Friday, July 20, 2007

Pete's Art

Okay. So for Pete, art is about the experience and the medium rather than the final product. That is why, I think, in her seascape, which is supposed to contain a boat, the boat is not immediately obvious. It really doesn't look much like the example her teacher gave, but Pete was very pleased with it. I think her teacher was bothered by its abstractness. Where is the horizon line? Why is everything practically the same color? Where exactly is the boat? The seascape was the first project she did in her art class earlier this year. I admit, while I really did love her seascape, it bothered me a little too, that hers wasn't as "good" as the other children's, you know, the ones where you could tell what was going on. But she enjoyed painting it.

The pieces that most impressed her teacher and me, were the turtle print and her self portrait, which were done during the second session, after she had been going to art class for several months. By this time, though, Pete, who has wanted to be an artist since she was two, decided that art really isn't what she wants to do when she grows up. It wasn't as fun as it had been. It was Work, not an Experience. Her art "improved" from a grown-up perspective, and while it still has some of what we call scribble-scrabble, it has lost some of its free-ness. I see now that that is just wrong. Scribble-scrabble is important!

So what if her finger painting is all one color because Pete spent her time mushing the paint around until it got all blended together instead of making a "picture"? So what if her monster pastel drawing is missing a face (a faceless monster sounds pretty scary to me!)? So what if the stems in her flower garden collage don't all have flowers or if she got bored and didn't want to finish her marker dream house drawing (she can color with markers any time)?

Poor Pete! What's the matter with me that I want her art to look just like everyone else's art?

Sure, I want her to work hard and focus and learn stuff, but whether or not she can define perspective, why should she have to use it? It's art, for Pete's sake (haha). ART! Not graphic design for a print ad that has to be immediately recognizable as whatever it is intended to be.

I'm going to come up with some creative, fun project that is full of different sensations and let Pete figure out what the finished product should be. Then I'm going to give her paints or pastels or glue and scissors and magazines and make a suggestion for what she should make and see what we get.

Maybe she won't be an artist when she grows up. Maybe she'll be a teacher or a chef or a movie star or an engineer or something, but I want her to love art again. I want it to be fun again. Screw art class! Let's get our scribble-scrabble on!

3 comments:

Princess Sparkle Pants said...

This is my favorite post ever. I love that! I love your mommyness embracing art for art's sake! And, by the way, I think her seascape is beautiful.

Mommy's Nintendo said...

It's a stormy sea.

The grandpa formerly etc said...

The seascape is also one of my favorites, although the self portrait is the most impressive.

What a marvlous essay you just wrote. I know it's good because it makes me want to respond.

I think your plan is good. But don't totally rule out art class. Art to be art needs to be part of an ongoing process involving not just one person, but a whole range of experiences and impressions and responses and history. If Pete happens to become an artist, it will be because she's encouraged to express erself in her way. But that's only part of it. She also needs to be exposed to how others express themselves and learn to see through others' eyes. That, in a nutshell, is the base vlue of lessons. Exposure to art.

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