Whenever I started a new art class, I always gave my students one important rule: Have fun!
If you are a homeschooling mom or dad and are teaching art, this rule applies to you too. I see a lot of parents who become frustrated trying to teach art to their children. And one of the reasons, in my opinion, is that they’re not sure how to critique their child’s work.
After all, when your child brings you a piece of art that looks like it could be at home in the abstract art section of any art museum, and then asks if you like it, what do you say? This is particularly difficult when it’s obvious to your child that this is a picture of something.
Often, you find yourself standing there turning the picture in different directions, just trying to figure out what it is. And you diplomatically try to find a way to compliment your child’s masterpiece without revealing your ignorance of the subject matter.
You usually come out with something like, “Oh that’s so beautiful. It’s the best one of those you’ve ever done.”
If we’re lucky, our child accepts the praise and doesn’t ask the dreaded question, “But does it really look like a… (Fill in the blank)?”
If we’re unlucky, our child asks exactly that question. And then we squirm and try to figure out a nice way to critique the picture without hurting her feelings.
The question of whether to critique or not is a thorny one. If you’re going to teach art to your children sooner or later you are going to have to critique their work. But how do you do that when you’re not an artist yourself? More important, how do you critique a children’s artwork without hurting their feelings and discouraging them from even trying?
But before you even get to the matter of critique, you need to keep the number one rule in mind: Have fun.
I’m convinced that most children who quit drawing do so because it’s not fun anymore. Very young children love to draw and scribble and make enough paintings to plaster the average refrigerator several times over. But once those children get into elementary school and have to learn “art,” for many the fun goes away. Something that came naturally and was fun has now become work.
God made us in His image, and that means that creativity is part of our nature. When God finished His creation, he said, “It is very good.” Remember that when your child brings you a picture she’s drawn, she is feeling that same sense of satisfaction. In her eyes, it is very good. And that is not the time to enter into a discussion of the proper way to draw a horse (or whatever!).
The time for critique will come. But first comes the joy of creating something and delighting in that creation. Let them have fun.
By the way, are you having fun yet?
Take your art to the next level with See the Light videos:
Create a Collage in the Style of French Artist Henri Rousseau. Paper Jungle includes an in-depth art history focus on the style of Henri Rousseau, explores related art elements (shape, space, color) and art principles (grounds, scale, layering). Biblical content is woven into every single lesson. Start creating now with instant access to these downloadable video art lessons!
A mastery of perspective will help you to create stunning landscapes. In Art Class Volume 7, Pat Knepley will walk you through key concepts in landscape drawing. Lessons include: One-Point Perspective, Two-Point Perspective, The Landscape, and The Landscape (Pt. 2).
[Note: This is the DVD version of Art Class. If you’re looking for the downloadable version, go HERE.]
Learn how to draw with 36 step-by-step lessons, taught by Master Artist Pat Knepley. All lessons include art history, and Biblical truth is integrated into every lesson.This 9-volume DVD set contains a full school year’s worth of art instruction and will give your child the tools she needs to draw what she sees.