Did you know that young children can draw things from life, not just from imagination? This is a big "Duh!" for me, but for some reason I didn't even think about it. I just assumed little kids drew faces and monsters and houses and suns, etc, as they thought they should look but without really looking at them. And of course they do that too, but I think they can also be very observant and translate what they see onto the paper.
This so-called lesson in drawing from life was completely spontaneous. Maia wanted to draw an orange, but said she didn't know how and asked me to draw one for her. Instead of doing that, or just telling her to draw an orange circle, I grabbed the fruit bowl, set an orange in front of her and talked with her about it. We talked about color, shape, and texture, and I encouraged her to draw what she saw as we talked about it. In the photo above, she's drawing an avocado, using dots to portray the bumpy skin, and circles for the stem end and also for the sticker.
Here's a lime.
And a bunch of bananas.
She loved doing this and kept asking for other things to talk about and draw. She also drew an onion and a head of garlic, then we went to the store in search of other fruit to draw, including grapes, kiwi, and apples. Maybe we'll collate these drawings into special fruit- and vegetable-themed books... Or maybe I'll just remember that drawing from life can be fun and rewarding!