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 hardest obstacle for any new adult artist is to learn to love the experimentation process.
Yes you can learn from reading art books, taking art classes, and watching Bob Ross on YouTube and with a little practice you shall succeed.
Years ago famous artists didn't rush themselves when they painted. They took their time to create a masterpiece.
Art was was purposeful, and a historic archive. It was an active log of the cultures religious, political, and economical climate. It was also a way for Artist's to express their passion for the things they loved around them (landscapes/ seascapes/still life/ floral and people). Artists had deadlines when they were commissioned, but other than that they painted at THEIR OWN pace and leisure. I believe that is what makes them works of art. They did it to create something THEY believed was amazing, it did not matter what others thought, or how long it took.
Our world moves at a very fast pace, and any form of art is learned over time. Even with things being sped up by technology.When you are taking an art class give yourself the freedom to learn at your own pace. Don't put conditions, restrictions, and time limitations upon yourself. Let thoughts of painting speed and brush technique perfection go. One day you will render a painting exactly how you want it to as long as you trust yourself and the process.
Some of my greatest works came from mistakes I thought I had made in a particular painting. I have accidentally learned and created new techniques by allowing myself to PLAY.Take a break, and a sigh. Come back to the painting in a few minutes, or however long it takes you to chill. Fresh perspective can go a long way. :)
Here are some tips to help you CHILL and CREATE :)
1. Organize your painting work space before you begin.
- Lay out the colors and brushes you want to use.
- Clean your brushes & apply brush shaper soap to get them ready. Discard any crusted or ruined brushes/
- Have a completely clean palette available to use right away if you are working on a new piece.
- Get your music/ movie/ or TV show on and your favorite yummy beverage to get those juices flowing. ;)
- Lay out a tarp if you will be painting from a distance with a larger canvass and brushes, and an apron and/ or paint clothes so you don't have to stop in the middle of painting to clean yourself up.
2. Have an idea of the image(s) you would like to create
- Inspire yourself! google search random words that come to mind, and check out different images. If some inspire you download them (but do not infringe on copyrights by copying it). You can also use your favorite photography of things or people you are interested in, and paint a version of the image or just use it to get some excitement flowing.
- Some people like to read books, magazines, or newspapers to create a collage of images they can paint from. If you are still learning to paint a new subject, this is a great way to put a painting together if you have "painters block".
- Visit your local galleries and exhibits of Artists at various skill levels. Artist talks are a great way to learn what inspired the Artist to create their series of work(s) and what products and supplies they used to create it. If you really like something they do you can add it into your style, or save years trying to "guess" how the greats did it.
- Follow Artists at various skill levels in multiple painting or drawing genres and disciplines. A few minutes on Pinterest or Instagram can really get the juices flowing!
3. Buy and use a painting sketchbook to practice brushstroke and drawing techniques.
- If you are painting something for the first time it is recommended that you practice your brush strokes repeatedly until you feel you have mastered them on a separate piece of paper. You can do this by practicing from YouTube tutorials, painting and drawing books or from google images (as mentioned in .2)
4. Clear your artspace from distracting, uninspiring clutter or anything that takes away from your positive painting vibe.
- Maybe it is a stack of homework or other works in progress. Either way a fresh, clean space can clear your mind giving your imagination room to spread it's colorful wings. ;)
- If you don't have your own studio or artspace give yourself one. Even if it is one side or corner of a table or a room. Every hobby deserves a designated space to create and learn in. I.E "A hobby sanctuary." It does not have to be fancy, just a space where you can make a mess without feeling like it needs to be cleaned after every visit from you.
5. Invest in good quality student supplies
- I understand we all want to save money, but using cheap paints and brushes in the beginning are actually more expensive in the long run as they do not last long. They also do not mix or blend well, and brush strokes will not be as good. Of course you shouldn't go buy high end supplies when you first start painting because it takes discipline to control your brush strokes and amount of paint usage to hone in on your skills. . Remember your first pieces of works you are not trying to sell,and may or may not gift to someone.They are intended for you to learn, but don't give yourself a pair of shoes without shoelaces and be surprised when you trip. (Cheesy metaphor...I know. :)
6. Paint a small painting for loved ones for their birthday and/ or holiday as keepsakes
- Nothing challenges and improves your artistic ability like painting something for a loved one as there is motivation to do well. You will end up painting something awesome and interesting you may not have otherwise, and it shows them you truly care.
Conclusion: Set yourself up for success before you put a single brush stroke to the canvass.
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.
Before entering the body artistry world I was very intimdated by the thought of becoming a body artist entertainer. I knew I could paint and draw from the time when I was 8 years old trying to sell homemade bookmarks and sketches in my elementary school library. I couldnt afford to go to fine arts school fresh out of high school so in my young brain I thought I was inferrior to the fine arts trained artists.
When i was in middle school I dreamed of eorking for Disney as an professional animation artist. I thought how cool is that? Being able to draw all those images by hand, and see the movie come to life.
By the time i was in high school I spent the majority of my time drawing tattoos and sketching faces at $8 per detailed portrait sketch. In my mid twenties I became a face and body painter as well as a Caricature Sketch Artist for various canadian entertainment agencies before starting my own. I then began body painting dancers and models for productions, company branding promotional events, and fashion shows.
What I found was that adults and children would always request unique and custom face painting designs that i had to finish very quickly, without room for errot. Sfter all with a line up, and a garaunteed pre-set amount of faces or bodies to be painted or tatooed in an hour per thr client, I naturally got faster.
I learned to think out of the box, and great customer service skills as I provided services for divetse age groups, ethnic backgrounds, and physical environments. it wasent my way or the highway as an artist, it was what the model/ customer wanted.
This in turn made me a better artist as it challenged me to learn to draw things I did not have an interest in before, and sharpened my drawing and painting capabilities. It also gave me inspiration from all the amazing chats I had with people I was #artifying.
I also learned that you would be surprised with your artistic ability if you challenge yourself to try something new. So do I think Body Artists or Tattoo Artists are just as good as Fine Arts trained Artists? Yes! They simply have a different skillset or have approached art differently. Personally, us Body Artists thrive off of human interaction, and love to engage our models/ customers in the process by explaining how its done, and getting a feel out of what you desire positivley from the experience. Basically, I think we are alot more fun ;)
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.