If you remember the movie Beaches, you will probably note the reference. The wind beneath their attempts is a take off of that. In the movie, you can remember seeing the more glamour girl with a lot of talent out there and the other one quietly supporting her without taking much in return. Life returns full circle though at the end with the glamour girl suddenly having to become a mother.
So when I think of the movie, I think of it in terms of our job is what the quiet supporter was doing. Encouraging those with raw talent has its rewards. Imagine all those parents who heard their child sing for the first time and then suggested things like talent contests and kept supporting them through blue periods. Shania Twain had a mother who was behind her. No doubt, Celine Dion had her whole family behind her. These people that cheer people on are just as important, it not more. Have you ever seen a book without a dedication or thank you? Even a romance novel has a dedication.
As parents, that is our role. Of course, we can't forget about ourselves but when our little girl or boy shows some true artistic talent, we can't start making comments about their work. Instead, we have to just say that we love it.
But if you truly have one of those children, here are the rest of the tips you ought to know:
1. Buy expensive artist grade paints and crayons. Surround them with the best. Yes, this is a bit of an ouch but you will often see them produce even better results with the best the art world has to offer in terms of supplies.
2. Consider inviting over friends to have an art party. This notion that they are not different will help and encourage them. Sure, the other child doesn't have to be a budding artists, just someone who enjoys using crayons, rather than eating them.
3. Tell people who have care of your child that they are good at art and make it clear you don't want them offering any criticism. An artist who later became a graphic designer once told me that at least with a child who is different because they are a writer can hide that. An artist's work is always out in plain view and there are so many people commenting on whether it's any good that an artist can be hurt most of the time. So make sure the group that surrounds your child knows that it is a taboo subject to criticize or offer even insightful suggestions. Their role is just to put the paints out and watch.
4. Try watercolours with your artist. They make all the difference in the world. By the way, they also don't come out of the carpet or even off the linoleum so make watercolour day an outside day. Get them a tray and show them how they can draw on a picture and paint it in. It's a lot of fun. Try to do it too! Encouraging and joining in are not mutally exclusive.
5. When they are older, suggest an art class and take them there if they are interested. Suggest as they grow older all the different ways art influences the world. Take them on a city tour of murals! Take them to the art museum. Show them you value art by having some in your home.
6. This last is the most important. As they grow older, make sure you put their stuff in a locked cabinet where the other children can't get it. Next to this cabinet should be a large table with lots of paper stacked up on a shelf beside it. Most creativity is done in private and though this will be a great shock to you, your encouragement for them to go play artist will make all the difference.
7. Tell the teacher that art is important to your child. Do this to let them know so they too don't have to be overly critical. I can remember as a student having a grade seven teacher that knew that creative writing was the be all and end all to me. Every assignment, she handed back had a seven out of ten on it. I can't tell you how frustrating this was to me and how many tears I shed over 7 out of tens! If your child's teacher loves to mark everything, suggest to her that she give him or her a few take home assignments that you will supervise.
In life, we don't always remember the marks. Sometimes we remember the time someone took with us and the words that they said.
Good luck with your artist. And don't worry, the commercial that lawyers drive big cars and artists don't was just a marketing ploy. Today, I work with many fine artists who make a living with art and graphic design.
Robyn Whyte is the CEO of Stargazer Press, an independent publishing company. Stop by for a look at http://www.stargazerpress.com. We have some great novels and some fabulous educational programs.