My own Rembrandts-in-training

My own Rembrandts-in-training

It’s not every day that my six-year-old comes home with her own rendition of American Gothic.

“Mom, do you think they were married to each other?” Lily asked me, clearly about to burst with excitement at the chance to demonstrate her background knowledge of this famous piece of art. “Yes, maybe they were – it looks like they’re a married couple, doesn’t it?” I replied.

“They weren’t married though, Mom!” she said triumphantly. “The woman in the painting was the artist’s sister!” I could see that the history behind this piece of art had really resonated with Lily.

I’ve always known that both of our two daughters, Elissa and Lily, loved art of all kinds – so it was a no-brainer to sign them up for drawing classes with Young Rembrandts this winter. I figured they would have a bit of fun with it – Lily in the elementary drawing classes and Elissa in cartooning (the program also offers preschool drawing for the JK/SK set). But the artwork they’ve been bringing home is phenomenal (insert Mommy bias here!) and, more importantly, they’ve been loving every minute of it.

Lily’s creations have not been limited to replicating famous art (although there’s something uber-adorable about that – plus I love that she’s being exposed to art history at such a young age). Starting with drawing inanimate objects, she has progressed to learning the basics of capturing the human body – she recently came home with a great piece of art depicting a snowboarder.

Nine-year-old Elissa and her best friend have been taking cartooning classes. Her resulting artwork is cute, silly and expressive – just like Elissa herself. A big fan of cartoons, the class seems to be the perfect fit for her. Based on the horizontal and vertical lines – erased but still visible – it’s clear that she’s working hard to incorporate the instructor’s lesson on symmetry in her figures.

It’s so interesting to see the contrasting styles of drawing that our two girls bring home every week - it’s really like comparing apples and oranges. The challenge in cartooning is to produce several sketches within the allotted hour – often in black and white - whereas Lily’s output is one detailed piece of work per session.

As a parent, I find it rewarding to have found a series of workshops that not only engages my girls, but also helps them to develop skills and self-confidence.

While their artwork might not yet warrant the opening of a new downtown gallery, their efforts are generating some great keepsakes – and they will definitely find a place of honour on my own walls.

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