Artwork is a process not an outcome.

Messy and fun go together!

Kids need to have access to many kinds or artistic materials.

The problem with many of us is that we expect them to “make a picture”. That’s not the way it happens…

Kids need to explore the materials and unless you are able to allow a few messy moments, they won’t really learn.

I remember one day care friend of mine who refused to put paint brush to paper for the longest time. She’d dab colors onto her brush then happily rinse them in the water to watch the color change. No problem! She got around to the paper eventually and with a healthy “eye” for color, I might add.

If you stand back and watch, the kids really do know what they are doing. It probably is not what you expected but let them go. Paint does not only have a color, it has a texture too. Adding water or using sponges to paint with, makes for great fun and learning.

In the beginning of my day care career, I expected a pretty picture to send home to Mom and Dad. Being an artist myself, I quickly realized that those muddy brown ones were the best example of an artistic learning experience. I inform all of my parents of this and they enjoy knowing that artwork is a process.

There are predictable levels of developement that parents should know.

  1. muddy messes need to happen.
  2. watch for the artwork to begin to fill the paper.
  3. watch for colors becoming more divided.
  4. watch for doodles that are named after creation.
  5. watch for the planning of a picture before doodles.

All these things can keep the parents’ interest and, after all, that’s what is really important to the kids.

Offer to post your child’s artwork on the refrigerator for viewing BUT don’t if they resist. They know the difference between work that they are proud of and just a mess too.

Interacting with the kids when they draw or paint is the most important part. Resist that temptation to give them paint,paper,water and back to the TV you go. (Once in a while it’s OK.) The kids really enjoy feedback as they play.

  • “What lovely colors!”
  • “That looks like a fish.”
  • “If you don’t want a hole through your paper, try using less water.”

If you are patient and involved, those beautiful artworks for the office bulletin board will be masterpieces and you’ll have had a lot of fun!



2 thoughts on “Artwork is a process not an outcome.

  1. Sounds like excellent advice. I was too impatient to allow all those steps to occur.
    It’s a wonder Susan though, that I did not ruin your artistic impulses.
    Your Mother

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