A time to begin.....
Why a "Playpen?" After teaching children for 43 years, mostly very young children, they taught me that we are naturally creative, artistic, and intelligent. Play is the birthright of children. But, what happens to human beings as they grow up in our culture? Unlike my kindergarten students, my second grade students were asking "How to you draw?" , "What color should I use?", and stating whether they were "good at" and whether their classmates were "good at" art and about any other thing we were doing. By fourth grade I noticed we had students who thought of themselves as "talented" in art or "good in" art and students who thought of themselves as lacking talent or "were not good at" art. What is it that we take away from human beings as we educate them, raise them in our families, and allow them contact with our culture?
As I followed my heart back into active art after my retirement, I was confronted by the same traits in my fellow artists as well. Very young children do not concern themselves with being "good at" unless they get messages from others about whether they are or are not "good at". Besides witnessing this change over time in the artistic sense of trust, exploration, creativity in children, I noticed the many children who felt they needed to seek adult confirmation as to what adults thought of their work. They run to the teacher often with their drawings, paintings asking if we like their work. Unfortunately I saw most adults feeding into this trap, by offering praise or criticism. My own preference was to turn the question around as ask the child, "What do you like most about your picture?"
Thus the "playpen". For my quest is to experiment, create, explore, paint, draw, enjoy. And to nurture that in my artistic friends....and my non-artistic friends as well.
Welcome to Elsie's Art Playpen! Jump in and join me in the creative process!