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Marjorie Sarnat : Even If You Canít Draw ... You Can Be an Artist!

Even If You Can’t Draw
a Straight Line,
You Can Be an Artist!

For Ages Toddler to Codger

By Marjorie Sarnat

“Both Art-isms and Twenty Textures are about engaging in creative thinking exercises. The benefits of doing these activities will strengthen your creativity in many areas of your and your child’s life.”

"Ancient Secrets," detail of a painting by Marjorie Sarnat ©2012I’ve heard the “can’t draw a straight line” lament many times from those who wish to be more artistic but lack the confidence. The truth is that straight lines have little to do with artistic expression. Creativity does.

Relax and enjoy the experience of painting whether you have traditional art skills or not, and creativity will flow. Children already know this.

Here are two easy but mind-expanding art projects you might want to do right along with your kids. While they may need guidance in procedures, just try to keep up with their creative momentum!

Both activities — I call them Art-isms and Twenty Textures — let artists use their skills if they prefer, but no expertise is needed to accomplish something wonderful. Innovation, imagination, fluency of ideas, and personal expression are at the core of the final artworks.

Creativity in Action

As identified by educational psychologist Dr. E. Paul Torrance, there are four basic components to creative thinking:

  • Fluency — the ability to generate many ideas
  • Flexibility — the ability to create different categories of ideas and to perceive things from different points of view
  • Originality — the ability to generate uncommon or unique ideas
  • Elaboration — the ability to expand on an idea by embellishing it with details or the ability to create an intricate plan

When we’re thinking creatively, the four components usually interact together, either simultaneously or alternately. But we’re not always conscious of those thought processes as they happen.

Another factor often identified in creative thought is the ability to make new connections, such as metaphors and analogies. I consider this a form of flexible thinking.

Emotional factors in creativity include intuition, personal expression, and imagination. These are not usually elicited by conscious thought. Intuition is a feeling that culminates from bits of information coming together subconsciously — a form of elaboration. Personal expression comes from a desire to materialize one’s originality. And imagination requires a high degree of flexible thought.

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