One of the many hats I'm wearing these days is that of an Art Instructor. I run after-school programs for elementary school kids in East Vancouver. We've been doing painting and drawing, and at one school, all of the kids in the beginner program from last fall signed up for an advanced program from January to March Break.
I love working with these kids, and I feel especially lucky to have a group for a second time around, because we know each other a bit better. Today we made collages, and i taught them how to decoupage paper by gluing the paper down and then also glazing over the paper. Some of them even added some paint and 3-D effects. I've got some amazing artists in this group, and some who, although they may not render objects perfectly (i say who wants to???), have an amazing sense of colour and composition that they are not even aware of. I've enjoyed pushing some of them out of their comfort zones, like today's collages, or a few weeks ago painting to different music styles with a live musician in the room and using toothbrushes, nail brushes, sponges, scouring pads and bubble wrap as experimental "paintbrushes". I've seen these kids come up with ideas that even I never thought of!
Today, i nearly died when they just magically started cleaning up 20 minutes before the end of the program. Normally i have to get their attention and give lots of warnings and repeatedly ask them to stop painting. Today, they just kind of floated into cleanup mode and the only thing I had to facilitate was the cleanup of the scraps of paper that were all over the floor, which is unusual since we normally paint.
So, i guess what I'm trying to say is that i feel grateful to be given the opportunity to work with and learn from these wonderful little artists, and I guess it would be kind of nice if they learned something from me, too.