Keith sleeping lrI believe that art, or at least mark-making, is an innate form of human communication. We have been doing it before we even started to speak. I mean that in the historical sense as well as the individual. The very dawn of human history is documented by cave paintings and hieroglyphics. Every child naturally draws and makes marks. Human beings are successful as a species because we are self aware and self expressive. All children sing, dance and mark-make to express their feelings. So what happens? Why do the majority of people say they can’t do any of those things? That they were not ‘gifted’?

I believe we are all born with the gifts of self-expression. We are quickly told that we are not good enough, that what we say/do/sing is not appropriate or welcome. To behave, keep quiet, conform, put others (adults) before our childish selves. Few children can sustain their expressive urges in the face of such criticism and I think that they are the ones we call ‘gifted’. I’m not sure what it is that sustains the musical or the movement oriented child, but with art I think it is spacial awareness. Artists have a different way of seeing space and the way objects and colours are arranged and connected. Some children are born with that gift, and cannot suppress it easily.

The point is that other children can be shown that way of experiencing the world and can learn to express themselves as well, if not better than, some gifted children. There is no good reason why everyone should not be able to use some form of creative expression to enhance their experience of life and find personal joy and satisfaction. Having a more rounded approach helps us to find innovative and original solutions to problems, whatever they are. Learning to draw is such a simple and effective way of feeling more connected to life.

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