Thursday, February 20, 2014

Artist in the Making

A few months ago, Little A started art classes at school, under the care of a young artist I met through my secondhand book supplier. It turns out this artist also works with special needs children, so I gave his number to Little A's school heads and after one interview, he was hired.

Little A has never liked colouring. He has no patience, or desire, to shade in a large space with colour, and his fine motor skills need work, so it requires extra effort for him to hold a crayon for a period of time and move it in repeated strokes. Finger paint makes him gag, as does play dough, and he likes to spread paint on the floor so he can swim in it.

Why then, would I enrol him in art class?

Ever since he was tiny he has had books featuring the work of artists, and loves the bold colours of Van Gogh's art in particular. That much interest can only be positive, and so I am exploiting it as such. Just as his love of instruments will lead to music lessons as soon as I find a teacher, so the love of art has led to this.

At any rate, the art teacher is more of a blessing than I expected. He is working closely with Little A's OT and schoolteachers to work on the hand positions and strokes that need strengthening. They begun with colouring - crayons on paper that increased in size as Little A's tolerance for the activity increased. I was told painting on canvas would be next.

Shortly before Christmas, Art Teacher told me that Little A and his schoolmates would be joining a students' Biennale at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, running for three months. They would collectively produce a painting that would be the school's piece for the fair. In addition, the works the students had done so far would be printed onto Christmas cards for sale to parents.

I proudly bought a pack of cards featuring Little A's coloured Christmas ball ornaments, and sold several packs at my stores in lieu of the charity cards we normally sell. His work on exhibit though, I only saw last week, when I went to the theatre to see "Wicked." Little A will be taken to see his work on display before it comes down, as soon as we get a free day.

Two weeks ago, Art Teacher came out to show me a square canvas with an abstract design on it. It was still wet, but he told me this was Little A's work. I immediately saw the influence of the abstract hanging in our dining room, which Little A has tried to paint over several times.

Since starting with oil on canvas, my son has resisted going back to crayons on paper. Yesterday, at the bookstore, he spotted this rubber "palette" (actually a coaster) and insisted we buy it. He proudly carried it all the way home, and last night tried to paint using it and my makeup brush.

An artist then, is something my son might be. I can totally live with that.

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