Monday, October 15, 2007

Why Didn’t I Encourage My Kids to Paint More When They were Toddlers?

An article in the LA Times has caused me to kick myself for not giving my children an easel, some brushes and a box of paints for their birthdays when they were toddlers.

Even before Marla reached her second birthday, her father, Mark Olmstead set up an easel for her so she’d be occupied while he painted (he was a manager of a business but dabbled in art in his spare time).

When Marla began producing some colorful creations, her proud parents got permission to hang one of them on the wall of a local coffee shop in Binghamton, New York. The painting was displayed and promptly sold for $250! Since her first takings Marla had her first solo exhibition in 2004, which was a sell out and 18 months later she scooped $20,000 for a single painting.

The money doesn’t seem to be the motivator for young Marla for while many are debating her prodigy status, she applies the paint for the sheer enjoyment of the craft.

Yes, I got distracted by a lost dream of my children making millions for their poor parents but how many gifts and talents might we discover if we gave our children, our friends and ourselves some brushes, paints, an easel (or their equivalents in other spheres) and oodles of encouragement?

For the entire story, here is the link:
Meghan Daum, ‘Art as Child’s Play’, LA Times, 13 October 2007.

Image: Marla Olmstead.