Grandma’s (click to enlarge)
Granddaughter’s (click to enlarge)
It went something like this: “Grandma? What are you going to do with these bottles?”
“I am going to use them to draw and paint because they really help artists improve their seeing. ”
“I want to paint them!!!!” Please?”
That was all it took. I have been sharing creating art with my Granddaughter ever since she was a little older than one. I made a few rules for myself, early on. I told myself that I would not interfere with her vision and listen carefully to what she said. I also decided that she would use my professional materials and I would need to be vigilant so nothing would go in her mouth that shouldn’t . The only exception to the second rule was when we would find something “Awesome” that was made for children and we, both, could not resist trying it. There is nothing I dislike more than seeing a child given inadequate tools to create art. If the color is not bright and the materials are difficult to work with, how many would be inspired to continue? Oh well. That’s a bug-a-boo of mine. The last rule was that I would NOT push her. I would offer to share creating art with her, but not make her. This has worked for us.
The above project was done over a period of three sessions (one a day.)
We drew our still life. I suggested she look carefully at the objects I had grouped on the table and that she pretend she was tracing their shape on the paper. She immediately got up from the table and began drawing the objects as I began mine.
I said, “Why are you moving around?”
“Because I want to see the bottles.”
“You can sit and draw what you see of them from your seat.” I responded.
“But I want the whole bottle, Grandma.”
I watched her circle the table and draw each one. Note I have eight glass objects and she does, too. She studied each object very diligently and drew with such care. She then sat back down with her drawing in front of her and looked over at mine. I heard a little gasp.
“Mine doesn’t look like yours.”
I looked over at hers and said, “Oh. You did each one as a study.”
“But it doesn’t look like yours!”
“That’s GREAT!. That means it is your perception and not mine! Art isn’t about your work looking like mine, but about you creating something from inside you that is just from you! Yours is not supposed to look like mine. There is not a right or wrong unless you decide there is a right or wrong when you draw and paint.”
I can’t tell you the joy I felt as she looked at me and said, “I like that.”, as she pointed at my drawing. She then said, “I like this, too”, pointing to hers. “What is that line on yours?”
“Behind the bottles.”
“Oh, that’s the table line. It makes it look like the bottles are sitting on something.”
“Can I have one?”
I handed her the ruler. “Of course.”
We, next, painted our still life drawing with watercolor and allowed it to dry overnight. I pointed out to her some of the things I noticed in her drawing like how she got the perspective correct for the openings at the top of her vases and bottles; the way they actually looked. The one vase curves outward at the top and has a rather large bowl at the bottom. She got the tall and straight one and the oval looking one beautifully. The other thing I was amazed with is that she had them proportioned pretty well in comparison to each other. Sometimes I think we rush children too much. They do not “see” the same way we see. We often rush to judgement in our desire to perfect them and don’t give them time to grow in steps. I forget what approach in art it is to circle objects and put the shapes together. Does that have something to do with cubism? Did my Granddaughter just do a little of that to organise what she saw sitting before her? Her shapes aren’t perfect, but either are mine. She was studying them or she would not have the perspective correct or the proportions. I have viewed art like she has created, above……. and it makes me want to search through old classics and modern art and all there is out there to connect. I guess my point is that I learn every bit as much from watching her as she does by watching me.
The other thought that comes to me is how important it is to share anything with our children and Grandchildren. Anything! Fishing, bike riding, swimming, reading, cooking! Their exposure to sharing what we do is so valuable. We are helping them to communicate, learn something they can do in their spare time their entire lives and we are offering them a way to have confidence in themselves. …and probably much more.
We allowed our paintings to dry overnight and the real fun began. We cut all sorts of rice papers up and glued them to the surface of our glass objects we’d drawn and painted. We used acrylic matte medium with a little water in it and applied it to the support and collage papers, overlapping the rice paper shapes as we went. After allowing that to dry overnight, we again painted the glass objects to achieve the finished paintings, above.
If you click the above images, you can see the different textures of the rice papers we used.