Monday, February 1, 2016

Give your Children the Gifts of Laughter and Light

Art is everywhere! Famous names are on totes, I-pads, smartphones, T-shirts and housewares. No longer is an artist limited to selling wall art. 

A prolific local artist, Leoma Lovegrove, has splashed colorful flowers and local scenes on everything but the kitchen sink. One of her creations became the poster for this year's Art Fest Fort Myers.

You may want to explore the Art Fest Gallery of showing artists for the 2016 Festival or get information on where it’s held or how to register for the show. We’re all hoping that the El Niño rains we’ve had this winter will not spoil this treasured annual event.

Today, the abundant exposure to art has given the public new avenues for their own creativity. Groups are gathering in the afternoons for coloring book parties, but these are not your mother’s coloring books! These babies are created by real artists and made for adults. The detail is exquisite. Pages of natural wonders, Zen, art nouveau, whimsical designs, Mehndi, calming patterns and magnificent creatures adorn their pages.
Using colored pencils or markers, one member described it this way. “It’s so relaxing! By the time we're finished, I feel rested and renewed." The sociability afterward doesn't hurt either.

I gave my 14 year old grandson an adult coloring book from Doodler’s Anonymous. This one was large, but rather expensive. I noticed that smaller and cheaper ones are sold at the Tuesday Morning outlets or online at

If you're a doodler, you will love the variety of fun at Doodler's Anonymous from contests, to featured artists and demonstrations to coloring books and tips. You learn something new every issue.  Doodler's Anonymous

Experimenting with art is fun! My daughter is an art teacher who enjoys creating new projects for her students. She related that a football player came into class snubbing art thinking it was for losers. His sister was a gifted artist in another one of her classes. My daughter was able to grab his interest and pair it with sibling competition creating a level of tension that brought out his latent talents. By the end of the semester he was not only excelling, but enjoying the artistic process.

The purpose of art education is not only to inspire budding artists, but to help everyone gain an appreciation for art through exposure. The earlier this starts the better. Even toddlers can gain insight as they learn about the various colors and shapes that are seen in nature.

Unfortunately, there is a glaring increase in depression and suicidal acts throughout the world. If one life can be saved by brightening their world with color and joy, we should make every effort to do so.

Reading to your children, making them aware of the beauties in nature, exposing them to the arts may save their lives at a future time in life. Focusing on light and laughter makes it almost impossible to be dark and morose. Probably the best gift you could ever give someone.
"Fairy Glen" oil on canvas
Leoma Lovegrove at work: