Some say infants are born with wisdom and abilities. It is a thought to ponder.
Let’s take a journey watching a young artist create and grow.
When a baby is old enough to manipulate small objects, he should be given one crayon and a white piece of paper. He will be beyond delighted when he realizes that he has the power to make this crayon work. You’ll see a big, happy, toothless smile! Share in his joy.
Crayon sessions should be short because of his limited attention span. Gradually, add six colors, one at a time. He will be so proud of himself when some coloring emerges.
At this point, you will begin to see his artist’s personality. Note the following: does he make small, delicate lines, or big thick lines? Does he go left to right, right to left, or all over the page? Does he tend to use certain colors? Etc.
When the baby is a little older, he decides, all on his own, to start to do more representational art. Of course, he tries to draw what he knows best, which is the human face. All of his life, people have been holding him and looking into his eyes. He looks back, and with his infant powers, melts our hearts.
So, he begins with a circle or oval, then adds two dots for eyes, in approximately the correct place. He is pleased with his floating head.
Can you guess what he does next?
At the bottom of the circle, he adds a straight-line mouth. He knows the importance of the mouth. Moments after his birth, he opens his mouth, looking for nourishment. Now he puts unfamiliar objects in his mouth to try to learn about them. Babies are great observers. He enjoys other peoples’ mouths as they: smile at him, speak or sing to him, blow sweet kisses to him, etc.
Now he realizes the importance of hands that feed him, that hold him, that make him feel loved and safe. He does not recognize arms yet, so he puts straight lines, representing hands, not arms, on both sides of the circle, where our ears are actually located.
Of interest is that these simple floating head figures have been found throughout the world, made by babies of a similar age. Also note that the floating heads have been found throughout history, as far back as images on cave walls. Today, some people have compared these images to pictures of outer space aliens.
Getting back to our artist, as the toddler begins to walk, he becomes more aware of bodies. He may add two stick legs to the bottom of the head. Or, he may have become aware of the body, and added a second circle under the head. The more mature toddler will put the arms and legs into the body circle.
And so it goes on. The preschool child is aware of his environment and his pictures will reflect this. For example, if his caretaker wears hoop earrings, he will become aware of ears, and will add them to his pictures.
School-age children make amazing developments, but it is some time before children get all the right parts of the body in the correct places, and with the correct proportions.
It’s a fascinating journey to observe. Thank you for joining me and the young artist.