We used to wonder about what I might call Little Kid Art for which school children were given Styrofoam meat trays on which to produce a collage ... or macaroni for necklaces. I figured that since it was all supposed to be fun, those in charge thought that good materials were the least of it ... although my own mother had the opposite view. She always gave my brother and me good paper for our artwork. We both had our own red sable brush, not something made from pig whiskers. She figured that using good materials gave one a sense of self-worth.
But somewhere along the way kids have been told that whatever they produce is just Jolly Marvelous. That's because we mustn't tamper with their sense of self-expression which would stunt their growth. Rather than directing them in any way, we must let them go along at their merry pace. Well, I can see some sense in that. But, I can also see the advantage of raising their standards by expecting more from them than meat-tray art.
A friend and I once judged some local student art, giving prizes for watercolor, drawing, and painting. The painting turned out to be mostly acrylic, not oils. Nothing wrong with acrylics but oils are an excellent medium and not hard to use. The drawings were done with pencil and pen-and-ink, as you would imagine. The "watercolors" were done with colored pens. No tubes of paint. No brush-work. Just colored drawings. My friend and I had a hard time finding any piece that was actually done with watercolor paint, using a brush. The students probably went from pre-k poster paint to colored pens, never venturing into watercolor at all.
I suppose little kids in the Old Days were busy doing other things: bringing in the cows, helping make the family's candles, walking miles to/from school. I know almost nothing about one of my great grandmothers except that she lived in Maryland and produced a truly beautiful needlework sampler--her own embroidery--in 1829 when she was either nine or ten. She was surely given some direction in handling the medium (embroidery) ... as well as in doing as good a job as possible so that she could feel pleased with the result. She surely was not simply given a needle, some "twist" (embroidery floss), and told, "Susan, go for it!"
Just something I wanted to say!
|Sorry, discoloration in all these photos is really my reflection in the glass.|