Kids Painting

The weekend before Thanksgiving I was part of another Open House held at a friend's home here in St. Louis. I rushed and scurried to finish paintings, get my calenders together, mat pictures and price everything for this open house. My girlfriends did the same creating wreathes and Christmas trees to cover every flat surface and wall in the house. It was beautiful. Then for three days bunches of people - mostly women came and hung out, perused each room, drank some cider, ate cookies and eventually bought some of our handmade items. It was really lots of fun. This my wreath my very talented friend Krissy made. So on the last day, I promised to teach my friend's grandkids to watercolor paint - ages 8, 6 and 5. I do love teaching kids who WANT to paint. I give them simple instructions mostly on how to get the paint out of the brush by pressing the brush down gently to the bottom of the water bowl before dipping the brush in a different color. I let them watch me and then it's their turn. I let them use my artist grade paints, watercolor paper and good brushes. They're welcome to copy something I've already painted or I'll help them come up with an idea, but one thing I don't do is put my hand to their work of art. I want it to be all theirs and that's what makes it so special. I'm amazed at how well children do at painting - even if they do copy. But, it's never an "exact" copy. It's still theirs. But beyond that is their attitude and pride in creating something from just white paper. They have every reason to be proud. So I make sure we place their little works of art on mat board so they can be displayed in the best light possible. It's so fun and mostly I love to see how proud they are of what they made.

TAAA dahhhhh... A couple hours later after the kids were done and they went home to show their mom their paintings, two of my "adult" friends decided to create their own little Christmas painting. They knew what to do because they had watched me teach the little ones. What made me sad was just how they "judged" themselves and their work the entire time they were painting...

"I can't draw a straight line."

"My painting stinks."

"I can't do this..."

Like the children they were first time watercolor artists. But unlike the kids, fear of not doing it right, or perfect, or like mine showed in the art. This made me sad. Are we so worried about the outcome that we absolutely do not enjoy the process? Why can't we just see what we can do and who cares? After much begging, I ended up doing a sketch for each of them which they filled in with color. I talked one of my friends from throwing away her little watercolor paintings, convincing her she would like them later. Somewhere between 8 and 38 we just lose that ability to just give it a try and enjoy. See what happens. Then celebrate what you create. ALWAYS celebrate what you create.