I feel like I always have to preface our art activities by saying, “I am not an artist. I have never even taken an art class.” I guess I feel like I need to say that because the art projects we end of up doing with our toddler are so simple and yet, I find them profound! Our oldest girl has taken lately to calling herself a good artist. And she simply cannot get enough of art projects, paint, chalk, etc. She is always game for an afternoon project with paint. As such, I have found that I really have to push myself to create opportunities to explore art with her. The local library was hosting a story and art time at the local mall this summer and we got to go a couple of times (we found out late in the summer about it). And that spark of creativity that she has was reignited by some simple art projects we have been doing at home.
The most recent one started as a pointillism project and ended up quite different. But one of the things I have learned is to let her (the true artist) lead our art sessions. The materials I gathered together were clothes pins, pom poms, and three colors of paint (on small paper plates).
I laid out some pieces of construction paper on a plastic shower liner (our drop cloth for art projects indoors) and set G in front of the sliding glass back door.
She started making dots on her paper and talking about dots and was enjoying putting paint to paper in somewhat straight lines.
Then we heard a dog bark
and a bird sing
we were looking outside.
We noticed the wind brushing the leaves on our neighbor’s tree
and….suddenly…we had the inspiration we needed.
I asked G if she would like to paint a picture of the tree we were looking at using her dots. And so she did! As she did it, I painted my own picture of the tree and we talked about how we were drawing the tree.
This may seem like such a simple art exploration, but in this process we learned a number of things. The biggest one was to start looking around us for inspiration in our art. All the great artists start with painting the world around them: still life, landscape, portraits. And if G is going to be an artist, she needs to be observing the world and translating what she sees onto her canvas (whatever the material may be).
We will not always paint with an inspiration in front of us, some art projects may be more free form and unfocused. But this project was so neat for both of us to be working with the same inspiration and get completely different results. It gave me a new window for our art sessions and taught me to be willing to jump off the script and explore new territory.
Do you like to explore art with toddlers? What do you love about it?