The old adage “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is probably never so true as in the world of art. Each person who beholds their work views many famous artists such as Pablo Picasso, Georgia O’Keefe, and Gustav Klimt, and their collective paintings very differently. It’s one of the wonderful things about art. Everyone interprets a painting or a sculpture in their own unique way.
However, if you are a mother, you interpret art on a different level. Some people could look at a painting by a famous artist beside a finger painting of a not-so-famous kindergartner, and see very little difference. Of course, these people have no depth of understanding or appreciation for art. On the other hand, a mother can look at the same finger painting, and if that kindergartner happens to be her own, she will see a finer piece of art than any Monet she has ever laid eyes on.
When young children study art in school, they do learn about famous artists and their techniques, but they learn a great deal more when they attempt to apply those techniques to artwork of their own. Some children are carefree and abstract, while others are careful and meticulous in their attempts to create their masterpieces. In art, there is no correct or incorrect way – especially when you’re a child.
An important thing to remember though is that young children are going out on the proverbial limb by expressing themselves in this way. When a child draws or paints what they see, feel, or experience, it may seem to be done with inhibition and almost carelessness, but in fact they work hard tapping into their developing brains and are proud of what they are creating. They want to be famous artists in their own way.
All it takes to crush a child’s artistic spirit is to simply nod and throw an empty compliment their way. To make your child feel like a little Van Gogh, take a genuine interest in what they’ve created. Ask questions about it, point out specific things about it that you like or find interesting, and then proudly display their art on the refrigerator or wall. It doesn’t have to become a permanent fixture of the home, just leave it for a week or two or until you can replace it with a new creation. They may never become a famous artist, but they sure will feel like one, and that feeling will carry with them always – and with you.