Art education, inspiration and encouragement for children and parents in Arlington, VA
"Do you like my art?" asks a small child with wide dark round eyes. I look at the art, my face goes blank, eyebrows come together and I tilt my head trying to catch a thought, any thought other than what is in my head right now which is nothing. I wonder where in-the-world did this child come from and what-in-the-world were they thinking and how in-the-world did they ever get the idea to do what they have done based on the discussion and instruction?
"Is my art good?" This is a question children often ask and what they might mean by it is: "Am I a good person?" or "Do you love me?". The answer is not always yes, I mean, of course I love you, but....It's not a fair or accurate question. Can your art be bad? Is your art you? If I say yes and I don't like your art am I a liar? Children...why do they have to be do difficult?
I must confess, there are times in the classroom when I am in teacher mode and I have some idea in my head about what the student's art "should" look like. I'm all puffed up about how good a teacher I am and how wonderful all the art is going to look, all the awards and grant money that will be pouring in because of how wonderful I, art and the students are together.
Honestly, at this point, I'm also experiencing being so grateful that there is something so left field, that it leaves me breathless. Isn't that the crux of creativity? How did this child get it and where did I go with my ideas when we all had to make a particular type of art that looks like a particular artist? Isn't it much better to come with something so unique that it stops the teacher in her tracks and makes her think? This what art should do. Essentially this child bypassed all my learning and knowledge and achieved something beyond my expectations. "Do you like it?" Of course I like it. Now go back to your seat and make more art. Children...always breaking the rules, asking questions and disrupting the flow!
I have so much to learn...that is why I teach.
Jean Frank Stark
I make art and have taught to children for over 20 years.