Friday, February 20, 2015

creating with a kid



If you follow me on Instagram or frequent my blog you will know that we spend A LOT of time making art as a family and I get asked lots of questions about our process. Once in a while I like to share my thoughts on "creating with a kid" here on the blog. (Please note that I am not a childhood development expert or a kids' art teacher- I am simply a mom who is an artist!)

Last week I shared a peek into another of our family collaborations and today I thought I would share a follow up post about creating with a kid. As my long time readers know I've been making art with Lucy from day one. From riding on my back while I filmed online classes to letting her create with me in the studio, it's been a priority to share the art making process with my daughter. 




My philosophy is....

As I have mentioned in the past it is important for both my husband and I to incorporate Lucy into as many creative projects as possible. And while it makes no difference to us if Lucy grows up to be an artist, we do want her to be a creative thinker. I believe creativity and the ability to think in a creative way it one of the greatest gifts we can give our children and while I am always evolving as an artist and mama, I am learning so much as I watch her develop her own creative voice. 



I am learning that with every development stage, there are all kinds of challenges and success in our creative process. Now that Lucy is three things have started to feel and look a lot different from age one, two or even six months ago. She is no longer dazzled by paint! I used to be able to pull out the paint and she would be endlessly entertained. Now paint is not so dazzling, instead it's just another supply that she is comfortable using. And while I love this, it also makes the collaboration and creative process a little different. Here are a few new discoveries that are working for us:




INTRODUCE NEW TECHNIQUES




We used to slop paint on a canvas and call it a day but Lucy wants more- more challenges, more techniques more narrative. In other words she continues to develop her creative voice and we have to keep up and find ways to foster it. I've found that showing her how to use different materials and share new techniques has provided the challenge that she is craving.   Things like stamping with all kinds of materials, expressive mark making, painting and drawing shapes, letters and patterns, using different size brushes, painting with a brayer, sticks, hands and feet and embracing all kinds of craft projects are all things that really capture her interst. Through this process I continue to find a balance between teaching and then letting her discover her own way.



MIXING PAINT




Mixing paint is a favorite process for Lucy right now. No matter what the age, there is something exciting about making your own colors and getting to have "ownership" over selecting and mixing colors. When I paint I am always trying to avoid making muddy colors but I try really hard to stay hands off when Lucy is mixing her colors. I show her some simple color combos but most of the time I let her figure it out on her own. The freedom to mix color, without being micro-managed has resulted in making her own discoveries that really get her excited. In the last six months she has discovered, through trial and error, how to avoid making mud.


CREATE A NARRATIVE

In the past six months Lucy's imagination has exploded. She loves telling stories, she plays make believe, she creates characters from her imagination and she even stays in character for weeks. What we know for sure is that a story or a narrative is really important to her. Right now art has become a vehicle for Lucy to tell stories and I want to foster this! Those days of slopping paint on a canvas has been replaced with a story that she draws and paints. Her entire art making process is all about these stories. Often when we are working alongside each other we do a lot of talking about her stories. We ask open ended questions that prompt her to create and expand her creations. As an artist I know how profound it is develop a narrative within your work and to see Lucy doing this at only three years old is incredible!




CREATE HYPE

These days Lucy has a mind of her own and while we love giving her freedom to make her own choices we still want to provide structure within the activities that we take on. When it comes to making time for art I've found that creating "hype" about a technique or a project creates excitement and willingness to try new things- regardless of her toddler moods.  If I make a plan to take her to my studio in the afternoon, we will begin hyping it early in the morning- we chat about what we'll make, what colors she will select and what tools we will use. This process make for a smooth transition between activities.







CREATE TOGETHER

We all really enjoy creating together on our own individual projects. This rhythm has been a part of our lives since Lucy was born so it is natural for our family dynamic. At age three, it seems she is most comfortable and focussed when she is able to be interactive and social while making art. What is really cool is that we are all able to from each other learn simply by observing and working in the same room. From drawing a face to making polka dots to creating shapes- I know that many of the things that Lucy has learned has been from watching Andy and I work on our own art- not from us telling her what to do.  While I know this will change as she gets older, for now it works for all of us and we really enjoy these times together.


PATIENCE, PATIENCE, PATIENCE!!!

The common thread in all of Lucy's creative stages is the need for patience. I used to only need patience for the mess making but these days my patience is wrapped up in her developing personality. While she is the sweetest kid, she can be stubborn, moody, intense and has A LOT of energy. All of this can affect the time that she spends creating. All I can do to stay patient is continue to remind myself that she won't be a toddler forever and this time teaching and fostering her creativity is precious!

To read and see more of our time creating with a kid check out the entire series posts HERE

25 comments:

Sue Marrazzo said...

AWESOME post!

Gol D Roger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elisabetta Brustio said...

