17. Mar, 2022

Should We Be More Kid, When Doing Art?

As many will know, I don't just teach adults art, I teach children too and if there's one thing I've noticed about the differences in how to approach each age group its that children are a lot more relaxed! 

As adults, we can become very introverted and even though, some of us parents will strive to make our children resilient to the challenges that life throws at us, we can forget how to do this ourselves.  When it comes to art, I have so many adults attending my classes and workshops who have very little self belief, but put so much pressure on themselves to be the 'best' or as good as they think they should be to keep up with everyone else. 

If this sounds familiar, well I'm here to tell you, stop it now and be more kid!!  

When I teach children, most (not all), will listen to what I'm asking of them and then just crack on.  This term in our Little Leonardo's classes, the children have been learning about how dreams have been depicted in art.  This is a huge imaginative subject that really can dig deep down into your soul, which can be a very scary place for some, especially when having to then paint that in a group setting!  But the children have just taken it on the chin, been very open about what they would like to show and have just had a go.  There has been no real hesitation.  They draw a line and see what happens.  If it's not right, they know they can change it.  They have this unique acceptance that there will always be a way to change things if they are not going they way they should.  

This ability to problem solve with no inhibitions is something that can be stamped out of us as we mature and experience more problems, challenges and upset.  Where our view of the world is far less innocent, our barriers can creep up and this can cause us to worry about expressing ourselves infront of other people.  The fear of judgement, ridicule and criticism can be very disabling.  

BUT, let me tell you, we are our own worst critics!  It's very often a fear that we won't live up to our own expectations that can hold us back.  'What if I discover I'm not that good after all'.  You worry that you will fall short of your own expectations, given you're, after all, an adult and have alot more worldly experience than a child, therefore you should be better, right?  Wrong!  

When doing activities like being creative, such as art, it's not about whether you are young or an adult.  It's not necessarily fine or gross motor skills.  Its about applied practice.  If you haven't done much in the past, why on earth would you put pressure on yourself to be really good now?  Would you run a marathon without putting in hours of training?  Would you expect to win the marathon, even if you had?  Probably not, but you know that it is something you may enjoy doing (if you're that way inclined), and taking part is just as enjoyable.  

So, when you sit down to have a go at sketching something or attend a class in anything you've never really tried before, don't put too much pressure on yourself.  Think like a child and just have a go and see what comes out.  No judgement, just for the love of trying it and creating something. See it as a series of stepping stones and with every stone you step on, you get further forward.  Play with the medium and techniques, explore it.  Some of the adults that attend my classes have done their best work when all they are doing is playing.