Just came back after picking up my daughter from her drawing class. An exceptionally busy day today, with extra classes for dance practice for her performance followed by immediately taking her to the drawing class. Phew! Some days are sure hectic.
My daughter is all of 5 now, and it’s been almost a year that she has constantly said she wants to become a painter when she grows up. I’m quite pleased. Having my roots in Calcutta, I have many relatives back there who are painters and artists and performers, and I personally have always loved to be associated with the creative world. Guess nothing makes a mom more proud than seeing her daughter liking what she does! But it’s too early and I know this is just a phase, I’m sure she’ll have many more want-to-be’s as she grows up.
The point is, ever since she learnt to hold a crayon in her tiny pudgy fingers, she has had a free reign of the house, spreading a happy riot of colours through her growing up years. And as parents, we never complained. So even though I would give a lot of thought and time to the way I did and re-shuffled my interiors, one thing I would be chilled out about was the many colourful lines and patterns and trying-to-figure-out-what-this-is patterns on the walls. And of course these weren’t restricted till the nursery. The riot of colours would take over the entire house and be an ever-present reality in our daily lives. Many times our friends commented how they were surprised we ‘allowed’ her to ‘dirty’ the house like this, to waste a wall of good paint, to scribble on the walls when we should have taught her better. Hmmm….
Very soon her attention and time shifted to paper, with combinations of crayons, colour pencils, sketch pens and water colours. And as she started understanding the world of colours, she began learning everything on her own about various textures and looks, and though I didn’t put her in any drawing class earlier, she suddenly took to painting in different ways – using the paint brush, using her fingers and thumb for different effects, using an old toothbrush, using cotton balls. And each time she left the floor in a colourful mess, the smile on her face and the ‘picture’ she showed me would make me a notch prouder. Isn’t that what childhood is all about – to learn and experiment and do things on your own and find out the why’s and how’s? I believe it is, and instead of making her learn a set way of drawing, I let her explore it first in her own personal way.
What I’m realising more and more as I got her into drawing class and changed her teachers is that the idea of teaching drawing to kids, at least in India, is still about drawing a particular picture and asking the child to colour ‘inside the lines’. The more I have tried to explain the teachers that this is not the ideal way of holding a growing child’s interest for months on end, nor is it enough to help unleash someone’s personal creativity, it never ever works. For the teachers, this is sadly the only way they know. And for the kids, there is no end in sight to sitting day after day and just keep on colouring inside the lines. I, for one, don’t encourage my daughter to only do that. I want her to learn much more than that. So if we can’t have that in the drawing class, we do all of that at home. I give her plenty of blank papers and colours and she is free to create what she wants, the way she wants. So it is that she makes these ‘abstract’ paintings, and then she explains to me her logic behind the painting. So much so that she also points out the different things she can see in that painting. And once I look at it from her view, I start seeing the same too.
I, for once, believe that it’s sometimes okay to blur out the lines a little bit, to do things a little differently than what others near you are doing, to try and make your own space your own way. And if that opens up a whole new world for my little one, well, could I have asked for more?
Debolina Raja Gupta loves being a mommy and best friend to her 5-year old princess. A working mom, voracious reader, social activist, photographer, poet, travel freak, beauty writer and an everything-of-sorts. Best fun is story time and our fashionista time together. My blogs: The Book Worm, A Few Thoughts Here And There, My Little One And Me, Beauty Makeup And More.