There is just something magical about children and art. I raised 2 boys and they were much more interested in soccer and lacrosse. So stumbling upon other people's grandchildren who are interested in art is so much fun. Don't get me wrong, both of my boys are creative and skilled, it just wasn't cool to be like your mommy.
So I came across watercolor markers that I was not using. Knowing they would only dry-out and get thrown away, I passed them on to this little artist. Masterpiece!
And what about adding a 3rd dimension to the equation, modeling clay? Well, it turns out that children are just as free with sculpting as drawing. It shouldn't surprise me, as I recall carving the new bars of Ivory soap as a child. They were turtles and elephants, who were still used in the bathtub to clean our little bodies. (just in animal form or shavings)
Elephants have as much complexity in their character as they do in their pachyderm skin. They are social beings, with a high degree of emotional intelligence, attachment to each other and rituals for their birth, child-rearing, and dying. When an elephant comes across a bone or tusk of a fallen friend, they pick up that artifact and return it to the exact remains. Scientists have no idea how they identify the correct source. This is the story of "Legacy" pictured above. He has found the tusk of a larger elephant, killed in the poaching process, and takes the time to sit down and mourn. Sitting is not common for an elephant because returning to a standing position is too difficult with its large mass. They even sleep standing.
I decided not to interrupt the creative process with accuracy, measurement or likeness and the end result was beautiful The girls both sculpted their version of their elephant and loved creating the texture with loofas, tools and bare hands. When children make art, it is "unadulterated." I guess the definition of that word is spot on. Somewhere along the line, this free creative expression is socialized out of us as we grow to become adults. Art teachers know how to preserve this childlike wonder in their students. I can't emphasize the importance of art in the schools, as each child is unique and does not fit into the cookie-cutter approach to reading and writing. Art teachers are invaluable.