Is your child talented in Art?
After they start school, most children quickly accept the prevailing belief that making art is only for those who 'have the gift for it' and most give up the dream of doing it professionally. Television reinforces that idea, causing kids to think only the professionals should be seen playing sports, singing or dancing or making art.
As they grow, some children begin to show an aptitude for painting and their parents wonder if they should have private lessons. It seems so natural and right to give your kids every opportunity you can afford. Yet, the experience of a lifetime as an artist has made me doubtfulof the benefits. Here's why:
- The majority of kids soon lose interest when they discover that real art instruction involves a lot of tedious study and practice they were not prepared for. A child may persevere for some time in an effort to please the parents. Eventually the loss of so much of the 'social life' other kids are enjoying will cause the typical child to resent, and then give up, the lessons.
If you, as a parent, can accept this without nagging the child to continue, or making him/her feel guilty about the money you've 'wasted,' then no harm is done. After all, many people take up art as a hobby in later life and probably do get some benefit from the tuition they had as children; and a lot of joy from their hobby.
- He'll know it at an early age (I was seven) and you'll know it because, while his brothers and sisters hop from astronaut to fireman, model to doctor etc, his ambition will remain the same. He'll draw all the time, not just when he's being noticed and encouraged. He'll pore over any art books you give him and he'll fill up his sketchbooks with exercises he's set for himself. He'll hang around anyone who can show him how to improve his art. (As a ten-year-old, I haunted the tobacconist's next to my parents' shop because the owner was an amateur watercolourist who showed me how to paint clouds.)
If you have a child like this, please don't make the natural mistake of trying to make it easy.
- S/He doesn't need it; and you may well give him or her the wrong impression. The truth is, life as an artist is not easy. Nor is it so glamourous as the media pretends. (When did you ever see a TV interview with an artist that showed him/her scraping down the palette or cleaning a fistful of brushes?) Neither are we led to think about the long years of trying to achieve acceptance by galleries, to build a personal style and reputation, or to reach that point when price tags and volume of sales can put an end to the 'day job.'
But if a child is to be an artist, no power on earth can stop him.(c) Dorothy Gauvin
*Information in this post was previously published by Ezinearticles in an article Teaching Art To Children - Should We Do It? [Humanities] by Dorothy Gauvin
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About the Author
Dorothy Gauvin shares art knowledge from her careers as painter and gallery director in her 'ArtLife' blog. Her paintings and 'Life-Story' portraits in oils are displayed on