In the main area of our house is this. You can’t miss it. Our ever expanding wall of art.
The fridge is covered too, the girls bedroom has more art on the walls, and you’ll find more still dotted around the house. Art is BIG here. It’s always been that way, since they first picked up a pencil or smeared paint all over their bodies. Consequently, the art room is at the centre of the house and where we most often hang out during the day. There is often someone busily working away on something here.
“… the environment should act as a kind of aquarium which reflects the ideas, ethics, attitudes and cultures of the people who live in it.” – Loris Malaguzzi
We have always been big on process art here. I really wanted my children to explore art on their own terms. I wanted them to be able to express their creativity freely, without being told what was ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. I wanted them to decide what was beautiful in their own mind and to know there was no ‘correct’ way to do things when it came to art. I wanted them to concentrate on expressing themselves without worrying about producing a product if they felt like it.
And then, a few months ago, Miss 7 kept wanting to learn how to draw realistically, and I was a bit unsure of how to support that! I didn’t want to jump in with suggestions and give the impression she was unable to do that herself and needed lessons, so we chatted and I listened until it became more clear what she was needing.
What we decided on, after looking at some options, was trying a program called Artventure. What appealed to us was that you could go at your own pace, choose your own level, do it whenever you liked in the comfort of your own home, and there were lots of lessons with new ones added each week.
Honestly, I was still a little unsure! I didn’t want her to lose any of her originality! But trust always wins out. She knows what she needs, and following her lead is always the answer. I also thought about how when they started ballet they didn’t lose any desire to dance other ways or any of their cool moves, ha! They only added to their knowledge and improved their skills. Why should it be different for art?
She immediately loved it and my fears were quickly put to rest. From the first lesson she was already modifying things and making it her own. Trust is always the best option!
She is so confident in her abilities and thoughts! There was no need to worry. I could see so clearly that she was using the lessons as a way to gain the skills she needed and practice things she wanted to practice. She really liked the lessons with lots of tips about how to draw faces and different expressions, etc. Her early experience with process art meant that she just used the lessons as another tool in her creativity toolbox.
Her old sister also loves it. They seem to really like how they are learning to find different shapes in the drawings and where to start with something. I have noticed them applying what they’ve learnt to other drawings now too. And they absolutely don’t think there is only one way to draw! They still draw as much as they did before and in their own unique ways. That was a relief!
Something that has also been really cool about the program is how many questions it has sparked. Each lesson has some notes with tips and also some information about the subject. For example, Miss 9 was painting a fox the other week and the description talked about how foxes were an introduced species in Australia and that they have caused us many problems. That led to googling when and why they were introduced, and how they effect our native animals and biodiversity.
Kirsty, the creator of Artventure and artist behind all the lessons, also encourages them to embrace mistakes as part of learning. This is something we are big believers of but I have seen them doing that even more in their art lately. Instead of scrapping a picture when it goes wrong, they get creative and work around any mistakes. Here, Miss 7 was painting a girl and the blue of her eyes accidentally ran. She decided to turn the blue into a superhero mask instead!
They’re really loving Artventure! There are hundreds of lessons with a new one added each week so I predict they’re going to be using it for a LONG time. Each is rated from 1 (easy) to 5 (difficult) and goes for around 10 minutes. Some lessons are following along and creating an artwork, others are full of tips with how to draw different types of people and features, how to shade, tips for using pencils, watercolour techniques, abstracts, mixing colours, oils pastels, mixed media, blending, contrast, and so much more.
I hope that’s helpful for anyone whose children are looking for something similar! I would definitely recommend Artventure. You can even do a free trial, which is fabulous. Check it out HERE.