Follow Kid Artists, they are experts at their own vision!
It's Monday’s Creative Explorer Class and I can't stop smiling. I’m feeling really good about class right now. Our new student Jazzy is sitting at a big work table copying a black-and-white, light and shadow drawing of the skull. She’s doing it very well, and also with focus. She loves to draw faces and people. She wants to get better at making her drawings look like what’s in her head so I'm giving her exercises out of anatomy drawing books that I copied from endlessly when I was practicing my drawing as a young teenager.There are over a dozen pages book marked that she wants to draw from. She’s into it.
The younger girls, Kiowa and Kale’a, work away with hot glue guns.They have both learned how to use them safely. Kiowa is making an ‘I don't know”. It is very pretty, which is very much her style. A giant fake red Dahlia is hot glued on a board surrounded by old-fashioned style wooden clothes pins standing upright with shells and flowers glued on top. She sings as she works, occasionally saying “there”, with satisfaction, and “Kale’a look” or “Mama look”. She's not judging herself as she creates, but enjoying making pretty sweet found object collage art.
Kale’a works on a board with fake flowers too. The Queen’s Throne Room. It is part of the found object faerie city she's making for her art exhibition at Big Spirit Studio in the fall. She has taken old marker caps glued them upright with the glue gun and added big bright flowers to the top. The Trees That give Life to That Part of the City. There is another board attached perpendicularly, covered in keys. The Wall of Keys. Kale'a is the queen of the glue gun. This is her wonderful world.
I’ve had Kale’a in the studio for over a year, introducing new projects, new materials to her. Painting wasn’t “IT”, even though she's really good at it. Once while painting a unicorn she asked why it looked like all the legs were coming just straight out of the body? So we started working shading. She totally got it and made the two back legs look like they were behind the two front legs. For her next painting she made an image of a sea otter that had so much light and shadow with color. It was amazing! I totally thought that was the direction we're going to go because that's what made sense to me; Kale’a was good at this. But painting wasn't what attracted her. Glue gunning collage is.
At first I saw her works as random and just kind of unconscious or immature. But as I watch her now and to look over her work I see a common thread of style, of color choices. It's not what I would choose. It seems all over the place to my art schooled eye, until I take me out of it. I’m not making it. It’s not my mind, not my vision. So I follow what she show me, what looks good to her. Aaah. There is her voice, her point of view! This is so different from mine! Wow! I feel a little free-er and excited. Expanded. Following lets me see in a new ways. I love to to change up my perceptions and understanding. Thanks to Kale’a choosing what she works on and how.
So now I know how to support her even better. I keep lots of diverse random material stocked in the studio. I keep all my odd wood cut offs in a bin outside the door. She clearly sees them more imaginatively than I.
And we talk about things like unifying colors, patterns, what would a faerie do in this area of the city? and what materials could she use to make a roller coaster that really moves? and other much much sillier things!
I gently and subtly nudge her further towards where she's going. I support her and her vision. And I get out of the way. Kale’a asked asked for this art exhibition a few months back. We talk about what she would show. We talk about visualizing and I try to offer hints from what I've learned from putting on my own art exhibitions. Then I step back and I follow. With conversation, she start moving towards covering the entire work table with a vast glue gunned, found object Faerie city, with a forrest and play ground and paths... It's unlike anything I've ever seen and I'm so proud. I can't wait to see the whole thing.
And that's why can't smiling because by following these young artists I'm supporting them in being inspired and engaged in their unique self expression.Which inspires me. I got to help them get there by paying attention, letting them lead and letting them choose even in places where I might think I know better.
It's easiest to tell people that I'm teaching art but really I'm more of an advisor and facilitator. We can't teach creativity. We can't teach inspiration. We can feed it and encourage it. Help it feel safe and curious. Feel like their vision matters.
Mostly I watch and listen, sometimes suggest, sometimes question. Maybe I don't know what these kids should learn, probably,though, they do. So I follow and learn.
Please check out the great classes and workshops going on at Big Spirit Studio. The parent & child “ Let’s Build Our Own Fountain” workshop is coming up in August and still has some space. It is a super fun workshop! And a great opportunity to follow your kids in creating a working fountain masterpiece!
And my ‘Grown Up Kids’ ( that’s us) Art Group Wednesday nights is a great way for us to tap into our inspirations in a fun creative space!