Using “Eyes of Discovery” to Discover Art
How should parents and teachers appreciate and interpret children's paintings? The only tactic is to concede our own opinions. By giving up our adult expectations, and maintaining a positive attitude while accepting the novelty of a child's art, we must change our mindset such that everything children present in front of us is welcome, with no rejection or criticism.
At first glance of their child's paintings, many parents immediately judge them to be unsatisfactory of or unacceptable by their own standards. However, it is never a good idea to express this opinion aloud, directly to their child. Regardless the manner of criticism or form of judgement, and whether or not it is as a joke, children will accept these negative words at face value and believe they painted poorly, which will destroy their confidence. When children draw or paint, they often do so of their own accord, and naturally so. But if, one day, a child expresses that they believe themselves to be a bad artist, this is a warning about the potential interference with art, with negative emotion damaging artistic endeavors.
YuXun Huang (4 years old)
So using eyes open to discovery, one can constantly be surprised by novelty, and it can be especially rewarding seeing the uniqueness of a child’s art.
With this in mind, we can look at the art in Figure 1. The child artist has never seen a painting of an elephant or learned how to paint an elephant. We can see the uniqueness of the stroke and design in the child's own rendition of an elephant. It is evident that each stroke is obviously amateurishly lain across the paper, but also placed confidently and, in the child’s mind, “correct”. Parents must seek a sense of vision open to discovering their children's talent.