paint on the paper, and simply FEEL our way through it? When do we start looking more at the outcome, and less at the entire experience?
As a parent, I wonder if there is a way that I can help guide my daughter through her life while keeping the art alive? Is there something that can be done, so that she continues to relish in the moment of the making, instead of worrying about how it all ends? This is my quest. I wish to preserve the joy, the smiles, the deep concentration, the pride, and the discovery.
Last May, I enlisted Hubby in this project, by asking him to fashion her an easel. I let him use his imagination, and this is what he came up with. We LOVE it! One of the best features is that the white board is bathroom tile board, so that she can paint directly on it, and I can wash it off. We can use markers on it, then wipe it clean. :) IT IS WONDERFUL!
Sadly, I wasn't very prepared when he finished the easel, and didn't have the proper supplies. The first few uses, we had to make do with on old brush and some finger paints. From the looks of this smile....I am fairly certain mama's unpreparedness was lost on Sugar Bear.
It is a blessing to watch this girl create her art. Sometimes she uses bold, brave strokes, and sometimes she gently pats the paint onto the paper. It doesn't matter whether she attacks the project fiercely, or if she quietly concentrates, the end result is the same...a completely, and utterly satisfied toddler. The pride she feels in her art skills is apparent, and I share in her adoration of her masterpieces. While she creates, I comment on her process in a narrating manner. "Oh look...you are using the red paint. You are pushing hard!" or "WOW...look how carefully you are spreading the green paint!" Sugar seems to appreciate my observations, and only sometimes corrects me if I am off the mark. As she ages, I'll start asking her things like, "Can you tell me about your painting?" or "Can you describe to me what you are doing?" It is my hope that through offering her plenty of chances to express herself artistically, my appreciation of WHAT she is doing, and little emphasis on the actual product, she'll hold on to her inner artist a little longer than most children.
It has been said that I will be every teacher's worst nightmare when Sugar Bear gets into school. Such thoughts make me giggle a little. If being a pro-active, interested advocate for my child makes me the "pain in the hiney Mom", then so be it. I do believe I will have a hard time holding back from suggesting that the children be offered ALL the colors when given an apple tree to color, instead of just the green and red. Nothing saddens me more than to see educators limiting a child's imagination and creativity. If that makes me wrong....well then, I just don't want to be right!