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Hey! I'm Stephanie of Grinning Like An Idiot. Grinning Like An Idiot is me whenever I do something that makes me happy, whether it is sewing, painting, vacationing, a funny interaction, just life in general. Read More

How My experience with Kids Art turned me on to Art: Spotlight on Faigie!

Hello dear readers! Please welcome my guest poster, Faigie Kobre the author of and owner of the blog  Edu Art 4 Kids.

I have always loved art. As a child I spent some of my time copying from other pictures.I however, did not think it was art. I was under the impression that artists drew from imagination and it was a cop out for me to be copying. When my mom would tell me how creative I was, I just poo poohed her.

(Below are two pictures I found from 1974. The first was from my only art class I took in 9th grade and the second one of the pictures I did that my mom loved)

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I had very little art in my schooling, (unless you count the ridiculous copycat crafts we did in Kindergarten and one high school art class) until I got to graduate school.

I graduated with a degree in early childhood from a very progressive school called The Bank Street College of Education.My best class was the art for teachers class. I loved painting and when my teacher went on to do other activities with my classmates, I kept painting and she allowed me to. Mind you this was not with acrylics,s oils or watercolors but children tempera, but I loved it.

When I taught early childhood I was very focused on giving the children art that allowed them to be creative and to think for themselves. I always hated the copycat art projects. However, I still stayed with the idea that you can’t copy other pictures to be really creative.

Life took over, I got married, had kids, left education, took some random art courses through the years and always just felt this burning need to be creative without being able to let it out. I felt stuck. I would often walk through the arts and crafts store, Michaels and drool at the art supplies, but felt locked in an inability to be creative.

When my children were little, an artist friend of mine gave me a book to read Drawing With Children by Mona Brooks. Mona developed what she calls the Monart method where she teaches drawing to children as young as 4 or 5.

Her book busted a few myths for me.

I learned that most artists copy from life or images (at least to begin) and I learned that it really is art when you copy…that it is not the same thing as copying a crafts project.

A few years ago I got involved in internet marketing and blogging and chose to blog about my old passion, childrens art.
As I was blogging however, I was not doing any art myself. I was just writing about old projects that I had done with kids.

A consultant from a course I took, told me that I needed to get children to do art projects that I could blog about.So I started putting together projects for my neighbors children to do , so I could blog about it.

Then, to get even more content for my blog I decided to offer art classes in my home and I as I prepared for this class that I managed to put together, I realized that I had a course inside of me.

I was going to use this class to document how one can teach children in the 5-7 age bracket how to draw and do art, even if the adult teaching did not have an art background.

That was me. An art teacher without an art background.

I also spoke to an old friend of mine from graduate school who had became a principal of a new local school. We had the same educational philosophies, so when I told her I thought she needed an art teacher and that I was the perfect candidate, she said Great! And I was in, my second art teaching job, with no art background.

So now here I was, an art teacher with no art background, my juices were flowing, I was doing tons of research, coming up with great ideas but, I was still not doing any of my own art

Then a funny thing happened. As I got involved in doing art with kids I saw that I was giving them art that I wish I had done as a child and it was so therapeutic that I felt my old creative juices stirring.

I knew that it was time to start doing my own art. I didn’t feel blocked anymore, just needed some direction.

Not long after that I saw an ad for a class in watercolors by an artist that I followed. (Jane LeFazio)

I had become a bit familiar with watercolors through my kids art classes and even had most of the materials.

So I am finally doing my own art.

It’s wonderful.

It’s online so I don’t even have to get dressed to go to class, and I can do it when I have the time.

I feel like have found my groove and even though the course is only a 6 weeks, I feel like it has loosened me up enough for me to take my art further, and I hope to do so. (one of the assignments below, to paint a citrus fruit)

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As I continue to teach these children and develop my own art background I hope I can enrich their lives at least as much as they have enriched mine.

So the moral of the story is. If you feel stuck in your own art, go teach some kids art. Even if you don’t have an art background.

Faigie Kobre is the owner of Edu Art 4 Kids, an art website for parents and teachers teaching the best kinds of art for kids development. If you want to understand why she is so anti copycat arts and crafts for kids, then you can begin by downloading Faigies free report The 3 types of kids crafts that suppress creativity, reduce IQ, weaken self esteem and how to avoid them. This report helps understand how children can become better learners, increase their self esteem and inspire amazing creativity.

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  • Tammy

    What a great idea! Our daughter is very artistic, me not so much, so when we decided to homeschool I was very concerned that her art would regress with me teaching her. Not so in fact! Because we were no longer limited to a set curriculum we researched and practiced things that she was interested in and I learned right along with her. Now she’s ready to graduate high school and is putting together her portfolio and when I look at what I’ve created…well it’s not gallery worthy, but even I’ve come a long way in the last 7 years :)

    • Stephanie

      That’s wonderful! I have heard from some of my friends who pursued an art degree that they felt limited because of what they learned and were critiqued on in school – stifled was the word one of them used. My mom is a good reference, she creates all sorts of stuff on her own by reading, dreaming and trying – it’s amazing! She has worked up the most gorgeous piece I can’t wait to share, it gave me chills and made me tear up it was so amazing!
      The key, I think, is to be proud of your work and creation. And, if criticism is provided, find that tiny grain of wisdom in even the most cynical critisism to enhance the current spirit of the piece, after all not everyone should be a critic because not everyone is good at being constructive.
      I’d love to see some of your and your daughters work!
      Thank you so much for leaving a comment and contributing to our community!

    • faigie

      It doesn’t have to be gallery worthy, just enjoyable for you to look at

  • Chelle W

    I truly believe the artistic gene skipped me. It was in my grandma and mom and in all 6 of my kids. Me however yeah no. Or maybe it’s because of my lack of patience and wanting everyting to look perfect the first time vs practice practice practice. lol

    • faigie

      Cell ei have really come to believe that most can learn some level of art. Have you heard about drawing on the right side of the brain. Amazing things happen with people who couldn’t do anything

  • Jennifer H

    You can really see your talent started way back when. Great job!

    • faigie

      Thanks Jennifer, but the funny thing is I never really saw myself as having artistic talent

  • mumseword

    wow it’s great! it’s like the genesis of it all! :)

  • Rachel

    I think that is how just about everyone discovers they have any talent. They get thrown in it, in school or even later in life in a job, and slowly they get more involved. Then bam, you love it!

  • Julie

    Being thrown into the deep end definitely forces you to discover where your strengths lie. But working with kids gives it a whole new dimension – they don’t let you put limits on yourself the way working with adults might.

  • http://www.tothemotherhood.com/ HilLesha

    You’re certainly very talented! :)