Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hazel’s Art Gallery

Hazel is my little artist.  She really truly loves creating things, and has such a spunky little style that is all her own.  She’s fascinated with art and artists and styles.  She’ll look through art books and sort of copy things, but add her own little flare.  Her favorite ap on my iphone is one that quizzes you on different artists and paintings.  She enjoys art museums.

I love it.  Love love love it.  And I want to indulge it.  The question is, what do you do to help your child pursue his/her talents.  And, how do you even know if it’s a talent, maybe it’s just a passing phase, or maybe I’m just an overly proud parent?  This last question is a larger question, one I've had spinning around in my head for a few years, and I don’t know the answer.  I want to be really proactive as a parent in helping my children pursue their interests and develop their talents.  But, there’s such a find balance between exposing your kids to things to determine interest/talent and over programming them with so many pursuits that they don’t have time to be kids…..but that’s a blog post for another day. 

So, I’m busy trying to find ways to nurture the little artist inside of Hazel.  It seems like a tricky talent to nurture…..I mean, it’s not like gymnastics or sports where they take specific lessons and learn specific skills and just practice practice practice.  I feel strongly that I want to protect Hazel’s own unique sense of style, and I worry that if I sent her to an art class she might feel pressure to make things look a certain way.  I remember worrying about the same thing when I enrolled her in her first dance class when she was three.  I loved her funky dance moves and didn’t want her to think that she had to move her body in a certain way to be a good dancer.  And you know what?  She did stop busting out those funky dance moves for a little bit as she was trying to nail the shuffle-ball-change….but once she mastered those skills the funk came right back (and it was probably a bit more coordinated funk than it had been prior to the classes).

So, any ideas out there for nurturing your child's inner artist?  Classes? Art exposure? Art camps (they have one that looks awesome at the MFA….but it’s $$$).  Good websites?

While I’ve been mulling this over in my head the past few months Hazel has been busy setting up her own little art gallery on our kitchen wall.  A while back I explained how art galleries work to her and the wheels in her little-trying-to-earn-money-head started turning.  Thanks to some very kind friends and a gullible little brother Hazel has made exactly $3.45 selling her art.  I’ve had to beat a few people’s offers in order to keep a few of my favorites for myself.


  1. My kids have been in art lessons for five months and they've loved it, but it is VERY expensive. Art camps or a group class would be better when they are younger and then spend the big money on private lessons later on when they can actually learn some important techniques.
    There is a great magazine called Arts and Activities that a lot of art teachers use to get project ideas out of. artsandactivities.com
    If you walk Hazel through the steps of the projects, she'd have a great time.
    Also, I found Artworks Tempura Paint and it is fantastic. Great for mixing colors and it is creamily wonderful for kids. It comes in big tubes and isn't too expensive. Also essential: some nice 1/4 inch flat stiff brushes to go with the paint and some nice quality construction paper that won't soak in the paint.

  2. Sayds, I think you're doing exactly the right thing. What could be better than validating her own little art gallery and giving her access to art books and that art ap on your phone (I still need you to tell me what that one's called.) You are doing the perfect stuff for her to push her in her art career...you are loving that art and telling her she's good at it. Sure, art classes will be wonderful, and teachers will teacher her, but the validation of her mother is the best thing she can get as far as I'm concerned. Can she teach my kids art lessons this summer?

    Love, Shawni

  3. What a rich environment you are providing for your children. Your own artistic talents through photography will also inspire here. You can see this is what I saw what did you see? And then have her draw it out. I am also a big fan of helping children see new different things in the old things - take apart a radio - what can it now become? And let her decorate her own room. So much confidence can be gained over the years by letting her experiment with color and texture.

  4. Just keep doing what you are doing...

  5. Hey Saydi. Your kids are so creative, and Hazel is quite the budding artist. I get lots of good ideas from http://artfulparent.typepad.com/artfulparent/. Check out her post on 13 fun things to do with tempera paint. It looks fun, doesn't it!? She hosts an "art group" which sounds basically like a playgroup focused on art projects. They do really creative "process" rather that "product"-oriented activities, which emphasize exploration.

    Another good resource are books by Marianne Kohl (she has a whole series that you can find at the library) that are filled with good ideas to get creative juices flowing.

    Have fun! I really want to start an art play group this summer once we move back into our house.

  6. Hi Saydi, We have some budding artists at our house too. One very successful thing I've tried is to buy each of my girls their very own bound sketchbook and a set of nice pencils. I made each of them their own over-the-shoulder bag to carry them in and we take the sketchbooks with us to various events/outings. We have sketched the architecture at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, a church steeple in the South End, and our favorite paintings at the MFA. I try to buy the highest quality materials I can find and keep them in a safe place, though they are free to use them any time. We also hired a friend to teach art lessons last summer (much, much cheaper than a class or camp) and my girls LOVED it and learned so much. Maybe we can get our kids together to do something similar this summer! I can think of a million links to send you, but have run out of time. Remind me and I'll send them to you!



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