Monday, April 16, 2012

Kids and Art

Ellis and I do a lot of art together.

But I must admit, I frequently have much angst over it all. My angst exists on many levels.

1.  He is not interested in making his art "beautiful".

2.  He wants to do it as fast as possible and be done with it.

3.  He just wants to ruin the art supplies or our house or his clothes.

4.  When he mixes paints, he always wants to mix to brown.  ARGH!

5.  He's way more engaged by packaged crafts--crappy projects from Joanns--rather than inspired by the high-quality art supplies that I make available.

Spiderman mask colored entirely red, requiring no imagination whatsoever.
scrapbooking stickers, torn apart and stuck on paper as fast as possible.
Spiderman mask, backwards.
6.  I'm an artist!  Why doesn't he want to make careful art with me???

This post by Crappy Pictures is a pretty good representation of the way an art session goes at our house.

I get frustrated.  It troubles me.  What if I wreck art for him forever by being this crazy art mom?  I can picture him, years from now, in some accounting job, free of art, lamenting the number of times I suggested he try a different color or, perhaps, put more than one crayon mark on a single page.

Sometimes I succeed in detaching from the process and letting him just be, just experience the materials, which is what I know it should be about at this stage.  But it's so hard.  He wants to break the crayons.  And waste paper (but is it wasted if he's "doing art"?)  He wants to tear the stamps off of their bases and use the bases for blocks.  He wants to dump the paint and suck on the paintbrushes.  Death by art.  He wants to cut my tablecloths.  (He has cut my awesome oilcloth tablecloth, my vintage strawberry tablecloth, art I've made, and special books of mine.  Why, oh, why did I teach him to use scissors and then leave the scissors all over the house?)

Finally, it's not fun.  Man, I really thought this parenting gig was going to be way more fun, like pure fun without all of this analysis and second guessing.  Why can't we just hang out and make things and get lost in the beauty of that?

Here, of course, I'm falling into the trap of imagining some idealized vision and not living in the reality of my life.  Frankly, my life is pretty sweet.  I get to hang out with a really interesting human all day, everyday.  Except for two hours a day when he goes to school and I get to do whatever I want to do.

Yeah.  These are probably the right problems to have.

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