I look forward to when my children will start making art of their own. Child-created art has always been among my favorites.
There is an innocence and clarity found in their work; a refreshing sense of endless possibilities and adventure inspired by not knowing or needing to know.
For a few years, I organized and ran a nonprofit organization that offered free supplies and encouragement to anyone that was interested in creating art, and many of the participants were children under 12 years old.
They have a bravery when it comes to making art that many people lose once they get into the fifth or sixth grade. (Public education tends to strip children of their creative confidence, but that is another post entirely.)
Many artists have commented on and been quoted about art in reference to children, one of the most famous being Pablo Picasso. I would agree with his sentiment.
Creating Art is the purest form of creation, in my mind. The act of creating is one of the, if not The, most noble of pursuits, and children accomplish this with little to no pretense.
The world and the act of “growing up” batters individuals and strips them of their sense of wonder and excitement. Too often people talk of cynicism with pride, bragging about how much more they know now than before.
Artists aim for the opposite!
As an artist, even as an unacknowledged goal, one focuses on discovery and exploration. Within that context, they must be willing to Not Know, to search and create- outcomes be damned! That is why you will often hear artists talk about the Process being their main focus, rather than the end goal, the product.
The same goes for children! The point is using the materials and discovering the possibilities for both groups.
I remember as a child, around 10 or 11 years old, I was coloring with a younger cousin. She must have been around 5 or 6 and we were at her house, filling up pages in her coloring books. Her parents had obviously been working with her about staying in the lines and using the “correct” colors; she was timid and second guessing herself. I told her the lines were just suggestions and that she could use as many colors as she wanted, and in any combination she could think of!
Her parents overheard me and quickly corrected my sentiment. They told me that I was wrong and that I needed to focus on my own pages. The lines were not a suggestion and skies should only be colored blue, and grass green.
The event changed my view of them, and made me self conscious of my own drawing…
It took me a while of coloring privately to get over the initial shock of the reprimand.
But, thankfully, I was a stubborn young thing and didn't let their scolding deter me for long.
I knew I was right, even at age 10.
And now, as I am about to become a mother, I am so glad I did.
It was, without a doubt, the coloring book event that inspired me many years later to start offering a safespace for children and adults to create without judgement or instructions.
The point of creation is Possibility.
An Artist & Adventurer