The Mother of Adventure

My own Rembrandts-in-training

on March 5, 2014

Lily's American GothicIt’s not every day that my six-year-old comes home with her own rendition of American Gothic.

“Mom, do you think they were married to each other?” Lily asked me, clearly about to burst with excitement at the chance to demonstrate her background knowledge of this famous piece of art. “Yes, maybe they were – it looks like they’re a married couple, doesn’t it?” I replied.

“They weren’t married though, Mom!” she said triumphantly. “The woman in the painting was the artist’s sister!” I could see that the history behind this piece of art had really resonated with Lily.

I’ve always known that both of our two daughters, Elissa and Lily, loved art of all kinds – so it was a no-brainer to sign them up for drawing classes with Young Rembrandts this winter. I figured they would have a bit of fun with it – Lily in the elementary drawing classes and Elissa in cartooning (the program also offers preschool drawing for the JK/SK set). But the artwork they’ve been bringing home is phenomenal (insert Mommy bias here!) and, more importantly, they’ve been loving every minute of it.

SnowboarderLily’s creations have not been limited to replicating famous art (although there’s something uber-adorable about that – plus I love that she’s being exposed to art history at such a young age). Starting with drawing inanimate objects, she has progressed to learning the basics of capturing the human body – she recently came home with a great piece of art depicting a snowboarder.

Nine-year-old Elissa and her best friend have been taking cartooning classes. Her resulting artwork is cute, silly and expressive – just like Elissa herself. A big fan of cartoons, the class seems to be the perfect fit for her. Based on the horizontal and vertical lines – erased but still visible – it’s clear that she’s working hard to incorporate the instructor’s lesson on symmetry in her figures.

Cartoon babyIt’s so interesting to see the contrasting styles of drawing that our two girls bring home every week – it’s really like comparing apples and oranges. The challenge in cartooning is to produce several sketches within the allotted hour – often in black and white – whereas Lily’s output is one detailed piece of work per session.

As a parent, I find it rewarding to have found a series of workshops that not only engages my girls, but also helps them to develop skills and self-confidence.

While their artwork might not yet warrant the opening of a new downtown gallery, their efforts are generating some great keepsakes – and they will definitely find a place of honour on my own walls.

9 responses to “My own Rembrandts-in-training

  1. Cathy says:

    Wow, ALL these are phenomenal!! I’m just blown away. I have a soft spot for Lily’s rendition of American Gothic though. 😉 I’ll have to check out Young Rembrandts!

  2. Melissa says:

    Amazing!!! All of the drawings are SO advanced and well done! My daughters love to draw too, and are starting to ask me for tips (unfortunately I have none). If we still lived in Ottawa, I would definitely start them in these classes…

  3. Meredith says:

    This is great! I hope they have lots of creativity in store for you during march break too 🙂

  4. Wow, I love this article! And I love the idea of art school for kids. When I was small, my only introduction into art was stencils out of books and art class. This is a fantastic and beautiful way to develop a child’s creativity and mind! And those drawings are amazing!

  5. Reblogged this on writing weasel and commented:
    Check out these awesome artists-in-training!

  6. I’m glad your girls enjoy art so much. Maybe I’m wrong, but schools seem to give the arts short shrift, which is a shame. So many kids seem to be naturally drawn (pardon the intentional pun) to art and music and a good bit of research has been conducted showing the emotional, social and intellectual benefits of creating art I can’t believe more isn’t done to nurture it, though, to be fair, their seem to be a lot of programs and schools around like the one’s your daughters participate in. Lena plays guitar and draws as well and Kate and I hope she will always have those, or similar, interests. Picasso said something along the lines of all kids are artists, the challenge is remaining an artist as we grow up. Sorry – rambling slightly incoherent comment. Great post again Sonia

    • What a great quote from Picasso – I hadn’t heard that before. Isn’t it true, though? It’s so innate for kids, but as we grow older it seems like a frivolous indulgence when, in fact, it’s so deeply linked to our emotional well-being and expression. That’s awesome that Lena is musical and artistic – check out the Young Rembrandts program I you can, they have classes all over the city and I’d (obviously) highly recommend them.

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