Encouraging Creative Art Skills
What have you drawn here? In these amazing times we are witnessing a change in attitudes to fine arts, and to the first attempts at drawing in school and kindergarten. It is no longer a leisure pursuit for the development of fine motor skills. Today paints and pencils help to discover creative skills, to relieve stress, to liberate one’s mind and even to improve one’s self-esteem. This issue I will explain to you how to make this joy of creation available for your children. Firstly, let’s forget about such evaluations as nice/not nice and looking/not looking alike. According to the world’s most high-priced painter – ground-breaker and non-conformist Pablo Picasso – the “invention of a camera made academic painting a thing of the past”. This does not mean realism is no longer needed, but there are millions of just as effective and sought-after painting techniques. Classic school of art requires obedience, conscientiousness, knowledge of rules and continuous repetitions, which is extremely boring for a five, six or seven-year old and will make him/her lose a taste for painting for good. One should be grown-up and mature enough for such a serious approach. Until then, vivacious and magical modernism and post-modernism will come in handy. Do you know that Impression, Sunrise by Claude Monet drew strong criticism? Or that global favourite Gustav Klimt was accused of kitsch and pornography? Not to mention the sad story of the unappreciated Van Gogh. Today a painter invites his/her audience to a dialogue. Revolutionaries and ground-breakers from Kandinsky to Miro knew how to paint with a classical touch, but deliberately refused to do so, seeking new forms and new meanings. Malevich’s Black Square has a complex theoretical basis behind it and is an entire philosophy, revealing incredible depths of work for initiates. In our “Draw as a Genius” school children start to dab in modernism and post-modernism from age one. The main objective is not to show how to draw a house or a dog correctly, but to teach children to enjoy the process, to show that one and the same task can be competed by various drawing techniques. Another peculiarity of the modern approach to teaching kids and especially teenagers to draw, implemented in our original “Draw as a Genius” methodology, is the removal of all blocks and stereotypes of the type “I can’t do it”, “I don’t know how” and, my favourite, “This is not correct”. We play, tell funny and amazing stories from the lives of modernist and post-modernist painters, why and how they invented their own language of painting, and then we proceed not to blind copying, but to creative tasks inspired by and based on such technique. We draw using candles, sponges, hands and even potatoes; we pour paints over the canvas like Jackson Pollock; and make carvings in clay like cave people. This type of drawing is pure pleasure, and each work is a little masterpiece and by no means boring homework. I believe that academic painting is wonderful but one should go into it deliberately and out of love, not before he/she is 10 years old. Don’t be disappointed by your child if the dog he/she drew has eight legs or the house looks smaller than the girl; and, God forbid, don’t play at being a home-grown therapist. Children aged three to four prefer the most contrasting combinations. The main thing is black paint on a white sheet. Don’t be afraid. Red and black lightning spread over a green background is just an expression of the passing mood. Maybe your child was just dusted with sand by his playmate and he showed his indignation on the sheet. You have reason to worry if lots of scary drawings appear on and on for a couple of weeks! How should one teach a child? Enjoy the process together with your child – no rulers or colouring books! Suggest a game – make collages, tear apart an old slick magazine, and draw your own images on pieces of coloured photos. Put on raincoats and sprinkle paints over sheets spread on the ground. Make a new pack for your favourite cornflakes; collect pebbles on the beach and draw secret marks on them. Don’t forget to make a home exhibition – on the window, on the fridge using magnets, or in a large frame. Offer various formats to your young painter – from a regular sheet of paper to a roll of wallpaper or a giant fridge package. Or join our “Draw as a Genius school. We have groups for little children, schoolchildren and even family master-classes for children and their parents. And remember the words of art brut founder Jean Dubuffet: “Only primitive people, madmen and children are able to create true pure art.”
Clinical psychologist Elena Gatsenko is a head of the pacesetting poly-lingual International Kids Club, where her interactive rubric “kindergarten” is dedicated to questions of early development and education of pre-schoolers.
Encouraging Creative Art Skills