Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Dot

One of my wishes for children is for them to be surrounded by an endless supply of art materials with which to create an endless amount of art to be shared and conversed about all over the world. Isn't it Pablo Picasso who said something along the lines of it takes a lifetime to paint like a child. I agree. As adults we tend to focus on form rather than process where a child is all about process and not form. As a parent, I am trying to remove myself from my daughter's art. I am not showing her how to, but rather working along side of her. My biggest pet peeve is coloring books. Why present a finished form for a child to color in when a blank piece of paper allows for so much more creativity. Emmy has a wonderful sketch book that she fills with lines and circles in all the colors of the rainbow. It's one of our favorite "books" to look at.

A wonderful book to help a child (or an adult) with understanding that we all have the ability to create something wonderful is The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds. When a young girl is hesitant to draw, her teacher says, "Just make a mark and see where it takes you." And when the girl makes an angry dot, the teacher responds, "Now sign it." This very wise teacher takes this picture, frames it beautifully and hangs it in a prominent place in the classroom. Upon seeing her art hung, this budding artist is inspired to create even greater pictures filled with dots. This book is such a treat. When the end comes, you just want to hug it. The author sends a very important message to young and old alike - be brave about expressing yourself!

I believe I've mentioned in an earlier post about how I like to share a bit about the author or illustrator with Emmy. Well I found out that Reynolds was a reluctant reader but an incessant doodler as a child. The word "doodler" just cracks Emmy up. She likes to pretend that she is doodling when she gets out her art materials. How do I explain to her that she is not pretending, but truly doodling?

This is what Peter H. Reynolds has to say about art and children:

"I often visit classrooms and ask who loves to draw," he says. "In kindergarten and first grade, all the hands go up. In second grade, most of the hands go up. In third grade, half the hands are up. By fourth and fifth grade, most of the hands are down, or perhaps pointing to ‘the class artist.’ It’s sad to see the artistic, creative energy slowing down, being packed away. I am convinced it’s because children learn early that there are ‘rules’ to follow. But when it comes to expressing yourself, you can invent your own rules. You can change them, you can stretch them, or you can ignore them all and dive headfirst into the unknown."

I hope that this inspires all of my followers to go out and buy a sketchbook and start doodling!

"All children are artists. The problem is how to
remain an artist once he grows up.
Pablo Picasso


  1. I went to a mother's day outing where we did "touch painting". It was an amazing process wherein the soul is allowed to draw and create without the art critic chiming in. Google it to find out more. It was fantastic. It definitely made me think that was what children felt like when drawing.

  2. How absolutely wonderful! To truly feel the creative process of a child sounds magical. Thanks for commenting.