One of my students has very well developed skills for his age. He draws on a regular basis and it shows. Kids get jealous and often say they wish they could draw like Michael. Michael now tells them that they can, they "just need to practice." Yeah Michael!
My joy was found watching Michael. He experimented with the pastel. He pressed soft, he pressed hard. He blended, he overlay colors. He discovered what the material could do and what it couldn't do. Watching him, I saw him tune out everything else. It was just Michael, the paper and the chalk. At the end of class he left smiling with chalk smudges across his face and I heard him say "that was really fun, it was different than the chalk we use outside."
I am really proud of Michael. He tried something new and made comparisons to previous experiences. This kind of thinking is usually rare. I myself rarely do this anymore when creating my own art. I try something new and decide quickly and simply, yes I like doing this or no I don't. I rarely come up with the comparisons to other past experiences or formulate the "why". I tend to base my judgements on whether or not my initial vision is being met.
Recently I began to experiment with inks on fabric. After an hour of working, I clearly stated that I did not like them. It felt too much like coloring in a coloring book. Simple, I will never use inks again and I wasted my money. After days of regret over spending the money on the stupid inks, I had a clarifying moment. It was the way I used the inks that was wrong for me, not the inks themselves. Will I use the inks again? Yes. I played with them for another few days and have discovered what they can and cannot do, I had fun playing.
As an artist I need to remember that art is not about creating the masterpiece, it is the journey to creating the masterpiece, having fun with the process and growing as an individual is what's most important.