Sunflowers and Art for Pleasure’s Sake

Vivi's Sunflowers 1I blogged last spring about how poorly our garden did, largely due to the crazy weather we had – late snow, torrential rains, then immediately switching into blistering heat. The few plants that managed to bloom in our garden despite the late snow and overly saturated ground, were immediately killed by more snow or sizzling heat. I ended up throwing away many dead plants and am have decided to only use native species plants for decorative purposes in the future.
Vivi's Sunflowers 2
Ironically, the one plant that did manage to grow and bloom through all of this were some sunflower seeds that we bought at the discount drugstore (as in a super cheap brand of seeds). We just kind of half-heartily tossed them in the direction of our yard. They started growing in the summer and actually bloomed in October and are still blooming now. Not many of the plants made it and each one is different. Dora was in botanist-heaven watching each sunflower plant bloom and finding the differences.
Vivi's Sunflower Art
Then one day recently, Dora was painting with tempera paints, like she does most days. She was using one of our unusually shaped brushes and suddenly said, “Sunflowers!” Sure enough, the prints looked like sunflowers. She painted the above picture of “sunflowers” with absolutely no guidance or prompting from me. I was really excited to see her creating her own design. She is just at the stage where she is starting to draw recognizable figures, but this is the first time that her art was clearly recognizable as being what she said it was.
Art education was not emphasized when I was growing up, in fact it was almost non-existent as so much emphasis was placed on math and science (I can thank Sputnik for that). It was only when I was at university that I was forced to study art, as my major, “media”, was an emphasis option for a “visual arts” degree. Since, that time, I have grown more and more to wish that I knew how to draw well and was more well-versed in art appreciation and history. So I have made all of my children study some art in a formal manner, but I find it most exciting when they do art purely for enjoyment. Thus far, only  my daughter’s have truly embraced art, but Gohan may still come around, we’ll see. Both Gohan and Primo have some pretty major fine motor issues (both had to attend occupational therapy when they were young), so their dislike may have more to do with their physical limitations and the resulting frustration, than I true dislike of art.
How do you do instill a love of art in your household? Or do you? Is there a program or technique that you have found that works really well? Have your children continued to do art for pleasure after the age of 12? I’m particularly eager to hear about programs/techniques that have worked well with older boys, especially boys with dysgraphia.

Labels: Arts and Crafts
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff