by Colleen Robishaw on August 31st, 2013

Wow! After 6 Art Camps, the summer came to a glorious end. It could not have happened without all the support and help of my dear friends. The Lord has blessed me greatly. For those of you who helped get the word out, please know that it paid off. I had a couple of my camps fill to capacity and even had to open an extra camp for Week 5. 

I believe I may have learned more than my students. I learned what to expect and what not to expect. I learned how much children can enjoy art when they are equipped. I learned that their is lots of room to slow down and help my students refine their skills. 

One of the most interesting things I learned in preparation for the summer was that most people stop drawing around age 9-10. I saw the reality of this when the classes I had scheduled for 10+ students were not getting any hits. It wasn't until the end of the summer that I finally had 4 wonderful students in the afternoon who were all 11 and older. They were such a wonderful group of kids--engaged, interested and motivated. 

Why do we stop drawing around age 10? Well, as a classical educator, it makes perfect sense. You see, it is around that age that children naturally become logical or dialectic. We see this in our teenagers when they begin to ask, "Why?" They haven't just become distrusting or fed up with authority. They really want to know why. Their brains have been wired to desire an understanding of the world around them. In art, this manifest itself like this: The child is drawing a face but instead of really looking at the lines, curves and shapes, their brains are telling them, "Just draw the symbol for an eye and be done with it." This continues for the whole drawing. When they get to the end of their drawing, they wonder why it doesn't look like the person they were trying to draw. The child eventually becomes frustrated or someone is critical of their efforts. Done! The child has ended their drawing career. 

What would happen if we were to encourage children to continue drawing, practicing their skill and teach them to draw what they see and not what they know? We may have more children grabbing their sketch pads and drawing the world around them. You see, most people don't wake up one morning drawing like Rembrandt nor do they wake up playing the piano like Mozart or even playing basketball like Michael Jordan. These all take practice, including art or drawing. 

Drawing is not just for making artists but it increases a person's creativity in all areas. 

I encourage you to pick up a sketch pad and start drawing... maybe even with your kids!

Colleen Robishaw

Posted on June 21st, 2013

I found the following technique in camp surprisingly useful and wanted to share it with you.

Mona Brookes' Drawing with Children, suggest having the kids relax before drawing. While I was sceptical of this, it produced great results. I have listed the steps below in case you are interested in putting it into practice. 
  • Sit with uncrossed legs, elbows need to be able to rest on table (booster).
  • Straighten spine and relax back and shoulders.
  • Relax face, especially the jaw, by rotating it from side to side and up and down.
  • Deep breath and let shoulders drop as you exhale.  Don’t slouch. Repeat 2 or 3x.
  • Relax throat and chest by taking deep, silent breaths, in through nose out through mouth.
  • Make sure you are completely relaxed.
  • Rub hands together until they are warm.
  • Close eyes. Cup the palms of your hands and place over eyes without pressing on your eyeballs.
  • Think of the area behind your eyeballs. Imagine a black dot on the backside of each one. Relax those dots. Take a few silent breaths and relax them again.

Adapted from Drawing with Children, by Mona Brookes.

Posted on June 17th, 2013

The day finally arrived to start camp! I had a house full of boys which brought much joy to this mother of 3 girls! There was lots of energy and much talk of Mindcraft (sorry for the spelling). The time flew by but hands were busy. We focused our time learning that everything we draw is created from a few, very simple elements. We started the morning with a game using Picasso's abstract look at the world. It made a nice transition into creating many abstract drawings with duplicating, matching and creating mirror images. Tomorrow it will be interesting using those same elements with subjects that are recognizable to the kids. The goal is to see that even what we think is complicated, really is just these same elements turned different ways. Ultimately, we see that nothing is too hard to draw but some things will take a little longer than others as we train ourselves to draw what we see and not what we "know." 

I also want the kids to realize that our drawings don't have to be an exact replica of what we are looking at. My goal is for the kids to see the beauty and creativity in how they represent the model, still life, or scene with the hands and mind that God uniquely gave them. Drawing realistically is achievable but it comes with practice and, sometimes, many "do-overs." 

Posted on April 12th, 2013

There was THE beginning in which God created the Heavens and the Earth. Then there was the beginning of ArtU. Very different from each other yet both in the trusting hands of the Lord, and both artistic events of sorts. 

I look forward to meeting all the students and walking along side them as they express themselves through art.

Soon after camp starts in June, I will begin to post student artwork on the Gallery page. It will be wonderful to see their work "published." Anxiously, I wait for the first group of students to arrive and begin to create. Over the centuries, artist have apprenticed themselves under the masters. We plan to do the same, whether Renoir, Da Vinci, or Monet. All trying to ultimately reflect the great art  of the true Master, Jesus himself. 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was fully God. The Word was with God in the beginning. All things were created by him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. John 1:1-3

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