Monday, December 13, 2010
On the Subject of Sketchbooks
Today I joined the Sketchbook Challenge. It begins January 1st and I am pretty excited. You can find out all the information HERE. I have been working in my sketchbook quite a bit lately because it seems that it is the only bit of art that I can find time for during the busy Christmas season. I can take it with me anywhere and work on it every free moment that I get. With my little compact watercolor set and my Koi waterbrush (Have I mentioned that I LOVE that thing!), I can even paint while helping out at my daughter's school or taking a shopping break at the bookstore with a Diet Coke. I am finding myself fascinated with other artist's sketchbooks too, that's why I am amazed at the timing of the Sketchbook Challenge. I know that I shouldn't be surprised at the timing but I am. I have been doing this art thing long enough to know that what you need always comes to you when you are ready for it, but I still find myself in amazement when it happens. I hope that I never get used to the "magic" feeling when the thing that I need appears at the perfect time. Now if I can just get better at the "trust" part of the whole thing. When things become frustrating, I need to trust that when the time is right, the thing I need will appear.My grandparents gave us a beautiful poinsettia for Christmas and I did a little sketch in my book of one of the flowers. I have been teaching art to my daughter's class at school so I decided to have them do a study on poinsettias. I had them do a quick sketch to understand the shape of the bracts and flowers before they tore the petal shapes out of tissue for their ornament project. They did great! I took my 4 year old with me and sat him down with all the supplies and just let him do his thing while I was teaching the class. I was shocked at what he did. His was every bit as nice as the rest of the class but I noticed something interesting. He just sat down and boldly did his thing while the majority of the older kids were somewhat panicked and critical of their work and not doing it "right" and using the word "can't". I HATE the word "can't". I had to ban the "can't" word from the classroom when I am teaching art. When do kid's develop this self critical attitude and fear of making mistakes? My little guy doesn't seem to have developed it yet but so many 9 year olds have. It is so interesting. What happens to them between 4 and 9? They had no reason to be critical of themselves, they all did wonderful art, but were so hard on themselves and some even seem paralyzed before they even tore a single tissue paper petal. I just found it so interesting, especially because when we become adults, we spend so much time trying to get rid of our fear of mistakes and critical attitudes. Apparently we didn't come into this world with these fears...when does this happen? Can it be avoided? I don't know but in an effort to combat this fear of making mistakes, I think I will go work on something scary...I think.