My 92-Year Old Art Student
Each student is amazing, but I have a very special place in my heart for seniors who want to have fun learning art.
92 year-old Marta is the sweetest lady, and she wants to learn to draw. She had been colouring in an adult coloring book of florals, and had been able to be very precise with her work. She was also experimenting with shading with her colouring, so all this gave me clues as to how to work with her and help her grow her art skills focusing on her strengths. She didn't have much art experience other than that, and had some basic crayola markers.
The first meeting with any student is all about seeing where they're at and what kinds of things they want to learn. I also assess their learning style and personality, so I can plan lessons that will get them where they want to go supporting their learning in the best way possible.
There is such a huge range of artistic expression. Someone may want to create huge expressive multi-media abstracts, while others want to do realistic pencil portraits.
My own art journey was like following bread crumbs in an enchanted forest! I was inspired and excited by so many styles, however bit by bit I built on my strengths and focused on the things that lit my creative soul on fire to discover my own style.
It's such a joy and an honour to take on guiding a student through that same process of discovery and skill building.
To prepare for our second lesson together, I drew up these simple sheets to break down the steps of drawing 4 flowers and 4 leaves. I wanted to show her how we could use these simple drawings as the building blocks for a floral composition, and how they could be put together, bigger or smaller and in different directions, to create endless beautiful combinations.
While Marta got engrossed in following the step-by-step instructions, I worked on putting the 4 leaf styles and 4 flower styles together into a composition. I wanted to spark inspiration in her about what she could do with those drawing building blocks.
We worked away and chatted there at her kitchen table, enjoying a nice breeze coming in and listening to the radio. She watched how I coloured the leaves and petals and copied along on her own sheet. She also experimented with putting together leaves and flowers and creating her own mini-compositions.
Here's a little peek into our joyful little world that day.
I'm really impressed with her ability to follow the instruction sheets, and she loved that way of learning. Anything can be broken down into simple steps, so knowing that this method works for her, we can now create anything! I'm so excited!
Towards the end of the lesson, I asked what she would like to learn to draw next. I suggested butterflies or birds, and she lit up and said "Ducks!" She chuckled at herself and said, "I don't know why. I just like ducks!"
So now I'll be researching ducks and preparing some drawing sheets for her for next week! I can't wait to see how that goes. I'm thinking we can combine flowers and ducks and make a cute little pond scene.
Marta is very quiet and needs to move at a slow pace, so I'm working on making sure she doesn't get overwhelmed. We're sticking with markers for now, as that's a medium she is comfortable with, but I'm slowly introducing her to other types of markers (brush tip, fine tip to add details, etc.) and blending with water and a brush. Just the simplest supplies can give you very artistic results when you know a few tricks!
Well, I better sign off and get at that duck research!
PS If you're interested in art lessons whether for yourself or a loved one, check out the options here and get in touch! I work with beginner and intermediate adults and seniors.