Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Teaching Children the Concept of 'Beauty'

I have had the pleasure of working with kids through the past years either through tutoring or painting with them and even showing them that writing can actually be fun. Those moments are dear to me because I miss teaching kids a great deal. As a teacher, and I believe God calls certain people to that profession, having the opportunity to mold a child's understanding of the world around them is a humbling, grace filled opportunity that I hold sacred. 

My cousin Fran has a daughter who has painted with me. I love painting with children, because it brings me back to my true gift, the one of teaching. Fran called me the other day and explained that Lilly had to paint for a contest at school and the theme was, "Beautiful Is..." I thought for a minute and realized kids the ages of 3-8 might struggle to really grasp this concept so I thought of what suggestions I could give that might help her.  

For that age group beauty is a vague, abstract concept. It is not something they can grasp with their hands. Although they are surrounded by beautiful things each day, I doubt they look at a flower and see it as beautiful with a deep understanding of the idea. To help a child begin to consider this word I suggest using their five senses to experience the world around them and share in discussing it with you. Take your child to a florist or produce market and let them touch, smell, taste, and see the variety of colors. Then ask them, which ones are they drawn to, and why. Explain to them that those colors, objects, sounds, or feelings are those they find beautiful.  At a young age it must start with their experiences but as your children age, you will begin to spread their wings a bit and teach them that all beauty comes from within and even ugly can be beautiful.

I believe that we are created by God with an understanding for 'beauty' in each of us. Science can't explain the concept as to why when we see a rainbow or the face of a child we experience it as 'beautiful'. Part of me truly believes that what we find as beautiful is God's way of showing us what the Garden of Eden would have been like. We get little glimpses or tastes of what he meant for us, and I am grateful for those moments in life. 

As you compare and contrast songs, moments, feelings, textures, etc. with your child encourage them to explain why or why not they are drawn to one thing in particular. This conversation is critical in teaching them to live artistically and it will actually build a foundation for them to understand the scientific process as well. Most of all, have fun with the activity or conversation, because the process of the understanding is really the point, not the end result of did they get it. 

I hope some of you will choose to paint with your children during this holiday season. Those gifts are the most precious and 'beautiful' to give and receive. Beauty can be abstract to young ones but it doesn't have to be. If you want to truly show them something beautiful, give them a mirror. 
This is Lilly, she and her painting are both, BEAUTIFUL!


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Why Angels and Crosses?

What a crazy week it has been in the Goodwin household! When I was physically able to start painting again I had no idea where it would lead me,other than to my art table and the occasional gallery visit. During the past few weeks doors have opened up for me to share my art with several different groups of people. I really gave that some thought and considered each venue. Normally, I don't paint for a specific group, but considering the holidays are around the corner, I really had to tweak my thinking on that. 
As I did, I also had a conversation with God about why I paint. First, I am grateful for the gift of creativity so I wanted to be a good steward of that. I also have learned that when I paint a cross or an angel, and then blog about it, people who read it are touched, it connects with them in a way that my 'normal' art doesn't. For that main reason, I chose to spend a good bit of time painting angels and crosses for the holidays. 
As I painted, I spent a lot of  time researching verses to go with each one, and can honestly say I haven't spent that much time perusing the bible since the days of our bible drills when I was a child. It was a meaningful experience to say the least. Most all of the paintings in this series have a verse, painted somewhere within, because besides being grateful for my gift of painting, I knew I HAD to use it to share my faith as well. So, as you look over some of these little gems, know that they were lovingly created and prayed over, each one. A prayer that simply was meant for whoever who sees one or purchases one, would gain some since of who Christ is in their life, and in hopes that it would bring them joy.
I wish I could say this was easy, that whipping these out was a walk in the park, but as all my disabled artist friends know, that is not the case for those of us who struggle with bodies that don't match our zeal for life. There were days I painted slower than others, but, as asked, I painted through it and saw the effort pay off, at least in the journey, not monetarily. Artists struggle in many ways, so I ask all of you to consider supporting your local art community this holiday season buy purchasing art as gifts for Christmas if you choose to celebrate it. I am thrilled to share my gift with you, not only the paintings, but the journey as well. Drop me a line, I would love to hear from you about your journey as well.








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