Encouraging Artistic Expression vs. Over-Instruction

big mouth
Big Mouth sculpture by Jude


Ah, Jude. My oldest child has such a funny and fearless artistic style. Pictured above is a sculpture he made at school that I will cherish forever. I'm positive there was very little art direction here by anyone, and left to his own imagination, he came up with this crazy big-mouthed creature.  Mouth open so wide, you can't see his face, just his two front teeth topped with a villain's curled moustache.

Art requires freedom. Freedom to express creativity without worrying what people will think, or if it's good enough. And opportunity vs. over-instruction to allow the artist to interpret the project and execute as he or she sees fitting. As a parent I hope Jude keeps that carefree instinct and don't become stifled trying to please. As an artist, I admire him and aspire to be that fearless in my own work.

My younger son, Noah, has the expression part down for sure. Pictured below, I can see how he might not realize that once the chalkboard ends and his wall begins he's not supposed to color on the wall anymore. But Noah is generally a pleaser, so my favorite thing about this (naughty) expression is his strike-through commentary on the graphic art we have hanging in his room. His mark making is unrestrained. (That's gold Sharpie, by the way, not chalk.) I couldn't get mad about this. In fact, I kind of love it.
scribble wall
Mark making by Noah

Strike through
Strike-through expression. (I think he's over the farm animals.)