Unschooling: Living Without School; Living Free Range-Freedom to Learn What One Wants When One Wants

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What It Is Like to Have an Artist in the House

Having an artist in the house is different than having an athlete or having an academic minded child-Math Wizz, History Buff, or even a Mad Scientist! It is different than having a child who is talented at writing stories or a child with ANY other concentration. (Although art covers an array of talents.) I am sure it would be nice to experience one of those...History Buff or writer would be REALLY neat. But God gave me an Artist! :)

There are many things that I can tell you about having an artist. One of those things is that when you walk into my house, you can tell that an artist lives there. Here is how:

*The house is ALWAYS covered in drawings, paintings, clay creations, homemade pop up pictures, and can't forget the half done sewing projects still on the machine...We'd hate to lose our place.

*S has a table in the kitchen just for her to paint on and work on what she likes. Unfortunately, however, she has no room to work because it is covered in too many projects: playdough for videos, sewing box with stuff for her dress, papers for her latest Fairy Book creation...And beside it stands a small easel to hold her sketchbook in place while she paints. Today she painted a caterpillar and chose pastels to make a butterfly.

*Despite the fact that she has her own table, the house is also covered in How To books on drawing or DVDs about crocheting. And there is almost always some sort of How To You Tube video running.

*The counters? Covered in paintings that are drying.

*I find notebooks, sketchbooks, and loose paper EVERYWHERE.

*It is not uncommon to find streamer taped to the bedroom wall, coffee filter ribbons on the doors, or homemade bows on a doll's head.

*You may see our female kitty sporting that day's latest fashion. Courtesy of S.

*Speaking of cats, I am always finding little kitty paw prints made of paint on the floor. "Samantha, please make sure the cats stay out of your paint."

*To encourage drawing and writing, we have always left a marker board in just about every room. Each one is covered in a different creation...Again, Courtesy of S.

*I always have to keep a good supply of artist's pencils and pens on hand, spread throughout the house or in my purse or the special Mason Jar on her artist's table. And still I always hear, "Mom, where is the 2B pencil? I like it best!"

*Oh, and let us not forget the porch, which most recently was decorated with a Fairy House and her supplies-a homemade bed, sewn pillows, an egg carton full of sticks??

So that is my house...As you can see, and maybe some can relate, having an artist in the house is like having a toddler's paintings and Play Dough creations spread throughout, only on a much larger scale.

Aside from learning to cope in a house with a child who is a multitasker and doesn't mind messes so much, I also did some research in an attempt to understand her. (I was very artsy when I was younger, but certain event around the age of 8 really discouraged me and I never really hopped back on that train, Also, for some reason my OCD overtook a lot of my personality, so I exhibited very few artistic behaviors, aside from my overwhelming feelings.) Here are some of the characteristics I found that apply to my child:

*Artists require more sleep. (I always wondered why S seemed to need more sleep than other kids. It occasionally worried me and made it hard for me to allow her to follow her own sleep schedules, but now I know why! Artists have sensitive senses and take in a lot more detail than we do, which requires more rest to recover.)

*Artists have extreme opposite personalities. They love to be active. (S Loves running, rock climbing, caving, etc.) But they also love quiet and still...Sometimes they are completely introverted. Other times they are super extroverted. (This is S to a T! I never could explain her personality because of this.)

*They have a range of moods. They feel deeply. Things bother them. They are sensitive. They hurt easy when people hurt them or when others are hurting. They are angry when others are angry.

*Not only do most artists love nature, they need it. They receive their energy from being outside in their natural surroundings.

*Artists are commonly labeled as "rebels." (They are really hitting the nail on the head here.)

*Sometimes they will be working on several projects and ideas at once. And then there are periods of nothing. Creativity comes in spurts. (I am pretty sure that S's art table demonstrates this concept well.)

The last thing I want to say is the most important. It is one of the most vital lessons I have learned as a Mom to my S. Having a young artist means having a special little person who has an unique outlook on everything. They can change the way you and others look at things. They can change the world. They value freedom and love. And won't take injustice. And that makes them passionate about their world. Having an artist means having a special piece of something unique and beautiful. We have to take care of it and handle it in a way that we do not remove their creative qualities so that they will NOT conform to this world. This can be a challenge in itself. Romans 12:2 says, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing, and perfect will.'

Here are some pictures I have of S doing her Art thing. And some of her creations that I have been able to snap pictures of. Side Note: Over time I have stopped "assigning" prefabricated art projects and just let S take over. I think that it has been good for her because art is her passion. (Maybe not all children would take over like she has.) But she comes up with the best projects that I have never even thought of, like her Fairy Houses and the pictures of her Homemade Stockings below. (She didn't think it was fair that her grandparents didn't have stockings for Christmas.) She has made numerous books and different creations from the recycling bins. Let her free in the art closet and she can make anything you ask her to! I LOVE having an artist and watching her mind at work. Such a Beautiful thing.


Paper Doll Making


Play Dough Creations for You Tube Videos

This is the "Garden Flag" that S made to hang on our front porch since we do not have one. 

S's First Fairy House that is now on the porch. She also made welcome signs, a mailbox, and stepping stones. 

Her interpretation of Starry Night

S's Homemade Stockings for Her Grandparents Last Year 

S's Play Dough Statue of Liberty

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