Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Self-confidence in the scribbles

Is a great artist born or made? The question is on view in a new book, When We Were Young: New Perspectives on the Art of a Child, and exhibit at the Phillips Collection in Washington, where the childhood drawings of Picasso, Klee, and Van Gogh are on display. The picture here was drawn by 9-year-old Picasso.

“Early childhood is a formative period,” according to the story on “And Jonathon Fineberg (the book’s author) says that it shapes a personality, and that the preoccupations and interests in a child set a course for adulthood. That's something you can see in the work of American painter, Winslow Homer, for example.”

Fineburg says there is a subtle self-confidence in the line drawings and scribbles of the early works of famous artists. See for yourself on this online gallery of a child’s early works juxtaposed with the famous pieces later created in adulthood.

As for responding to a child's art, the best thing I ever heard was this: It's not so important to praise a child's work when they show you a picture. Instead, help them see the picture in a different way. Hold it up to a window, point out the colors, and name the colors. Say, "What do you think?" "Tell me about this." "Why did you use blue there?" "Thank you for sharing this picture with me." The point is to use the art for talking together, and listening, so the art produces a bond through discussion and a sharing of ideas, instead of praise.

No comments: