The older I get the more I reflect on what life means, the more I reserve my energy for people and things I want to spend it on and the more empathy I have for … well for just whoever needs it cause you know, life just happens.

Teaching art class this term has made me reflect on a few things. Art class teaches kids (and adults) how to solve problems and how to define for themselves what they want to achieve.  Really you might say? Isn’t it just colouring in, playing with paint & having fun? Yes it is, but its also so much more.

For example here is just one thing that happens in artclass, I often find students get frustrated when the thing they are doing is not turning out how they would like (I can totally relate to this so many times over). At home, I have had my son in tears because the drawing he is doing is NOT at all like the picture he is trying to draw.

“It doesn’t look anything like it” he says

What he really means is, it’s not an exactly like that thing I am trying to do and it’s here at this crucial point where I wonder adults who say “I can’t draw” might have been born from… Everyone can draw, everyone can colour in we all did it once!

My question to myself to help my son and my students is, How can we solve this problem? My solutions is we can practice, and we can learn that every drawing is not going to be perfect (I teach and say over and over again that nothing is perfect and everything we create/do is practice for the next thing we do ). eh-hmm- get that one did we? Let me say again… No one thing OR PERSON is perfect, accept it,  stop trying to live up to that! If we can learn to accept from an early age to let go of perfectionism and not be perfectionists that might help us later! – and i think i know a few adults that might agree a good life lesson to learn early on.
Following that… back to the artwork…  If you don’t like what you have done, Do not fret – If we have drawn it once we can draw it again. If we draw 5 or 6 or 10 of them practice, each time is different and as you go sometimes it easier the more you do and sit back take a look and…

Choose the thing we like best out of all of them, then we can combine it with something else to create something even better!

…It is ok! Its not you, it doesn’t mean your not good, it’s a piece of paper and it’s all practice and use what you CAN do.  We can now assess what we wish we could have done better have a plan for the next one. *Ding! Does that sound like a coping strategy & creative solution for stuff that happens in life? In my book it does.

I also say,

YOUR artwork is going to look different to the one by the person next to you, or the one you are trying to draw from. We all have our own fingerprint everyone is different and whilst you might look at other photos, drawings or things in real life for references and ideas, it’s important to do what matters to you and put YOUR OWN stamp on it. I might like sheep but you might like dogs, you have a choice about what you like and don’t like and can be better at some things than others and go with what matters and works for you!

Accept that it ok to be different that the person sitting next to you, value differences *Ding! Trusting yourself your intuition and gain confidence. *Ding!

Ok enough  with the cheesy *Dings! You see, I have found that in life all things don’t always go to plan.  Sometimes even though things just don’t work out how you would like,  you are able to find a solution. It is tempting to fall apart at the edges but you CAN find a solution, it might take some practice, some trial and error but if you are persistent you will find what works for you, a solution will come YOU ARE CAPABLE.

Other benefits that can come out of artclass are Planning and self-assessment practices.  I often ask the kids (or get them to ask/answer themselves):

  • Which of these things that I have done do I like best?
  • What is it about it that I like?
  • Can I then combine some things that i like to create something else? Or do I need find some other resources for another element?
  • Which materials do I feel like creating this with pencils, paint, pens, collage?
  • Then, How will I put it on the page/canvas? Will it be big / little and will it tell a story?  if its small on my first drawing how can i make it big on my final?

These questions can be a bit overwhelming if asked all in the one go, but during the course of creation they can be answered and solved as you go along. As adults sometimes we can get caught up in finding the right answer all at once sometimes before we even start we expect to have ALL the answers, but I find most children can just choose what they want as they go along and go with that. They might find it challenging as they might not be as happy with the end result, but going back to the first lesson of learning to PRACTICE getting a result your happy with will just come from experience after-all enjoyment is in the journey and not in the end result.

Whilst I wonder how my son and students will deal with coming up with life solutions, confidence and working out what they want in life, I know that the fun that’s being had in artclass will instill creative thinking and problem solving that can be used later in life – after all, I wouldn’t be writing this post if it hadn’t worked for me. 😉

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