The Mother of Adventure

Artists under construction

on November 10, 2014
Elissa's spider cartoon

Every week in her ‘Cartooning’ session, 10-year-old Elissa creates several drawings like this one.

For the past year, my daughters – ages 10 and seven – have been taking drawing classes with the Young Rembrandts here in Ottawa, and they truly love every moment of it. Like most kids, Elissa and Lily have been involved in a dizzying plethora of activities over the years…we’ve tried dancing, skating, gymnastics, baseball, soccer, drama classes, piano and swimming – to name a few (I’m sure I’m missing others!). As a parent, I think it’s important to expose my children to a range of activities – though I am very careful not to hyper-schedule them with too many concurrent activities – they also need time just to be kids! Every class or course my kids try brings different results; some have been more successful than others. But I can honestly say that the Young Rembrandts ranks among their top favourite extra-curricular activities to date.

Lily's boat

Seven-year-old Lily’s recent creation from the Young Rembrandts’ Elementary Drawing class.

As a parent, there’s nothing more frustrating than signing your child up for a new activity – and shelling out your hard-earned money for registration – only to find their interest waning by the third session. It pains me to hear the woeful, “Do we have to go today, Mom?” Hearing your kids ask, “How many more sessions till it’s over?” is another tell-tale sign they are not fully engaged in the activity in question.

Happily, that just never happens with their drawing classes. Although my girls have been attending several back-to-back sessions of the Young Rembrandts – both the ‘Elementary Drawing’ sessions as well as the ‘Cartooning’ sessions – they are always hungry for more. I think that’s because of a few things. First, the instructors always keep it fresh – they are never repeating the same, tired lesson from the previous session – rather, they are always introducing a new concept or artistic style to keep the kids engaged. Secondly, they are never harsh or critical – they offer their guidance, but give the kids creative license to make their art their own – without any pressure to make it “perfect.”

Elissa's cute hamburger

The sky’s the limit when it comes to cartoons…this is Elissa’s “cute” hamburger.

Most of all, I’ve come to see that drawing – that fundamental skill of the visual arts – is something that is always growing and dynamic. You don’t take a single course and master it; rather, it continues to evolve as you dedicate time to it and increase your confidence. I see that happening every week – when Elissa and Lily run out of their class, so eager to show me what they’ve created in their latest session. The drawings are piling up…which means yours truly has some organizing to do. But finding wall space for their latest masterpieces seems a small price to pay to encourage my little “artists under construction” to keep at it.

The next five-week session of the Young Rembrandts starts soon – Barrhaven, Stittsville and Orleans-based classes start on Nov. 15 and Kanata starts on Nov. 22. For more information and to register, visit the Young Rembrandts web site.


8 responses to “Artists under construction

  1. Geoff says:

    I’m so glad they enjoy this (and are clearly good at it). You know, I really believe art is every bit as important as the “hard” academic subjects like math, science and English. I think art informs and complements everything we do in ways we don’t fully understand. Plus, I really believe the act of creating is great for the soul.

    • Yes…what *he* said!! So well expressed, Geoff…as always, which is what makes you such an interesting, poignant and witty writer. Hope your week is off to a great start, my friend!

  2. I remember when you were a small imp of a sister, and you spent hours and hours drawing and coloring with creative abandonment. Judging by the art displayed above, your kids are as equally as talented!

    • That’s true, I suppose I did Heather! These days, I’ve largely abandoned the visual arts – but I love that my kids enjoy drawing. Hey, maybe they’ll take after their Oma and become talented painters, too! xo

  3. Melissa says:

    Aaack! The “cute hamburger” is KILLING ME: I will take two t-shirts with it screen-printed on the front, please! ; )

  4. Louise says:

    What a great idea! There are so many good programs out there. And the hamburger is adorable.

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