This past week I have been thinking a lot about kids because I've been teaching a ballet and art summer day camp for kids ages 3-6. Spending a day with kids in tutus skipping and twirling and gluing feathers and glitter to everything makes you desperate for an evening drink. Not even wine-really you have turn to the hard stuff to recuperate. I've been into gin-channeling Miss Hannigan. Seriously. I found myself constantly muttering "little girls, little girls, everywhere I turn I can see them."
Maybe it is the freedom they have. They really are free of influence, free of that horribly inhibiting fear of being judged, free of expectations. Each little mind is just approaching the task with such clarity and an unbridled desire to just create what is in their own imagination. You learn so much about how to be creative and happy by just watching a four year old draw with a crayon.
And then I saw this article in the UK's Daily Mail about an autistic three year old to whom art is her connection to the world and I was so moved and even more inspired. It helped me remember why I love teaching and sharing my love of the arts so much. Art-whether it is dancing, or singing, or painting, or writing-is so important for the soul and such an amazing way to express ourselves. And for kids like this young Iris Halmshaw, it is even more amazing since she is autistic and so withdrawn she does not even speak.
Looking at Iris' work, it's no surprise. The use of pastel colors is stunning and there is an impressionistic vibe similar to a Monet but with splatter techniques that recall Jackson Pollock. Amazingly, each painting truly does have a style that stays consistent. I went to college with art majors who couldn't even create such unique voice with a consistent tone through their paintings.
In the past four months, she has created 35 works. Each painting takes her anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of weeks. In November, the family will hold an exhibition of her creations followed by an auction which will raise money to cover the costs of Iris' care. And her mother also notes, that beyond all her success, "since she started to paint, her mood has lifted; her communication has improved; she is saying more and more words and she has started to enjoy making eye contact."
So amazing and inspiring to get out there. Create. Unleash that unbridled inner child who just needs to express themselves. And I'm not talking about just slapping a toaster filter on the cell phone picture of your cat to instagram it.
Yep, instead of mixing that cocktail, I'm now wildly inspired to mix some paint.