things i learned about art from 3yr olds

“All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”—Pablo Picasso


once upon a time i graduated from college with an art education degree and thought i knew what i was doing. i think a lot of idealistic 22yr olds think they know things. but i had some art skills, i'd just graduated from a good school. I had amazing art ed teacher and some very fine art teachers as well.

my house was decorated in the remnants of my 5 years creating.

when a job could not be found in public education i got a job as an art teacher for a private preschool that catered to Microsoft parents, because of it's location but more because of the quality of the instruction there.

this was a fascinating year for me, but for my artistic development it was a tumble i would sift and sort through for the next 15 years.

i am just now starting o realize and unpack what i learned about art from my 3 year old students:

1. never be afraid to ditch the brush and use your hands

2. your clothes are part of your canvas (much to the chagrin of your parents)

3. when you think you are done you might want to try rubbing your hand all over it with fresh paint

4. there are no colors in the universe that do not go together

5. when you mix all the colors up they always turn into one form or another of baby poo brown

6. draw/paint what you know and love which could include the entire line of Volkswagen cars, pachyderms (not elephants) or balloons

7. sometimes things are very quick and you can do 57 paintings in 5 minutes. sometimes you need the whole 30 minutes of art class to draw one tiny thing

8. options are good, having a sensory table nearby to fiddle with can help you want to paint

9. when the art lady likes your painting and tries to steal it from you  please refer to step number 3

10. sometimes one mark is all you need, sometimes one color is all that is necessary

bonus sometimes its not a good day to do art

bonus 2 sometimes adults can't see your creation, or think it's good and that's ok because some adults have forgotten to see or use their imagination and you should do your art anyways because maybe it will help them be able to see next time.

(i learned the most form the 3 and 4 years olds because at 5 you start to have self judgement and therefore limitation and at 2 you aren't quiet self aware enough to really punch your know-it-all art teacher in the gut with longing and realizations, nor can you sit still very long)