Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Children’s Artwork – What can it Teach us?

"Map of Cleary's Lake"

I’ve always enjoyed looking at the artwork of children. It’s raw, emotional, and bold. Children’s thoughts link directly to their hand and arm movements; unfettered, unedited, open and joyous.

Their enthusiasm is unequalled. What they depict often mirrors their emotional health which is why psychologists use art as a tool to measure and investigate what’s going on in a child’s life.

Art can also be good therapy, allowing innocent minds and hearts to depict what the mind and heart can’t possibly express. This wordless vocabulary of vibrant color and terrifying images reveals what a child’s simple words cannot. Their drawings and paintings help us reach a hidden place within where healing can begin.

"Wyoming Wind"

Children’s artwork may help us get in touch with our own emotions. Their efforts may teach us about communication and help us to explore our own inner turmoil. The freshness and innocence they posses can teach us about trust and openness. Children’s art may expose our own inhibitions and allow us to take that bold step into freedom of expression, unafraid.

"Watercolor Wonder"

Children don’t worry about reality. If they feel like painting a dog blue, they will. If they want to outline forms in black or red, they will. Their vivid imaginations are unlimited in scope and open to every possibility. They have no preconceived notions. They don’t have the drumming of “don’ts” and “do’s” playing in their heads. 

They grab a crayon or brush and execute, allowing the mood of the moment to dictate where their inner feelings and thoughts will take them. Uncensored, yet at the same time innocent, their drawings may seem provocative or outlandish. Children have no sense of shame or remorse until it is taught to them or they experience it through their parents or peers.

Children can be cruel at times. They haven’t learned how to harness their feelings. They say what they think, and they act out what they feel. Children are wild and untamed until they are nurtured, molded and taught. Sometimes the teaching may curb their attitudes and actions; if severe, it may also cause them to sneak and to hide.

"Birch Tree Landscape"

As adults, we must maintain certain decorum. We must live by the rules in a rigid society. If we could dig beneath the layers of masking and conformity and allow the inner child to run free, we’d all be better off for it.

If we could run naked (at least in our minds) and once again feel the urgency of life, of love, and of beauty and capture this in our work, the freedom and flow would definitely affect our artistry.

Here are two great sites to explore more children’s artwork:

"Ryan's Pumpkin Patch"