Making Art With Children

Thursday, April 7, 2016


"All Children Are Artists"

Pablo Picasso


        Gwenie and Grace free painting with watercolors - Exploratory Art K-2

When making art with kids I am acutely aware of how the precious gift of natural creativity is so present in their beings. Part of what I try to do is create a balance between developing real observational drawing skills combined with non-objective drawing and mark making to keep things loose and fluid. Beautiful fluid and dynamic marks, color and the ability to transfer feeling, movement and energy without drawing a particular object is just as important as careful rendering and can say just as much with equal value in my humble opinion.

Girl with a Flower by Iliana age 5 Exploratory Art K-2


In addition to this I believe that children, especially those in the early grades should be given an opportunity to work with a wide variety of art materials. Changing the colors, textures and different properties gives them a wide range of options to develop skills and find a place to develop likes and different ways of working creatively.


Mixed Media Portrait Exploratory Art K-2

Another thing that I always find so very important in my classes is to set aside part of each classtime for free drawing time.  This is completely unstructured time for kids to use oil pastels, markers or regular crayons to draw whatever they want on plain white paper or newsprint.  I try to start and end each one of my classes in this way. Why is this important? It is complete decompression drawing allows kids unbridled downtime to allow their imaginations to expand.  It is time to create fantastical monsters, beautiful princesses, mermaids and fierce army battles. It is a place to re-create conflict from the placeground or home in a safe, managable way.  Sometimes it can be sad, joyful and other times hilarious. Yes I love my kids structured projects - they listen, pay attention and boy can we really make some great things together. One time in a camp week I saw a three year old go from drawing nothing but scribbles to drawing simple faces from watching and copying her classmates during free drawing - how powerful!  As an instructor I always have to remember that art is also a time for introspection and  quiet personal development - even for  kids.  Sometimes my job is to just stand back and allow for that magic to happen.

Free Watercolor Painting by Gwen age 5 Exploratory Art K-2






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