Family values


Dear Artist,

Gail Pateman of Squamish, B.C. wrote, “My daughter Mieko drew this azalea and wanted to share it with a real artist.


drawing by Mieko Pateman 7 years old

She wrote a poem — inspired by the spring sunshine. It was just so cool and spontaneous — she sat on a rock for 30 minutes working (long for a kid’s attention span) — I think why I’m so taken by it is because I would never dream of doing that. There was this spark that lit up in her that was so magical. As a sports and science person whose artistic skills are limited to stick people, it’s way out of my league to know what is appropriate for her age. Any suggestions for tools for a budding artist?”

Thanks, Gail. Start with a bottomless supply of drawing paper. Here are a few guidelines for parents of creative kids at any age:

Make time for unscheduled time.

Be outdoors without the intrusion of a whistle, goalpost or ski pole.

Nature walks create a culture of observation, taxonomy, collecting, recording and attaching meaning. Once meaning is felt, the desire to communicate pours like a love letter.


“With materialization in play you have magic in your fingers and you become the wizard.”
(Robert Genn)

A small field box of watercolours, a stiff pad of paper and a notebook create ownership, voice, authentic skill, experience and lifelong ego force.

A camera is for looking outward to see inward, cultivating artistic eyes.

A journal fills with poems if poetry is included in the family’s life syllabus.

Dreamers need privacy.

Mentors are more valuable than classes. ​​

Art is a family value. The nature habit allows for a wandering imagination to be made available like breakfast. Making art in nature is one of those glorious experiences that’s both individual and shared. Time spent together gets hard-wired and drawn-upon. Break out the paints — she’ll never forget your spark.


“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” (Maya Angelou)



PS: Poetry arrived in search of me. I don’t know, I don’t know where it came from, from winter or a river. I don’t know how or when… (Pablo Neruda)

“As flowers grow a breeze grows
in all shows The wind glows
When all shows wind glows on a sunny spring day” (Mieko Pateman, age 7)

Esoterica: Kids have no choice but to accept the culture in which they’re raised. ​Some are making slapshots on ice before dawn. Whatever the activity, the eye-spark is the tip-off for unfettered parental enthusiasm. “You can’t teach writing,” says Professor Gabe Roth in the film, Husbands and Wives. “You expose students to good work and hope it inspires them.” Art books, craft books, a cupboard overflowing with materials, museums, local exhibitions, artists, collectors and your own azaleas are a good start. Above all, value the act of creation in your child and in others. “Creativity is the life force that Dylan Thomas called ‘the force that through the green fuse drives the flower.’ ” (Julia Cameron)


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Featured Workshop: Sharon Rusch Shaver
Sharon Rusch Shaver workshops The next workshop is being held at Ireland's Castle from May 28th to June 7th, 2015.
Sharon Rusch Shaver workshops
The next workshop is being held at Ireland’s Castle from May 28th to June 7th, 2015. 
The Workshop Calendar provides up-to-date selected workshops and seminars arranged in chronological order.






Sunflower Basking on Crystal by Gloria Ainsworth Mout, B.C. Canada

Sunflower Basking on Crystal

watercolor on paper, 9 x 20 inches
Gloria Ainsworth Mout, B.C. Canada


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