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
The perfect solution for a 2 hour getaway for new parents and couples with older children.
As a new parent I realized early on, that one on one time with my spouse is extremely important to keep the romance in our stress out so I began searching online for an activity to do as a couple one day a week. He is a sports guy, and I am a dancer, both activities were too time consuming for our 2 or 3 hour babysitting limits.
After searching through the Leisure guide and facebook for an activity that was affordable, fun, new, and started after 6:00pm, and ended around 7:30pm or 8:00pm during the week and weekends, the options looked limited, After a long day of work and baby care I wanted to make sure I came home sober with energy left to care for our child.
Most importantly, we wanted to save money and put our hard earned dollars into savings for our son. So what was the solution?
We both have an interest in art, so art classes looked like a great fit. Simply put, art classes are inexpensive in 6 sessions or more, and we are sharing a skill that we can pass onto our son when he is older by doing art with him. Finding art classes that start in the 6:30pm-8:30pm time range can be tricky, so when my son was old enough I began teaching beginner art classes in the evenings for adults.
If you are interested in attending, I would love to have you! To learn more:
In a world where boys are taught that to be masculine is to use physicality over emotions, art can teach them where gentleness is still masculine, and when to exercise the ladder.
Just like yoga and dance, art is another way for a young boy to see that his power and strength does not just lye in the size of his biceps, but in his heart as well. More and more these days young boys are developing eating disorders, considering plastic surgery, abusing steroids and energy drinks trying to be like the "loud and proud" men they see in movies, tv, video games, and music videos. Yes boys will be boys, and being physical is normal way for boys with developing testosterone to behave, but boys are emotional creatures too.
When boys are not taught how to effectively manage their emotions in difficult and stressful situations, they lash out physically or internally. Alot of young men are afraid to express their emotions in front of their peers as they get older, and in turn,push it deep down inside until they are overwhelmed with anxiety and lash out. I truly believe all young men are capable of being gentle physically,as long as they have a spiritual and creative outlet to safely express it in.
I have had the privilege of teaching young boys dance, yoga, and music from the ages of 2 and up, and have witnessed first hand how they can grow into gentleman who are respectful to women verbally, and less violent with their peers. When they play fight they know when to stop,and are much more equipped to verbally express their feelings before a serious conflict arises. Some of the boys I have instructed were the bully or were being bullied in school, and it amazed me how by simply listening to them nervously express their emotions when they first began to open up made a huge difference. All of a sudden they were asking to help me co-teach and would even bring me water and drawings, as well as food.
Art teaches boys how to engage in nature, science, history and various subjects in a non confrontational way. For boys with learning disabilities, or behavior challenges they can become and remain engaged in subjects that they may otherwise have done poorly in over time. Art not only raises boys mental intelligence, but their emotional as well.
Art naturally makes a person pause, slow down, and think about the world around them and allows for the greatest or most painful memories to be turned into something positive.
Whether you purchase them art kits for them to use at their leisure at home, or sign them up for an art class, a meditating child, is a more balanced child.
Art therapy, a proven method of recovery for those struggling with PTSD.
I wanted to use my experiences as an artist with a disability to help others, so in my early twenties I began working for various community and social service agencies on a part time basis. As I began to work full time, hearing peoples stories became too much.
I am sure you have read about firefighters, paramedics, policemen, nurses,doctors, soldiers, bus drivers, and social workers who have struggled with PTSD with very little success in recovery when reaching out for help. This truth remains partially because there is such a stigma around mental health.
Good news is thanks to social media and collaborative efforts by companies and not for profit organizations campaigns, the table has been opened to encourage people to talk about mental health, and be available to their loved ones if they need to talk. Slowly we are di stigmatizing mental health and PTSD, but there is still room for improvement.
As a caregiver, I truly believe that people who work in the social and public services industry really do care, and humans can only absorb so much pain before it boils over. These same everyday heroes tend to work over time, and
double time, giving very little space for downtime. Downtime is especially important for caregivers as they witness some of the worlds greatest tragedies. They run towards the fire when we run away, knowing they may never come back. Caregivers also feel at times over burdened, under-appreciated and simply like they aren't doing enough.
I left the community and social services industry in my mid twenties from burn out.I did not know I had PTSD till I learned more about it. I felt ashamed, as who was I to complain when other people around me were hurting so much more? I felt like I needed to be strong for them, and was scared to be judged or rejected if I spoke up about how much I was hurting. I would be okay for a while, then I would be triggered,and fall into depression. It was a vicious cycle, and as time went by it became harder to "stay happy" for a while again.
Thank goodness an artist's husband donated her art supplies to me when she passed away. I began to paint again. What I created was not for the purpose of sale or for me to post on instagram. It was just a way for me to divulge my most intimate pain in a private and healing way.
One day I was painting, and it dawned on me that I was no longer sad when I painted. I also realized I was happier more than I was sad. I had been painting for about 5 years when I had this Epiphany. Everyone heals differently in their own timing. Although I danced, sang and wrote songs, nothing quite expressed my deep emotions quite the same way as painting.
