LEARNING FROM CHILDREN
I remember my history of art teacher at school once saying that when two people look at a painting the most obvious thing to one person may be completely different to what's most obvious to the other. If asked to describe it and to express what it communicates, those two people may give two very different descriptions and analyses.
When I volunteered in Samos, I initiated many creative activities with children aged 7 to 17. We engaged in everything from craft and cooking to music. I was fascinated in seeing how when setting a task, my own creative ‘parameters’ were often ‘broken through’ by the children. The most obvious thing to them may have been something that wouldn’t immediately occur to me, and to each child a different instinct would steer them in their creativity. Often, the younger they were the more open and imaginative they were, but they all had something to teach me. Below is an example of something we did one day, I upcycled a water tank into a fruit bowl and a wonderful girl from Somalia painted it vibrantly.
Any artist feeling the need to seek another source for ways to think ‘out of the box’ should consider spending time with children. They see things with a freshness and with an experimental inclination that is different to adults, and which I found quite enlightening.