My Teaching Philosophy

There is no right or wrong way to make art. There are different styles, methods and techniques. Different people prefer different aesthetics and everyone has their own unique preferences. That is the beauty of art making. In my experience working with children I find it most effective to provide encouragement and support to young art students in order to foster an enthusiasm for the arts that can carry them into adulthood. I teach the basic fundamentals of art and expose students to the styles of different artists, while still encouraging them to follow their own creative path. Art is a powerful tool of self-expression. It gives children a voice, their own voice, and that artistic voice should be free from judgement.

The feedback that young artists receive from adults and peers can have great power. Artwork is very personal and often embodies the artists thoughts and feelings. Due to this personal aspect of art, when an artist is given negative feedback or criticism it can feel like a personal insult. It is very hard for an artist to separate themselves from their work. That is why it is extremely important to be careful with the language you chose to use when discussing student's work. Just as students can be discouraged by adults and peers, they can also discourage themselves by comparing their work to others and having negative thoughts about their own artistic ability. I make sure to tell my students not to speak or think negatively about their own work, "no negative self-talk". It is fine not to like something that you have made, in fact you can learn a lot from work that you don't like.  By looking critically at your work you can find the parts that you don't like and maybe there are parts that you like too. From there, you can decide how to improve your next artwork. This is part of the creative process and an important part of art making.

The following quote says it quite nicely: "You make good work by (among other things) making lots of work that isn't good and gradually weeding out the parts that aren't good." - Art and Fear.

So much of art making is not actually about the final product. It is about the process. Much of modern art is about experimental art and giving students unconventional and challenging art projects (like painting with their toes, for example) helps them think outside the box and see unlimited potential in art. Many beloved modern artists developed unique styles through experimentation and the questioning of traditional methods of drawing and painting. Let children experiment, encourage the process and not the final product and discourage the idea of perfection. Keep art fun and exciting by letting go of preconceived ideas about outcome and giving into the creative process and uniqueness that each individual artist brings to their art form.

Additional Resources for Parents and Teachers:

Creativity and Play; Fostering Creativity

Art Influences Learning

The Artful Parent- Drawing with Kids using the Monart Method

8 Myths about Drawing Debunked

10 Drawing Myths that block your progress

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