The Dreams of An 8 Year Old Artist

Matisse's Woman by Taylor a pastel drawing on handmade paper

Dreams of a child and the power in a word.   She dreamt of drawing and painting. Shy, uncertain. So, I used a different word….. ‘experiments.’

Matisse's Woman by Taylor   a pastel drawing  on handmade paper
“Matisse’s Woman” by 8 year old Taylor, pastel drawing on handmade paper, at

Her 8 year old face lit up, I suspect – with hope.  I may have just given her the one word that allowed her to try again, without fearing failure. Without fearing it may not be perfect.  That it did not have to be perfect!  Without self condemnation.


Dreams of a Child and the Power in A Word

The Word,  “Experiments”

I chose not to use words like drawing, copy, lesson, or sketch, etc.  I kept the flavour of the day light and fun, with the word – Experiments.

To experiment takes the pressure off. Whether its self induced or is  ‘other’  induced is irrelevant to the child, it exists.

“Dreams are realised when you Experiment.”


Choice of Art Subject

When teaching the younger children under 16,  I give them a choice of subjects I have on hand to choose from. Everything from macro flowers, to a still life set up, to myself as a model, even going to the zoo with one youngster.  I expend time and effort into what their current skills are and what their best strengths are and how to enhance them. And work on any weaker areas. Always a positive, with a suggestion, followed by another positive.

This week I had the opportunity to work with an 8 year old which turned out to be quite exciting and delightful for both of us.

She chose and painted several subjects, a vase in the house, some flowers, a mountain,  a horse. Then  she  spied the book of Matisse with his ‘ladies.’  Oh boy!  This seemed like a perfect fit on that day. She just connected and went into the creative zone. I thought it pretty amazing how everything flowed.


Choice of Art Materials

We had a discussion about looking at the drawing, trying to ‘feel’ the flowing lines and their  movements.  She rummaged through my art supplies and chose the buff pastel colour and then chose this rich indigo handmade paper.  (Just happened to be my favourite piece too, cheeky little girl!)

We also talked about  how Matisse himself used his own quirky lines, and interpretations. That he did not COPY what was there.    She already knew about Wassily Kandinsky, so Matisse and his style was not a shock. Thank goodness.

I gave her advice on how to decide where she might  place the eyes, advice on leaving things out and in trying to use continuous line movements.


Choice of Artistic Expression

But, as always,  I do not touch students’ artworks.   I feel it violates their creativity.

I might ‘show them how’  them on another piece of paper though. Thus, whatever they create:   is authentically their’s.


Normally, I choose to teach art to adults. Because they choose to come to class. Its their choice.

Years ago I became disillusioned at the discrepancy between the enthusiasm of my adult learners and my youth groups. So many times parents made the children go to art classes, when they had no real desire for it.  Thus, its only on occasion that I give private one on one lessons to children.

  • I am really quite thrilled with having this creative art session with the 8 year old and hope that she asks …. for more.
  • I was also thrilled at how happy she was and her big smile when she saw all the work finished at the end of the day.
  • Its lovely to see hope and dreams realised,  and   to see young ones sparkle and shine.  Tenseness,  anxiousness, stress – vanquished.
  • All from the word …. Experiments.    try it!


Published by debiriley

The act of creation, in any media is a fascinating and magical process. I simply love to create. Expressing in color, line, tone, texture - as if, they were words upon a page. Creating a uniquely me, interpretation. Enjoy More of my "one-of-a-kind" expressive art at and,

5 thoughts on “The Dreams of An 8 Year Old Artist

    1. thank you 🙂 lots and lots LOTS of years of teaching (many) types ….of people throughout the world, does tend to give my already “creative” side plenty to draw from. I could do a post per week easy just on my weekly art class. LOL

      Liked by 1 person

  1. fantastic drawing, Debi. You surely are a wonderful teacher. I would love to be 8 again and learn from you, have a wonderful week-end, regards Mitza

    Liked by 1 person

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