Mistake of the Month - July 2020
The Benefits of Artistic Mistakes
In this Newsletter you can find:
Mistake's Letter to Kids
Hello my friends,
Do you like making art? I enjoy making art, but sometimes I feel frustrated when my work doesn’t turn out as I expected.
Last week I started a new project, and I was excited about it. However, after a few minutes of working, I made a mistake and cut the wrong shapes for my collage. I asked my mom to cut new shapes for me, but she said that I was capable of cutting shapes, so she was not going to do it for me. She said that she has made similar mistakes in the past and advised me to keep working with the shapes that I have already cut, even if they didn’t look as I originally planned.
My work was going to look completely different than I had hoped. I kept working and actually enjoyed coming up with different ideas. I glued my shapes, drew on them, and drew a frame around my work. I enjoyed the activity very much, but when I was done, I didn’t like the final result and was upset. I invested so much work, yet I didn’t want to hang my art on the wall. It was too ugly!
I was disappointed and frustrated. My mom told me that it was okay to express my feelings, and she hugged me. Slowly, I calmed down. Mom noticed that my art was very colorful, my drawings were detailed, and I used the correct amount of glue to attach the shapes to my paper.
I learned from this experience that everyone makes mistakes, even my mom. I also learned that it’s okay to dislike the end result because I did enjoy doing the work and practiced important skills that would help my future art projects.
Have you ever felt frustrated when you created art? I would love to read your stories. You can share your story on our Upload Stories page.
Note to Parents
Art and kids, kids and art. We can’t deny art is a magnificent way to develop many skills, like creativity, fine motor skills, color harmony, perspectives and to observe the whole world around through a different lens. But we also can’t deny that the relationship between parents and kid’s art is, sometimes…well… awkward.
Best case scenario, we have bins and bins of artwork that we could use to cover our walls from ceiling to floor, but many times our house is just flooded with them everywhere, maybe some decorate our fridges or we mail some to grandma who doesn’t mind collecting them.
If you are like me… you may have bins with artwork from your first child and basically recycled 90% of your younger children’s artwork. Hey, I have moved houses at least twice, so I had to make that decision!
And when it comes to art in your house, especially with quarantine… I bet paint containers, brushes, papers, clay, beads, leaves, glue and, glitter--oh yes--have taken over your dining table.
But before you run away from what may seem like pure madness, think about what is actually going on not just inside your house, but inside your child’s brains. According to research presented by the AASA (The School Superintendents Association), art is actually connecting your kid to many centuries of interaction between humans and our environment. Without an ABC, even before being able to express complex ideas in verbal or written form, your child is actually communicating. Yes, on that piece of paper with a big red scribble that your 3YO insists is CLEARLY an elephant, you have the evidence of the evolution of our brain as a species. Isn’t it amazing?
Yes, but… what about the bins with tons of crayon scribbles?
There are plenty of ideas. Many websites have services that scan the artwork and turn them into books--we actually think that’s a neat idea. Because we want to support local business owners, we encourage you to call your local photographer; we are pretty sure they can offer you something unique, along with an unforgettable photo session!
After that, you can either recycle, frame, give away or, our favorite, use them as wrapping paper for birthday gifts.
But whatever you do, we encourage you to do art and join in on the activities. Yes, YOU, grown up, join the art activities: grab a crayon, rip magazine pages, get messy and let creativity take over without judgments for you and/or your little one, and share your results with us in our instagram page @LoveUrMistakes
Practical tools to Deal with Kids’ Frustration While Creating Art
By Yana Stup
Imagine this: you try to create art with your child, but instead of relaxing and enjoying the activity, the child declares that he did not do well or asks you to do the work for him. Or, in extreme cases, he leaves angry or tears the page and cries, claiming it is not good enough.
The reason that the child cannot enjoy the creative process is the wish for the artwork to be perfect (and if at all possible, then not having to work too hard to make it). The frustration comes from the gap between what the child wants to create and what he is actually able to produce at this given moment.
Around the age of four, children develop a need to express themselves through realistic drawing--as true to reality as possible. They would be interested in abstract art again only around the age of 10 years old. Until then, their brain maturity is not ready for that, and it may confuse them. So, let them try realistic painting, and don't try to persuade abstract painting.
This means that we would need to find ways to deal with frustration of less than perfect performance while trying to draw or paint realistically.
First, take a deep breath. Inhale through the nose to the stomach and exhale through the mouth. You can also turn your face up for three seconds.
When dealing with our child/ student’s frustration, we need to stay strong, calm, and stable. This would show the child that we can contain his difficult emotions. The last thing a child needs is for the adults to ask, “Why did you do that?” He would not be able to answer, and this question would only annoy him and keep him distant.