Counselling is paid for by work places, and I think dance, art or music classes should be too. Not only as a preventative measure for caregivers in the front-line, but also as a recommendation when they are beginning to show signs of distress.
As a workplace you can show your support to your staff by offering art classes in house, or creating a culture that stresses the importance of play hard as equally as they work hard. Providing these opportunities to your workers will make them more productive, help them keep the passion alive for what they do, and help decrease the turn around rate,.
I can honestly say in all of the workplaces I worked, not one of them ever reached out to me. When I reached out to them they simply suggested I took time off. Time off will only help a person so much. Extroverted and introverted people deal with trauma differently yes, but each of them needs an outlet regardless. My mother is and has been a nurse for almost 30 years. I witnessed her heartaches, passion, and joy as she positively affected so many lives. I also remember her putting herself last, which caregivers tend to do. She is now taking my art classes, and to see the joy in her eyes makes me happy because she deserves it. She is so dedicated to her field that she is only semi-retired, but now she understands the importance of loving herself as much as her neighbor.
Some of you may be saying:
"Okay this is it! The time has come....now what?"
or maybe you are one of those planning savey folk that says................................................................................................................................
Either way, the goal of every man or woman's retirement is to be happy, content, relaxed, rested, smiling, and carefree. You have possibly been putting off some of your greatest wild adventures into your bucket list for years. Now you have all this time on your hands, and you want to make sure you spend it wisely. I have always lived by the modo, that if you try new things, and explore your inner child-like curiosity, you will experience great things, and more meaning to your life. It can be hard after years of putting family first to do the right thing, and take the time you have earned to spend doing things you are passionate about, but it is never to late to start. Of course you can enlist the help of a retirement coach to put a plan together, or you can let your imagination lead.
Art has an amazing way of bringing out buried emotions and memories (good or bad) from our past and our current circumstances and packaging them into something beautiful. Think of whatever you create artistically as a keepsake, or a memoir of the life you led. Art is like a photo of your heart. You can either places these photos in a scrapbook or a box, or put them on a canvass for you and your loved ones to enjoy. Creating art builds confidence, and taking an art class is a great way to make new friends. You got to start somewhere.
I encourage you to take an art class, and bring it all together. To learn more please visit:
Due to popular demand, I will be offering Intermediate acrylic painting and drawing classes for adults starting April.2017 at Michaels every Wednesday from 3PM to 5PM at the Polo Park location.
This class is ideal for Artists with some painting and drawing experience who would like to learn how to work with specialty brushes, neon and metallic paints, sponges and painting knives tricks and techniques.
From taking these classes you will learn how to:
1. Reduce paint waste
2. Save time by mastering specialty brush stroke techniques
3. Learn how to create a hyper realistic piece with only two to three brushes
4. Learn how to create texture with finger and sponge painting techniques
5. How to take photography of your choice and render it into a gorgeous painting in class in under 2 hours. (Students must submit their images a week before hand.)
6. Receive one on one coaching in a small class room setting to work out you =r learning kinks in the classroom so you can focus your energy on creating beautiful artwork at home faster.
Students are recommended to sign up for a one month series of 1 class per week to learn intermediate foundation skills and receive adequate coaching.
Each week we will cover the following categories with students having the ability to select the subject area they would like to focus on based on their interests:
Register in person @ Michaels Polo Park and automatically get 40% off of your Grumbacher student supplies and in-store savings!
Art is an automatic cultural education tool that brings people from different cultures together.
Just like music art speaks to everyone in a unique language that is received by each individual differently. As ancient and classic oil and acrylic paintings are a historical cultural archive, by studying art one can learn about various cultures without traveling in a non-intimidating fashion.Art has the power of decreasing in differences in two separate individuals through the process of art education.
People from two completely different walks of life can connect over the same piece art. Just like music and dance, visual arts is a communication of the deepest thought and feelings of the mind and soul. Feelings that even the Artist who created the piece does not always understand to explain.
Art has a way of showing how incredibly similar we are to each other. Kids who may have conflict with each other are suddenly calm and congenial with each other after participating in an art class together. When I was beginning my awkward pre-teen years I met my best friend of my childhood through participating in an art class. He was quiet, shy, and kind of anti-social, but we connected over the same drawing interests while sitting beside each other in detention (lol).I talked to him for months before he finally said a word to me. He showed up at my house one day after school, after I had totally forgotten about him and given up. It turns out that although we were from two completely different cultures we had a lot in common, and so it goes. This same friend was for many years, the only one encouraging me to pursue my artistic interests professionally.
If you are interested in having your child receive an arts education that teaches them about different cultures, sign them up for an art class that focuses on one or more cultures. The art class can be anything from how to make moccasins, to decorating Ukrainian eggs. As long as their is art history included in the class your child will easily learn about another culture, and will in turn gain more social skills, and cultural understanding.
A child with cultural understanding will transition better in school in their teen years, and will also be a better team player when they enter the workforce. For more information on my cultural enrichment art workshops for schools and daycare's please visit:
Arts Enrichment Education for Home Schools is an absolute must have for mom's to provide a well-rounded arts literacy for their child.
