My experience supporting a future artist

My youngest, Budgie, is three and a half.  She loves to draw and paint. Her preferred medium is marker, because she gets terribly upset when she gets dirty, but she likes the saturated color that you get with a wet medium (marker, paint). It has been interesting to watch her grow as a small artist.  For a while, she was in a literalist phase. I would ask her about her drawings, and her reply would be "I drew pink" or whatever color she used. I found myself contemplating whether she was literal, or gifted, as the concept of pink as a subject is pretty advanced. She has always been precisely verbal, so when she says something, she means it, and pronounces it perfectly. I settled on literal. She has since evolved into drawing symbolic pictures of family. Everyone is round, has two arms and legs, and a bellybutton. In her world, the bellybutton is important.

Bridget loves using my supplies, but is eager to have her own as well.  This three and a half year old got a crayola set with a plastic molded tray for each marker and crayon for Christmas, and the markers and crayons are still precisely in each spot, almost two months later. It is that important to her. She has filled numerous sketchbooks, much to my chagrin, as they are usually intended for mommy, but I am glad she is happy to create her own images.

The other day, she came home from daycare with a grocery bag full of her work. "This is my collection" she proudly announced, and proceeded to pour over every piece with me explaining each one. "This is my name, this is my skeleton, this is a bus." The collection was incredibly important to her, and an unholy mess. Every time she reviewed it, glitter spread further throughout the house, turning it into a sparkly princess paradise. After watching her with her collection, I decided she needed a book.  I had an old Creative Memories album lying about, and we proceeded to put all her work into the album.  When we finished, she proudly kept pouring over each page. Anyone who comes into our home must now view her collection.

The importance to her is real, and by honoring that, I am helping her to become her own artist. So many people have stories of passions in their youth squashed by an adult minimizing the importance of what a child is spending their time on. Let's stop the business of killing dreams, and let them grow, a small gesture of support means the world to a child. Find what they need, take the time to let them know that their ideas matter, because they do.


Post a Comment