Juniper painting on boxes and table at Toddler Art Group
I'm really loving everyone's comments to the two quotes I posted yesterday. Thank you. You know that first one by Picasso has always rubbed me the wrong way for some reason, but I've never quite been able to put my finger on why. Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. Why does this make me cringe whenever I come across it? Maybe I feel like it's a bit presumptious. Or maybe the definition of artist was a little too narrow in my mind. I'm still not sure. But I really like that second one by Ursula LeGuin. The creative adult is the child who has survived.
I think our job as parents and teachers is to help the children in our lives hold on to that essential creative spark.
Molly made a comment that I really identify with:
I've always felt that every person is creative, children are just especially uninhibited in their exploration of art (and everything really). I find that creativity shows itself in different ways and some people enjoy using their creativity to produce art, music, dance, etc. more than others. Those others may find satisfaction in using their creativity in, say, accounting or economics, the way an artist would in producing a work of art. Art, like any other skill, must be practiced and nurtured -- something which I think you encourage us all to do here at the Artful Parent!
I agree! People can be creative at anything in life, not just the arts. And thank goodness they are! We need creative people in all areas of life. Creativity is not just about putting paint to paper, it's about creating something new, novel. It's about looking at something in a fresh way or coming up with a unique solution to a problem.
And yes, children are especially uninhibited in their approach to art and life. As we get older we judge ourselves more and worry about what others are thinking more. And these voices in our head can keep us from creating what we might otherwise create. Or from trusting ourselves. Or from exploring some of the less-well-traveled paths that might be calling to us.
But I think that for one thing, we can do our best to raise our children to be confident, creative beings (in all senses of the word). Charlotte made a great point that we, as parents, can do a lot to encourage our children's creativity at home. We can encourage curiousity, imagination, and flexible thinking, among other things. I think process-oriented art is one way to do this.
And, secondly, as adults who may or may not be feeling as confident in our own creativity, we can remember that while we may not possess the complete freedom from inhibition of a small child, we bring so much more to the table -- our knowledge of this vast world around us (and sometimes our knowledge of how much there is still to know), years of experience in so many areas, our interests and passions, our ability to master skills, and our greater control over our minds and bodies (greater attention span, motor control, etc, fewer full body tantrums).
Perhaps we can overcome some of the inhibition we may feel and regain some confidence in our creativity by focusing on what we do bring to the table (our skills, knowledge, and self control) when we approach our areas of interest, be it art or math or teaching or whatever. And to be open to trying new things. Even be willing to think about it in new ways.
I wish you could all gather in my living room and we could talk about this in person (just pretend I'm passing around brownies, now, okay?). I love the back and forth and hearing what you think.