Becoming an “Artist” When Not Previously Good at Art
Today was a happy day! I witnessed my son becoming an artist and enjoying it. What made this so incredibly special to me was Emmett has never found art to be easy nor enjoyable!
In kindergarten, “art” begins with budding artists attempting to color. In Little Hearts for His Glory, I remember trying to encourage Emmett to color inside the lines. He just colored right through them. I tried to remember back to how my mother taught us to color. Small circular motions… that was it! So, I tried to show Emmett how to color neatly using small circular motions. He did not want to color in small circular motions. It took too long! He preferred to color fast in straight lines that were not confined by the outline of whatever he was coloring. When he got tired of coloring straight in one direction, he just changed directions and colored a new patch that way. Emmett also thought one color was always enough. Why would one ever need to color with two or more?!?
Not an Artist with Natural Artistic Abilities
Emmett’s “A Reason for Handwriting” art part of the pages were not fun for him. Markers seemed to work better. When I tried tracing the outlines of the figures for him and told him to look at my lines as “stop signs,” he began coloring within the lines, but it was slow going. I finally convinced Emmett to use multiple colors. However, he often colored things the wrong colors, putting little to no thought into which colors would be the right ones to use for certain animals, objects, etc…
Honestly, Emmett was just not naturally gifted from the Lord with artistic abilities. He knew his coloring did not look good, and he did not care. His not caring was what bothered me the most. I wanted him to learn to try his best and work on things that were hard. I wanted him to know it was worth the effort.
Preparing Hearts had a great impact on Emmett’s development!
Emmett used Preparing Hearts for His Glory (PHFHG) for fourth grade. This guide encourages fine motor skills’ development in many important art-influenced areas. I was determined to have Emmett do each of these assignments to the best of his ability, even though the more artistic things were not his favorite. Fine motor skills’ development was important, so I kept encouraging him and helping him along with his art-connected work as best I could. I did not allow him to skip artistic-based activities, nor did I allow him to modify them to be less artistic. Yes, this was a power struggle sometimes, but I knew it was worth it.
In particular, PHFHG’s Draw and Write Through History drawings helped Emmett see how drawing as an art form could be approached step-by-step. Breaking it down like this helped Emmett so much. Likewise, science notebooking assignments, science lab sheets, history notebooking assignments, and history projects that referenced an image in a book helped Emmett better visualize how to draw and color things properly by using that model for guidance. I took a trip down memory lane and found these PHFHG pictures to share with you…
Fast Forward to This School Year
This school year Emmett is a sophomore in high school doing HOD’s World History guide. Fine Arts is an elective, and as always, I was determined Emmett would do the full credit with the artistic projects. I anticipated a fairly long year with this, which honestly was especially hard because my last son, Riley, excelled at art and thrived at doing his Fine Arts projects. (I know, we should not compare, but it is hard not to sometimes, isn’t it?)
Well, I was in for a surprise! A pleasant surprise – of which we are all due now and then! Emmett is truly enjoying his art projects! I am enjoying putting them on display on stands on the top of our armoire! Oh my – he is becoming an artist! His projects are something to be proud of. What a blessing I would not have thought to appreciate had it been easy from the start!
I did not help – one bit – with this art project. My husband had some doctor’s appointments I needed to attend. When I came home, I asked how the first art project went. Behold! Praise the Lord! It went well! Emmett is an avid outdoorsman, so he went outside to clip a “snowball” off one of our hydrangea shrubs to use as a model. You can see they are the focus of his first art project. Didn’t he do well?!? Can you see the small circular coloring of the snowballs? Can you see the outlining and the coloring in one direction? Do you see the appropriate color choices? Oh my – it’s like it all just came together!
An Artist at Last!
My son is an artist at last! These pictures mean so much to me, not because he’d win first prize as an artist if we lined up all our World History art projects and judged them. No, these pictures mean so much more to me because I know the struggle from the years before that led up to this moment. Praise God!
If you have a child who is not naturally artistic, I hope this post encourages you! Keep encouraging and helping your child to take on projects and assignments with artistic elements, even if it is not their cup of tea. Try not to look on social media at all the pretty pictures of artistic assignments other children are doing with the thought that your child will never get there. Time, effort, encouragement, and determination help – so do the guides and their incremental teaching of progressively harder artistic fine motor skills. So does prayer, always.
If you have a young child or even a not-so-young child who struggles with something, determine to help them succeed! Don’t give in and let them skip it. Don’t modify it so it’s way easier. There is often more to be learned from digging in and trying hard at something that is harder for you to do, than there is from actually simply doing it because you are already good at it. Character is built in pursuits such as these.
P.S. If you have a child with special needs in an area, please understand you should definitely make modifications in that area as needed! Let us love above all else, but also, let us encourage our children in the gradual attempt and pursuit of hard things if at all possible.