As a teacher I am constantly concerned about my involvement in children's art. I have recently attended workshops at the Early Childhood Convention on this particular topic and was amazed at how many others faced this dilemma. I love art, and exploring texture, colour, shape, and I love to experiment with many mediums. I have often sat with the children at the art table and my fingers have itched to get lost in the world of art - but something stops me. One thing that does stop me is my ability to get LOST in my art and I find it hard to connect with others and activities going on around me. So this is probably not the best place to be when I have the responsibility of 30 children in my care. On the other hand - I am also stopped by the voices in my head - the ones that say "Don't show the children you are better at drawing than they are - they might feel discouraged". There are times when I have drawn one or two things - and the children do feel discouraged and have asked me to draw something for them. I have felt uncomfortable in this position - because I haven't yet come up with an encouraging statement that continues their explorations. I have felt though that abstract collage would be an area I would love to explore with the children at Kindergarten. Just getting involved, getting messy, gluing, ripping, cutting, shaking, creating. That is one of my aims for 2008.
My other dilemma is colouring-in. I LOVED to colour in when I was a child. There were times that I was stuck inside for numerous reasons - usually I was tired and I didn't want to have to think. Colouring in was my refuge. I could sit for hours and colour. Yes I was provided with colouring-in books - pictures of stereo typical flowers, the quintessential boys and girls, butterflies and clowns. I coloured them all in , and when I had more energy I created my own. But I loved to colour-in. I firmly believe that my accute knowledge of colour derives from my intense obsession with colouring-in as a child. It is what drives my art today, drives my photography and aids my composition. I can see the argument many present for banning colouring-in for young developing minds - I'm not sure I completely agree with it - but I see the arguement - thus my dilemma. I have, therefore, turned to Mandala style designs for a new book I have created called 'The Chill Book'. I provide it here for you to explore - with your children or on your own. Explore colour and enjoy. The designs are probably a bit too intricate for kindergarten aged children - I will work on that.
Please be aware I charge a small fee for this file - a recognition of the time, creativity and effort I have put into creating this book. Check it out - see what you think and PLEASE leave your comments as a form of feedback and reflection for my on going professional development.