Abstract Expressionist, Marla Olmstead, age 4

I just saw “My Kid Could Paint That” (available from Netflix), updated from 2003 when Marla Olmstead was first written about in the New York Times. She was still painting at age nine.

It is so important for children to be introduced to reproductions of fine art, including that of the Abstract Expressionists. When we showed five to ten reproductions of art-from cave paintings to Kandinsky, every child in the elementary school class could relate to at least one of the pictures and be inspired enough by one to try to his or her own variation on the theme.

How often we would go into a class and some kids would say “I can’t draw.” Then we’d go into our lecture that in the 21st century, you don’t have to be able to draw representationally to “do art” and we’d show some modern masterpieces.

Paul Klee and Joan Miro prided themselves on getting into the innocent, spontaneous mindset of youth and showing it in their paintings.

Here is some artwork (which will appear in the 2011 poster of Camden Students at Peace Doing Art), initiated by Camden art teachers that proves the point.

2 Responses to “Abstract Expressionist, Marla Olmstead, age 4”

  1. Trudi Herman Says:

    As a former art teacher…I enjoyed this article.
    It would be even better if it emphasized the importance of parental acceptance of any creative endeavors done by a child !
    No more …what is it ? !!!!!

  2. artaware Says:

    You are so right! Creativity is being bypassed in schools for math and science. The children need it all. Parents and the general public can be educated on the importance of elementary school students’ “marks of their pages” through exhibitions of their artwork everywhere: in libraries, places of business, post offices and of course in their schools.

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