Penso che una mamma-artista come te possa dare al proprio figlio qualcosa in più di qualsiasi esperto dell'infanzia. L'istinto di una mamma va sempre nella direzione giusta e la creatività di un'artista è la cosa più preziosa che tu potessi trasmette ad un bambino. E' arrivata l'ora di fare con bambini e mamme e tanta, tanta pazienza!!! Se ne organizzi uno, prendo l'aereo e vengo lì! Promesso!
Ciao Elisabetta

I think that a mother-artist like you can give your child something more than any experienced childhood. The instinct of a mother always goes in the right direction and creativity of an artist is the most valuable thing you could transmit to a child. It's time to do "classes" with children and mothers and a lot of patience !!! If you do organize one, I take a plane and I come there! Promised! :)
Elisabetta

megaaaaann said...

This is so precious! Loved reading this post, you're a great mama helping her develop her creativity! :)

Meg, Optical Intake

Heather said...

I'm with you! I'm always bringing out the canvases to paint with my 6-year-old son. I just want him to love the process of creativity, and creative thinking and have it established in him before too much of the outside world...sports, media, opinions of others, etc. encroaches. You seem like a great (and super fun) mom!

chasity said...

There is seriously no art as good as that of a childs.
Love!
Oh, those little people she drew. Tooooo sweet.

chasity said...

There is seriously no art as good as that of a childs.
Love!
Oh, those little people she drew. Tooooo sweet.

Carol Frueh said...

Do you know about artsonia? It's an online art gallery produced by art teachers globally. Lots of wonderful art inspiration for kids art. You might get ideas for your daughter. My school is Tate Woods if you want to check out my lessons for pre- k. Love your blog.

studioGypsy said...

love this.. such encouragement and inspiration for me and my kiddos.. !! xoxoox

Bevie Sams said...

It's been great visiting your blog today to see how much you include your beautiful daughter in playing with paint. I used to with my daughters when the were young, now enjoy encouraging my grandson who's 13 and has a keen interest in painting...he's quite good! I need to stop by more often...Bevie

curlygirlpress said...

The toddler moods are so intense sometimes! Lucy is one lucky little gal. = )

monika said...

Love your pix. One thing though is that it also depends on the kid. My son has been coming to my studio since he was 2 weeks old... yet no matter how I tried to introduce the art fun stuff to him, he has never been interested in creating. All he wanted to do at the studio was climb up and down my ladder, play basket ball (with me creating a made-up basket to trow the ball into). He is now 10 1/2 and still has absolutely no interest in anything art related. And his dad/hubs is a graphic designer.

I have at times felt super guilty and wondered where I have gone wrong - alas, some kids just really aren't into it.

One thing he told me when he was about 7 "but mami - you are the worlds best artist - and I just can't paint like you, so I don't want to even try" - no coaxing or encouragement on my part gave him an interest in paints or any other creative expression.

Yet he has now taught himself to ride a unicycle, juggling and he can do some cool physical things that I can't ..

Enjoy your little sunshine...

Brig said...

I love hearing the stories of Lucy's development. Fantastic! I'm an artist but don't spend near enough time painting (like, none at all). Every moment I have spare is to try and earn money or just "catch up" on the computer ... The other time is aimed towards activities for my three year old daughter. Maybe I should have one day for doing "her stuff" and the following day for me where she is guided by what I do ... I just don't have the space to leave us set up which I thought and hoped I would so it's the kitchen floor or outside and has to be packed away afterwards. I'd love a space to work like you have.

Helmi said...

Great, I love it all!

Mary W said...

Something my granddaughter likes is for me to trace her "creatures" then transfer the image to fun foam. I cut out the outline and use a ball point pen to mark any inside features like eyes pressing into the foam. Then I mount on cardboard and she can stamp them with paint and they look so cute I use them also. It's also fun to trace tiny ones onto an eraser and easy to make into fun stamps for her teacher to use. I love this part of your posts and so glad you have continued. What a wonderful way to "scrapbook" her whole development.

Kimberly Hogan said...

These are some of the best pics I've ever had the priviledge of seeing on the internet. First, let me just say how absolutely adorable your daughter Lucy is. I love her name as well. I think it's really amazing how you and your hubby make it a point to include her in your projects. I always did the same with my kids, whether it was crafting, cooking, gardening, or my hubby working in his garage. I now am doing the same with my 5 yr old granddaughter. Her favorite thing to do with me is Gelli Priniting. I wasn't real keen on my Gelli plate, but my granddaugter Kaya changed that. Anyhoo…I digress. Besides a beautiful family, your Art work is stunning. You are on my bucket list's top 10. I'd love to sit around the table having a cuppa and doing some Art with you. Thank you for choosing to share your Artful life wirh us!!! (((HUGS))) Kimmie

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