I am an artist. I’ve discovered my inner passion for art at the ripe age of 35. I’m no Mary Cassatt or Frida Kahlo but I am definitely a right-brained individual. Hey, Grandma Moses didn’t discover her inner talent of being an artist until the tender age of 76! I discovered my love of art through teaching my children about it. My motto is to have my daughters create art every day.
I home-school my two daughters, they are ages five and two-years-old. I am currently in my second year of home-schooling. Last year I home-schooled my oldest daughter for preschool. During the preschool year I created art lessons on various artists such as: Jackson Pollock, Edgar Degas, Vincent van Gogh, Jacob Lawrence, Pablo Picasso, Michelangelo, Henri Matisse, Andy Warhol and Georgia O’Keeffe. I found while researching these artists and creating activities to tie into the lessons for my daughter, I became inspired.
I was fascinated by their history and what they accomplished. I wanted to create innovative and stimulating art projects that would cement the idea of who these artists were and what they accomplished to my then four-year-old daughter. During the art lessons I found that both she and I were becoming art enthusiasts.
When I started home-schooling my daughter for Kindergarten this past September I made the commitment to have her create art every day. My 5-year-old, Sydney, is an early riser. Each morning she’d walk into my bedroom and come over to my side of the bed and say, “Mommy, can you get up now?” To counter her coming into my bedroom so very early in the morning I set up a craft for her each night after she went to bed for her to have for the next morning. When she woke up she could come downstairs and find something new to create.
For the month of September the Kindergarten theme in our house was all about apples. Each night I’d lay out various art tools for her to conjure up some creation. The art tools would consist of anything from glitter, glue, tape, scissors, play-doh, paints, paint brushes, stickers, Popsicle sticks, do-a-dots, markers, crayons, colored pencils, Model Magic etc. Sydney would create something that tied into our apple theme, like glitter apples that represented a Granny Smith or Golden Delicious apple.
About midway through the month of September, Sydney started creating projects that had nothing to do with the September Kindergarten theme of apples. One morning she made a pop-up mail delivery truck. I was really awestruck when she presented it to me. The mail truck was three-dimensional with all the proper pieces. I asked her what inspired her to make it; she said it was the fact that the mailman dropped off an American Girl magazine the previous day which made her so happy. She was paying homage to the mailman for his kind deed.
Sometime at the end of our first month of home-school Kindergarten Sydney started making a fairy journal. Each morning she’d create a new page that she’d tape into her homemade fairy journal. She dedicated much of her free time to crafting this fairy journal; the detail was exquisite (so says her proud mother!)
Sydney takes an art class once a week at the Cape Cod Conservatory. She is the oldest child in the class. The next level art class groups students in the age range from five to eight years old, which would make Sydney the youngest student in the class. I asked her art teacher when she thinks I should bump Sydney up to the next level. At the beginning of September her teacher thought she was right where she needed to be. In November her art teacher pulled me aside and said that her art skills have developed at such a rapid pace she wants to bump her up to the next level right away.
I too had noticed a major difference in Sydney’s art skills. Her shapes were so precise and the details in her project were striking. I credit her rapid advance in her art skills to the fact that each morning she creates art. She decides what she is going to make, what tools she is going to use and then lets her imagination run wild.
Every night when my husband and I put our two daughters to bed, Sydney asks me what I am going to leave out for her the next day. You see, I never leave out the same thing more than once. I like to mix up what tools I leave out for her to keep it fresh, which at times puts me in a quandary… what am I going to leave out for her tonight? I don’t just leave out watercolors and paper. I leave out ribbons and tissue paper and construction paper that can be tied together to make an ocean scene. At times Sydney’s really been into particular a book, like Lili at Ballet by Rachel Isadora, so I’ve left out pieces of tulle, glitter, stickers, feathers and Popsicle sticks to represent the ballerina’s body and a single egg carton to represent the ballerina’s tutu. I provide the materials, she creates the art.
I am continually amazed with her masterpieces. I feel I’ve gotten in touch with my inner artist as well. At night, after my girls are tucked up and snug in bed, you can find me cutting out different size circles, making a paper chain dolls, rummaging through all of our random art supplies, cutting butcher block paper, setting up markers, colored pencils, paints, setting up art easels, etc. Sometimes if I have a good idea already in mind it can take me 20 minutes to set up, if the project is more elaborate than 20 minutes turns into an hour.
Every day my daughters have pencils, brushes and paints in their hands. They are given ample opportunity to express themselves each and every day. Picasso once said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” Art is such a paramount part of my daughters lives. I am grateful I’ve gotten the chance to discover my love of art, even at the tender age of 35!
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Courtney Cappallo of Massachusetts, USA. Courtney can be found homeschooling on her blog, Table of Four.
Photo credit to Courtney Cappallo.