Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Art Class

“Bravo Isabella!”
“Super Grace”
“Fantastique Natalie!”
“C’est cochon Stella”

That was when it began…”cochon” a word in French which means ‘pig’ and an adjective which means filthy, dirty,..…you get the picture.
And a picture was exactly what this was about. Stella and friends were painting in kindergarten class. Apparently the friends were producing works equivalence to Monet, Rembrandt, and Van Gogh, while Stella was producing a ‘pig sty‘.
This was a tough one to swallow as a mom. Stella can be a mess. Her room, her hair, her personal attempts at most anything can be unruly to say the least. At times she’s much more of a mule than a pig. Furthermore, if she doesn’t want to be doing it, she’s not going to do it well. Period.
We could appreciate an outside attempt at working to turn her organizational skills, perseverance, and kindergarten art work around. However, “pig” may have been a little harsh. I like to think something was lost in translation. It’s a competitive world out there, but does it matter how perfect a painting looks at the kindergarten level?
Nevertheless, she came home that day in tears. Eventually wailing for an hour about how horrible she was at painting. I tired to correct the issue early, offering her a personal painting lesson. Suggestions to paint often were abundant. Still, she felt she just couldn’t paint what she pictured in her mind. The sad picture became worse, as our infinitely capable and imaginative child began to shrivel creatively.
Despite best efforts, during the last year, her lack of confidence in painting spread to a lack of confidence in writing cursive, drawing, coloring, and eventually anything that had to do with applying something to a paper. Work that came home from school was given high praise by family, but she seemed to need to hear ‘bravo’ from someone else. Someone who might really scrutinize her work for her work, and not just toss out any willy nilly measure of support. Christmas rolled around and Santa brought Stella her very own painting kit, complete with ‘grown up” paint and supplies. Yet, we still heard “I’m not good at painting.”
To which we responded "but Santa must think you can do it?"
We needed help, and began to search far and wide. Little did we know we'd find help in our own neighborhood.


Hence, Pascale, an art instructor trained in art therapy, who has her own studio, but will travel to homes. She conducts birthday parties, adult and children’s classes. Pascale is very kind, and when we told her our story, she gladly offered to help (for a fee of course). We settled on 5 lessons. For locals, click here for her website
We’d recommend her. If someone told you painted like a pig, we highly recommend her!
Now Pascale comes to the house and instructs Stella, who is enamored with her. For Stella, suffering of 2nd child birth order syndrome at times, the personal one on one attention has been great. Her attitude and demeanor have improved. Her confidence continues to climb and she is willing to pick up a paintbrush again.

Who knows, we might just have the next Picasso on our hands.
We’d be equally happy with having silly Stella back though.
Stay tuned. We may have to present a gallery exhibit soon.

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