The purpose of children’s art is to give them an opportunity for expression rather than creating work for display. It’s the process, not the product.
“The free expression of children in art is necessary for the healthy growth of the individual. Emotional and mental disturbances result when children are confronted with the imposition of an adult’s concept of good art.”
– the late Dr. Viktor Lowenfeld, professor of art education, Pennsylvania State University.
Certainly some paintings will be pleasing and it seems natural to be excited and to shower the artist with praise. However, instead of praise, we can acknowledge their effort and perseverance.
It is not good to comment about the value of the painting or to jump to conclusions of what the painting represents. The child needs to know that he doesn’t have to give an explanation of his work to anyone.
Here are some suggestions on how to comment on children’s art –
- “Tell me about your painting.”
- “I love seeing you do such careful work! You did it!”
- A hug or a pat on the shoulder acknowledges his effort.
When children seek approval adults will often say,
“Oh you are so clever!
I think it looks like a ……
It is the best picture!
It is better than the one you did last time.”
But, praise from an adult causes a child to think that the adult is the judge, and this influences his artistic expression. He will then try to do something acceptable which is likely to please the adult’s taste.
It is preferable for the child to rely on his own judgement as far as his work is concerned. It is good to convey your approval of what he is doing and that you are pleased for him about his progress.
Another good reason for adults not to judge or comment is because some children, one in four, are not visually minded and find it hard to copy. Their art might not make sense to the viewer, because they represent their thoughts and feelings rather than a visual representation. If we try to make them draw and paint in a more visual way, we simply block their development.
Often parents display their child’s artwork prominently or publicly. I suggest you only do this with his consent. He doesn’t need this as incentive to paint and draw.
“The goal of education is not the art itself, or the aesthetic product, or the aesthetic experience, but rather the child who grows up more creatively and sensitively and applies his experience in the arts to whatever life situations may be applicable.”
– Dr. Viktor Lowenfeld.
Allow him to enjoy the process and be sensitive about how you play your part. This will bring the creative session to a successful conclusion.
Please share and leave a comment below – Dawn.