Everywhere you look you see a child in front of a TV, a tablet, a computer, or a smart phone. It seems as years go by, the children get distracted by these devices at a younger age. With all the advances in digital technology and social media in the 21st century kids spend less time doing kid things. When I was younger I enjoyed to sew from the fabric scraps my mother had, or play in the snow. In the summer running through the parks discovering nature, or sitting back reading a paperback book were some of my favorite past times. There was no such things as YouTube tutorials, and how-to-do apps.
As much as these advancements serve a fantastic purpose, and can be a great tool for kids, all kids should "unplug" once in a while and learn to create fun from their OWN imagination through self-guided discovery.
Some of the best artists did things at their time that were considered "eccentric", or their art wasn't even considered art, or masterpieces because it was "different". Being different is OK. With TV, and Media constantly putting pressure on our children to look and be a certain way 24-7 whether to compete with other children in school, or to be a team player "popular" no lesson is more valuable for them to learn than to be their OWN person.
Art allows a child to be weird, different, eccentric, outgoing, introverted, sad, happy, mad, or glad in a productive way that not only helps them gain confidence and healing, but it also helps them develop their own identity. Kids who are confident in their individuality do better in school, and socially as well. In the attempt to make our kids more well rounded so that they can become productive adults we sometimes forget to let their hearts guide their path.
Art speaks what no words can, in a beautiful way. Some of the greatest pieces of art I ever made were composed of beautiful mistakes. Art teaches kids that they can make lemonade out of lemons, and it also teaches them to search for beauty in every facet of life.
I took my first acrylic painting class when I was 13, and followed up that learning with taking graphic design in high school. My first painting class consisted of 8 weeks of 1 hour classes in a non-structured lesson plan environment. Basically, you were given a blank stapled canvass, bottles of cheap acrylic paint in the 5 basic primary colors, and were told ready-set-go. In my graphics design class we always received a lesson and then completed an art activity related to the lesson that was shown that same day. Classes in high school were also under an hour.
Nowadays you can purchase an art book from a store, and learn just about any skill set through disciplined study. So then the questions we must ask ourselves when choosing an art teacher to learn from are:
1. What is the need/ purpose of an art teacher
2. What can an art teacher teach you in-person that you can not get from an art book?
The answer to the first question is simply.....
"A great art teacher inspires their student first, and guides their student to develop their creativity, technique to discover their own style."
The answer to the second question are the following 3 qualities:
1. GREAT PERSONALITY: They have excellent/ above average customer service skills.
2. DIVERSE IN MULTIPLE ART GENRES/ MEDIUMS: A great art teacher is a student themselves who is always expanding his/ or her horizons by developing their current artistic skill set by trying new mediums, and learning a variety of genres.
3. INTERMEDIATE- MASTERY OF CHOSEN SKILL-SET TEACHING: I have always believed that as a teacher you must always be in tune with current industry trends and be continually educating yourself on new techniques and artistic methods. That being said, as long as you have created works, there is a skill set that you posses, and must master to teach your students well. Just because some one is a great artist, does not mean they will be a great art teacher, no matter how much of an art education they have. Teaching is not easy, and is one of the most challenging and rewarding careers if done right. It is great to teach traditional methods (foundation skillets) such as:
But unless you can unravel the mysteries of creating artwork, and make learning art less intimidating, more fun, and keep your student's engaged from the beginning to the end of the class, you have not yet mastered the 3 top qualities. Never under estimate your student's potential, as you will be surprised what you can learn from them
Stephanie A.E Strugar
Certified Grumbacher Painting & Drawing Instructor.
She is a retired Certified Face/ Body & Temporary Tattoo Artist.
Caricaturist. She is currently an active
Public Speaker, Consultant, and Arts Educator in the Manitoba and greater Canada area.