For the past 8 years I have taught dance, music, and fitness classes in various home schools and it was an eyeopening, rewarding experience. To be honest, before having my own children I didn't fully understood the core reasons why parents chose to home school their child. After deciding that I want to home school my children as a part of their education plan my first mission was to research educational tools and mobile programs. It was then that I found not only can you ensure your child is educated in their own style, but they can also learn a bit of everything while focusing on their interests.
Home schooling education is just as good as a other forms of children's education. For thousands of years before their was such a thing as a school curriculum, and private/ public schools, all children were informally educated in a home school fashion from their community/ village. Educating children was a collaborative effort just like it is today in modern society. Artists, engineers, scientists, and mathematicians who were raised in this environment invented the marvelous technologies we have available to us today.
I do believe that all works of art are an expressions of the souls memories, dreams, desires, and fears. Every child at every age, from every walk of life should study art because it increases their cultural literacy. Children with an increased cultural literacy communicate better with their peers, and are much more likely to develop relationships with people from various walks of life from the time they are a child into their adult years. Children with an arts education will also become more interested in their natural environment as they develop literacy in all things nature such as water and animals, and the importance of caring for them. For children who struggle with subjects such as math, science, history, and even biology, a cultural arts education can cause an interest in these subject.s This will make it easier for them to overcome any learning difficulties they may be having.
My goal when offering an art workshop or class to a student whether a child or an adult, is to challenge them to explore the world around them.
To learn more about art wrokshops for your homeschool please visit:
Or contact me directly in the form below.
How about a little art prescription therapy?
For years, researchers believed that addictions was a disease, and that at the utmost it could only be treated with medications, and rehabilitation centers with very little hope of recovery. What researchers have know learned, and studies have shown is that addiction can come from childhood trauma, but also from a lack of adequate healthy social connections in ones adult life. It is important to separate the person from the addiction, and realize that every addict has the hope of recovery.
I can honestly say that I have never been addicted to drugs or alcohol, but I have been to dance and fitness. One might say how can addiction to physical exercise be bad? Well amazingly it is. It can reak havoc on your joints, muscles, organs and heart. Too much of a good thing, is just that. The question is when do you draw the line? When does it end? For me I had to realize that me as a person mattered more than looking like girls in fitness magazines, I dance because I love it, and I am good at it. Winning in a dance competition because I have trained a little extra is a bonus. Plus exercise IS something that should be apart of our daily routine. The difference between an addiction to a hobby and an addiction to drugs, alcohol, or prescriptions is that it is never a healthy hobby even in small doses.
In my childhood like many others, I experienced trauma. I didn't want to fall into drinking, drugs or cigarettes, so I turned to health and fitness and creativity to cope with my emotions. Unlike exercise, creativity never hurt my physical body, spirit, mind or emotions, and as long as I stayed on a budget.
For a couple of years I worked in Downtown Winnipeg as a an Art Therapist/ Outreach Worker in two different Drop-In Art Centers located in temporary homeless shelters. At first only one or two people came to the class, then bit by bit more came until the entire room was full of students. A room full of students than transformed into three volunteers, which lead to two casual paid assistant positions with myself. Empowering participants through individual and group artwork sessions to build confidence, gain social skills, personal life ambitions, and heal from trauma could came with 30 mins. to 3 hours here and there. I truly believe that:
"Transformed people, transform people."
To conquer any challenge in life. we all need a mentor and a positive role mode. I try to be that person for my students by making art more approachable and less intimidating.
cognitive behavior patterns that lead to having an addictive personality can be unlearned from cognitive rehabilitation, and art therapy is a proven method of success. This is why I have found in my occupational experience, that so many people who are attempting to recover have failed with scheduled counselling and prescription medications. Art doesn't need to have a structured, rigid format to be art, and the path of recovery isn't a clear 12 step program either.
The goal of an art class for the purpose of therapy or creative expression for an individual should be healing, at their own pace. Un-prescribed, raw, non-methodical, self-lead healing. Sometimes when working on an art piece new light can be shed on areas of darkness as the brain begins to work better as decision making patterns begin to shift and align.
Being an "addict" can usually carry a much more heavier meaning. Usually when someone is an addict there is determinatal affects of the addiction already present in their life. No one can go back in time and change their past, However, art can help them re-frame it into something positive. This opens the door for the addictions to speak less, so the heart of the addict can speak more. Opening the individual up to talk to therapists, and even sometimes family about their experiences so they can move on, and move up in their life.
A previous addict can not be successful in life management if they have not worked on the root cause of their addiction, their "triggers." Triggers can come at any time for any reason, no matter how positive a person is trying to be. Whether it is dance, music, fitness, fixing an old car, or painting mini figurines, everyone needs a hobby to "escape" to or express those triggers in a positive fashion.
If it wasen't for the the mentors I had (dance and art teachers), I wouldn't be the person I am today. I know one thing for sure, arts saved my life. Every one deserves excitement and adventure in their lives as part of Maslow's Hierarchy needs.
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.