Personal Confessions of our Art Coach (Part 1)

Cherry Blossom

Sometimes I get frustrated when the kids cannot seem to see what I see.

I take a lot of pride in the way I teach. I believe that children are capable of finding their answers. So I refrain from spoon-feeding them with answers, rather, I always talk and guide the children. This works great, when the child replies to me.

What happens when the child doesn’t? I get frustrated. I don’t know where the child is and I end up telling the child what to do, which is in my opinion, not exactly learning.

However, I met my match one day when there is this young boy who seems really obedient, but just doesn’t seem to hear me. Even when I ask simple questions like colours, he doesn’t seem to understand me. I got really concerned that I will not be able to make a difference to this child.

Couple of lessons down, I realised myself rejecting the one or two answers that he utters. I considered the “colour” that he saw wrong. Catching myself, I made an effort to accept what he was telling me. With that came a clearing to listen. I realised that the language with which I was speaking was foreign to him. While I saw lines on the giraffe body, the child only saw shapes. No matter how hard I tried to ask him where the line patterns on the giraffe body are going, we were not seeing the same thing. It wasn’t until I realised that he was trying to draw the shapes he saw that I saw the beauty in his “slowness” in drawing. Suddenly I saw how intricate his drawing was. He wasn’t missing a single shape on the giraffe body.

This child has the gift of meticulousness. He does not extrapolate his drawing. He was doing exactly what I hope I can teach all my kids in the studio, to observe intensely. I was missing out on what he was seeing all these time.

I realised that when I let go of what I think the painting or drawing should look like, there is suddenly a clearing for me to understand what the kids are seeing.

Big fat realisation:

The child is doing his best, just like I am. Even when our best looks different. Recognising that provides a clearing for me to see beyond what I can see now.

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