Art touches all we do


paintbrushBefore I started down the path of writing,  I was, and will always be an artist. Art holds a very dear place in my heart. Everything about it, how you can take something out of virtually nothing, and create wonderful works from your imagination. You can take your inner most feelings and let them out for all to see it through your eyes. The arts are an essential part of education, a vital aspect of learning that is sometimes overlooked.

Sadly, in many of the schools, I visit the funding for art has been drastically cut, or eliminated altogether. As an artist, this pains me deeply. I remember in one classroom the students didn’t know what primary colors were. It was from that moment on I was determined to focus on art during my author visits.

Some may regard art education as a luxury. This simple, yet creative activity are key building blocks of child development. This is not something that stops at age 3, rather it grows stronger with each passing year.  Learning to create and appreciate visual aesthetics may be more important than ever to the development of the next generation of children as they grow up.

In fact, Art is so vital, it is now part of the STEM branch. STEM + Art = STEAM. Science
+Art / Design

Motor Skills and Language Development are two areas that are greatly impacted by art. Many of the motions involved in making art, such as holding a paintbrush or scribbling with a crayon, are essential to the growth of fine motor skills in young children. For very young children, making art or just talking about it, provides opportunities to learn words for colors, shapes, and actions. You have to admit, there is nothing more precious that seeing a little toddler scribbling on a piece of construction paper with big fat crayon. Holding it up and showing you what they created. You may not see that elephant they drew, but it’s there, and you hang that masterpiece on your fridge with pride.

What about Visual Learning? Drawing, sculpting with clay, and threading beads on a string, all develop visual-spatial skills, which are more important than ever. In today’s world, our vision is the sense we most use. We are constantly confronted with situations requiring us to recognize visual shapes and colors, to analyze an object in comparison to another, or to evaluate the distance between two objects. To be able to act within our environment, it is therefore very important to correctly analyze all visual information. Art education teaches students how to interpret, criticize, and use visual information, and how to make choices based on it. Without art, they are at a massive disadvantage. fingerpaint

Inventiveness: Have you ever really noticed how excited children become when they  jump right in with their hands and start creating something. It might not be of much clarity, but it’s what they see, feel, and are expressing. When kids are encouraged to express themselves and take risks in creating art, they develop a sense of innovation that will be important in their adult lives. Learning not to be afraid, but to express themselves, however, best they can.

The human brain is wired in such a way that we can make sense of lines, colors, and patterns on a flat canvas. Artists throughout human history have figured out ways to create illusions such as depth and brightness that aren’t actually there but make works of art seem somehow more real.

Paul_SignacAn example of this is pointillism. This is a technique of painting in which small, distinct dots of color are applied in patterns to form an image. Georges Seurat and Paul Signac developed the technique in 1886, branching from Impressionism.  Impressionism, Neo-Impressionism, and Pointillism happen to be my favorite type of paintings. I remember when we took a trip to Paris, I spent all day in the Musee d’Orsay staring at all of these amazing paintings. I could spend an eternity studying these artists and their masterpiece, and it still wouldn’t be enough for me.

Our biggest contributors to history are in fact artist. Can you imagine where we would be if we didn’t have ones like; Seurat, Rembrandt, Di Vinci, Degas, the list goes on.  Art is what molded and shaped them, it shaped our world. The culture that we are so proud of as humans, we owe it to the Arts. We owe it to our children to encourage the Arts, just as much as we do reading, or any other skill.georges-seurat

We can even take the time to teach them about both. Introduce them to books on Art, about artists and their lives. I would say roughly (and I’m being conservative here) a third of all the books I own are on the topic of art. I’m always looking for new books about my favorite artists, now I’m looking for these same books, only tailored to children.  We can show our children, nieces, nephews  the things these individuals created, and help to spark their inner artist.

Wish you all a little art in your life.


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