"Little children are fearless and passionate. They know who they are and what they like. No hesitation. Just excitement in their voices and smiles on their faces."
I spent my week in the spirited company of 12 five and six year olds and two tireless assistants. We had a full curriculum that spanned across many different artistic mediums- painting, drawing, paper mache, clay, and mixed media.
It could be said that my students gained exposure to a variety of mediums. At five years old, they started the rudimentary foundation of drawing with an introduction to shadowing, texture, and color theory. It could be said that they learned the basic techniques of still life, narrative illustration, and self-portraiture. And, most importantly, they practiced coloring neatly inside the lines.
Or it could be said; we painted cherry blossom trees to life, bowing under the weight of their flowering branches. Together, we garnished proud peacocks with jeweled plumage. We sculpted a holding place for our dreams and wishes. We were explorers, taking an imaginary trip to the far reaches of the world to find rare and mythical animal hybrids, and then documented our findings in colored pencils. We were magicians, taking newspaper, glue and some paint and creating our own rabbits rather than just pulling them from a hat. We were in advertising. We made ourselves the product with our nutrition facts, our ingredients, self- portraits, and our favorite things displayed on a box of our favorite colors. We were inventors, building time machines with wings to fly us back to the times of cavemen. Most importantly, we were artists.
My favorite quality in children has always been their confidence. Before my students scrambled into their seats on Monday morning, they were already artists. Children are artists because they want to be, because it’s fun and limitless. They have yet to be branded with the layers of doubts we carry into our adulthood. Even when faced with a challenge, as long as they were provided with the steps, they dived in headfirst. With their firm knowledge of the fact they are artists, there was only so much I could teach them.
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