Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Appreciating Art by Children

When my now eight-year old grandaughter was five, she often sat next to me making her own art as I painted or sketched.  There was a period when she was quite prolific, cranking out colorful abstracts as well as a series of "girl" drawings which she obviously enjoyed making.  Each one of these girls had serious hair and a common stance, which I assumed she was attempting to duplicate from "Top Model," her favorite television show at the time. 

I was so enthusiastic about these small drawings that I carefully framed and mounted them in a montage arrangement over my kitchen desk.  Of course, my grandaughter was thrilled about this.  Whenever she came to visit, she went straight to the kitchen to look at her paintings.  Although they were raw and undeveloped, they were unique, colorful and made with lots of love.

Once, when I was preparing to take some paintings to a potential client, my grandaughter asked me, "What's a client?"  When I answered they were someone who bought paintings, she said, "Wait a minute!  Take some of my mine because I'm sure she'll want to buy them!"  Is that not confidence?

Parents, teachers and relatives can instill confidence in their children's artistic abilities - or even just passing interest- by showing appreciation for their creative renderings.  Every effort is praiseworthy as well as pure because a child's vision is spontaneous, genuine and innocent.  Some of  the art I've most enjoyed has come from children.  Whenever I look at it, I can feel the initial response that brought it into being.  Usually, this response is a sense of  wonder and excitement about the work itself.

As an adult artist, it is this feeling that keeps me painting, keeps me returning to the drawing board.  Often, I am aware that it is this feeling of excitement that I want to re-capture each time I start a new painting. How wonderful that children get to experience that feeling each time they make art.

Art made by children can be viewed at exhibitions presented by schools, libraries and community centers, among others.  These works are also available online.  Two of my favorite sites of art by children are ArtSonia and http://www.kidsart/.  When you visit the latter, be sure to click 'visit the gallery.'  Enjoy! 

*Note:  I wanted very much to post a photo of my grandaughter and me, as well as some of her art work, but was unable to do so because of technicalities.  I hope you enjoy this essay just the same.