Once we breathe and made sure that we can provide a stable support to our child, we can use one of the following methods:
Acknowledgment & Solidarity: "I see you are frustrated; it seems very unpleasant to feel that way, I know the feeling." This response demonstrates to the child that you accept his feelings and don’t judge them.
Leading Question: Please explain to me what you would like to change / add / subtract here? Often kids will answer “Everything!”. Do not accept a general answer, and direct the child to something more specific: “Please show me one or two elements that bother you.”
In the first few times of practicing this method, it may take a while longer for the child to learn how to provide a specific answer, and you will need to repeat the question several times. It is important for the child to see that you are not discouraged. Do not give up!
You can help the child to understand the message through examples and stories: “If I ride my bike, fall and bruise my leg, does that mean that I should never ride again? Or maybe I could disinfect the wound and continue to ride and even be really good at it?” It’s best to come up with examples that are relevant to your child’s world: dancing, singing, sports, drama, cooking, etc.
Our job is to help the child separate the problem he has with the painting from the perception of himself as a whole person. We need to help them change their mindset from the mindset that “Everything I create is ugly” to “I am learning to paint and as a beginner, and I know how to deal with challenge." We want to constantly lead him by focusing on what specifically bothers him in his work and stay away from implying a general assumption that he is not capable of anything.
Once the child tells us what exactly bothers him, we move on to the next question that would lead him to find a solution and overcome the frustration. For example, the child says, “The head of the teddy bear I drew is too small.” Your response should be: “Okay, if this bothers you, how do you think you can change it?” do not rush to provide solutions. Let the child think for himself. In most cases he will come up with creative and better solutions than the ones us adults could provide. When you allow the child to solve his own problems, you empower him and give him a sense of control and independence.
If the child does not come up with solutions you can offer two options: “You could put a blank paper on top of your drawing and copy everything except for the head, which you can draw bigger. Or you can draw a bigger head on the existing drawing and erase the initial version. Which option works better for you?”
Once the child chooses a course of action, praise him for his ability to overcome frustration. For instance, “I noticed how challenging this was for you, you were frustrated (it’s important to name his feelings), but you didn’t give up and kept trying. This is how famous and successful artists like Michael Angelo and De Vinci responded to challenges; they didn’t give up either." Do not praise him for his talent!
I wish you all an enjoyable and empowering creative process.
Yana Stup (b. 1983, FSU) lives and works in Rehovot, Israel. She studied art and painting privately; among her tutors was artist Eran Weber. She also studied Art History at the Open University of Israel. Stup's art focuses mainly on engraving and hammering on metal (gold aluminum foil) in varying dimensions, small as well as large, and on figurative oil painting. Her works consist mainly of metal plates engraved in reverse (embossed) and hand-sewn with wax thread. Some of the works are painted on canvas in mixed media, including hot-melt adhesive on which gold pigment is impressed. Another body of work spans figurative painting in oil on canvas. Her works contain images and texts extracted from her diaries over the years, in which she describes autobiographical places with traumatic overtones as well as additional questions pertaining to gender identity and multiculturalism. She is currently working on her first book, an autobiographical novel.
Meet Our Experts
Literature Review - Art
We are excited and proud to feature this month’s author, Diane Alber. Diane has written and illustrated a series of children’s books that inspire art and creativity in children. She hopes these books encourage parents to be proud of their children’s art work no matter what it looks like. This is what Diane wrote to our subscribers:
I am not just a scribble by Diane Alber
Ish Peter by H. Reynolds
Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg
The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken
Art by Patrick McDonnell
The Dot by Peter H Reynolds
Fun Art Activities
Tear & Draw
Take a paper that you don't need (old newspaper, stand paper, print paper).
Tear the paper into random shapes, around the size of 1/4 letter size.
Look at the shapes and think of what they remind you?
Draw or paint inside of your shape.
You can keep your shaped drawings and later glue them on to another paper and draw additional elements to complete the artwork.
Monoprint Making - by Mr. P
You'll need: gel press plate, briar, acrylic paint, blank paper, baby wipes.
If you don't have gel plate try to make the prints without it, using random items with interesting texture.
Watch this amazing step by step lesson of making mono print by the fabulous Mr. P.
Subscribe to Mr P's YouTube channel for many more awesome art lessons.
Take a blank paper.
Satin the paper with random splashes of paint / cold coffee / ink.
Let the stains dry.
Go back to your paper and try to find shapes, animals, or objects in the stains.
Create your own unique art with the stains: you can draw, add more paint, glue elements, etc.