I spent yesterday with my young siblings in-law, R, W, and M. It was the first time I had spent quality time with 6-year-old R (who changed her name from “Anna” a few years back), and she is much more articulate and opinionated than last I saw her. She has a good control of a pencil for her age, but lacks confidence. On the wall is a drawing of two giraffes, and it is a very good cartoon, giving the animals a bit of life. I sat with her at the table, and we played drawing games. She filled up an A4 page with stars and love hearts, and then she asked what else she could include. I suggested some planets, and she told me only two planets have rings around them, and that she had to draw each planet “under” the stars. We talked about how each star was a sun, like our sun, and actually planets went round them in big oval loops, but she found this a bit startling or confusing. R has very firm opinions – for example she felt only two planets had rings about them. She was not happy with how she draws stars, so I taught her the “trick” of drawing them from two interposed triangles. She seemed happy with that.
I think it would be nice, both for them and for me, to take on the kids, maybe some of their friends, for painting lessons. I had some very good painting lessons as a kid from a Hawaiian woman who worked as a substitute art teacher in Thames. We all sat in a circle, used Resene test pots of acrylic, and painted objects placed in the centre of the room, all with different exercises – fun ones – like painting solely with cardboard. At any rate, there is something in the earnest attitude of kids to drawing and learning that I must not surrender in my own attitudes toward art.