7 things my toddler has taught me about art

discovery. One of Erica's favorite paintingsOne of the joys of being a parent is watching your child grow and discover new things. This often means you get the delight of rediscovering the simple pleasures in life. Erica is an arty little toddler, she has taken to drawing and painting like a duck to water. Ever since her eyes developed she has loved looking at art, tilting her head to the side to consider works for quite a long time. She loves going all over the house looking at my paintings and I really value her opinion! When a new one is introduced she tells me all about it. One of her first words was “draw” and we hear it many times a day. She draws with a ferocity and concentration. She grips the crayon or pencil and goes for her life! Here are some of the tips I have picked up on art appreciation from my curios toddler.

  • Contrast! Contrast grabs your attention, it keeps drawing your eye and bring you back to it again and again
  • Judicious use of bright color is an eye grabber. It doesn’t have to match the couch.
  • Lines that draw you around the painting are best, especially of they suggest movement or lead you somewhere. This place doesn’t have to be real.
  • Art should be bold. It shouldn’t whisper, it shouldn’t lie quietly in a corner. It should have passion. And while making it you should have passion too.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment, play with colors and marks and just go for it! Beauty comes in the most surprising color combinations.
  • Create something or appreciate the beauty in something every day.
  • Art belongs on the walls. Everywhere. Canvas or paper is optional.
  • 5 thoughts on “7 things my toddler has taught me about art

    1. All the interior walls of the Palo Alto Research Center (you know, the place that invented the GUI, Ethernet and a few other minor innovations) are coated with the material facing your common whiteboard, I was once told. The janitors were given strict instructions to never tidy it up.

      If I had ever been able to track that stuff down, I probably would have used it in our house. Fortunately the lack didn’t seem to slow them down.

    2. heh! I want that for my studio! Ikea has some gorgeous glass whiteboard surface which i think would be great to have everywhere too. I do have blackboard paint which will be handy later on.

      does anyone have any tips to remove crayon from antique silk?

    3. I share your joy. Watching little Miss E at my place over the last few weeks drawing has been uplifting, as it is when I see the increasing maturity of my now 11yo, the astonishing Mr P’s art. For xmas I have bought him his first tablet, so he can be a true geek artist! And for 15 years now I have seen Miss C and Miss B journey from pre-teen girly artists drawing unicorns and maidens in flowing dresses into adult, maturing artists, each with their own styles and expertise even though they be the closest of sisters.
      Of course, as a fine art photographer, especially as a fan of minimalism and black & white I eschew much of your painterly wisdom. ๐Ÿ˜‰ You painters get it way to easy, creating as you do your own reality. ๐Ÿ˜‰
      When Miss E gets a little older you must afford me the opportunity of luring her to the dark side of photography! lol

    4. pah you photographers are all alike! you talk about the purity of the process when we all know you click a button! ๐Ÿ˜› and I fully expect you to try to convert my daughter to your heathen ways and all the best with that! but I suspect painting is cheaper…

      I can’t wait to see what Mr P creates with his new toy! ๐Ÿ˜€ it’s a true delight watching all of them grow, I think creativity is the best gift of all.

    5. Pingback: 2011 in review « Jennie’s Palette

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