Children’s Art

Greetings parents, let me tell you a little about myself and my philosophy about bringing the creative arts into your child’s life.

I am a believer in “The unhurried child.” I hate to see a young child forced through formula lessons that produce adult looking art. It’s very sad for these kids later when in college they are asked to access a true creative, original work and the kids just can’t find their way back to that to those unique creative impulses they were born with. I see this in so many of the adults I teach and it’s a long road to rediscovering how to express their own valuable creative pathways to self expression, I like to think of it as moving creative energy from heart to mind, to hand and finally out on the page.

The basis of a life long love affair with creativity really requires giving the student time to discover a tactile connection with their work. It’s really a physics thing to start off with, “how do I push a bead of paint with this brush, what happens when the paint is thinner or thicker?” We need to give them some time to fall in love with how a pencil meets paper and develop young muscles and vision.
I have discovered that once the connection is made they become self motivated confident young artists that produce inspired works. Yes, we want them to have traditional drawing and painting skills in their bag of tricks, but we are not cameras! Good art is so much more complex than just being able to get a likeness.

Children’s art show at the MACC 2019 . All our kids look forward to participating in this exciting family event.

I was born into a family of working artists. I was grown before I realized that all families were not like ours. I thought it was how life was. As a result, painting and drawing was literally my first language. I was naturally more competent with those skills than spelling or mathematics. I realized after years devoted to improving these skills that seemed so effortless to other kids that my intelligence was not lacking, but rather that my mind just processed tasks in different ways than mainstream education focused on.

I find many many children fall into this category and are under appreciated or misunderstood by busy teacher with large classes.
Over the years I have worked with educational differences of many kinds and I’m very sensitive to helping these students discover ways of letting their light shine.
I know what art can do for us on so many levels. Studies show that just twenty minutes spent coloring can reduce our stress hormones and actually builds new pathways in the brain.
In my small groups we build close relationships that are supportive and fun. The space is small and intimate. the students will see my professional work as it progresses and we will talk about my process. I coach older kids with their applications to California State Summer School of the arts that is a very competitive program that can be a life changing experience for a young artist. We have had several of my kids get in and I am very proud of them. As a Certified GOLDEN artist Educator I have a complete line of products to expose your child a multitude of true fine arts projects. In this area I do believe in exposing kids to adult quality tools.

When students first join me in the studio I want to see what they draw or paint for themselves. I think parents sometimes wonder where the education is in this, to just sit and draw with me. I want the kids to get comfortable in the space and with others so they can achieve a relaxed state. I feel I must earn their trust, respect and the right to suggest other ways of working. When children draw, what they are showing us represents themselves. Therefore it could be really easy to telegraph the message that that work is “not good enough,” and that can translate to “you are not good enough.” When the image is so closely tied to how they see themselves it’s important to take time to honor the work they are currently doing before gently showing them new ways to express themselves.

In the studio I have a big screen monitor that I can use to access the Internet and also play music. At times we talk about artists or art and I can show the work and talk about art history. We may spend time up and out of our seats taking turns posing for each other so we can discover how to give a figure movement. I may set up a still life to work from using plants or items out of my natural science cabinet that stores persevered bones and insects, or feathers. In the warmer months the kids will see my two desert tortoises stomping about just outside the studio doors and we can use them as models from time to time. I have a small fish pond with frogs and running water that makes the perfect spot for a student to get some quiet time while still being near the rest of us. They love to take turns spending brief drawing sessions of the Water hyacinths and Pond Critters that make their homes there.

Thank you for taking the time to listen to my thoughts about art, education and children. If you think this sounds like a good fit for you child and your family I’d love to invite to to come see my space and see if you like the vibe.
Colorfully yours
Victoria Smith.