An Artist at 5 Years Old

I recently had the pleasure of taking on another 5 years old painting student.

For many young students, and for this Young Miss in particular, painting lessons help to improve oral comprehension, socialization, fine motor skills, and self-esteem. Pre-schoolers and kindergartners benefit from practice using brushes and painting knives. They absolutely love to write their names on their completed works of art.

But I consider the best part to be watching these youngsters create true works of art within a noticeably short time after beginning formal lessons with me.

These youngsters begin with me by mixing oil paints and filling in simple color wheels. I like to use graphics such as flowers with each petal being a different primary and secondary color. The next lesson, the kids paint another color wheel that includes even more colors.

Color Wheel

Five-year olds typically can focus for about a half-hour lesson. During these first two lessons, they learn the proper way to hold a brush, move paint with a painting knife, and mix up to twelve different colors using only three paint colors.

For lesson three, our Young Miss and I looked at several photos and chose a simple pink daisy to paint on canvas. She mixed a gray-blue, pink, and two different yellows. My goal is to encourage creativity. The photos are inspiration for the student to create his or her own art. 

I use descriptive names and fun noises to help children (and adults) remember the different brush stroke techniques. Most lessons include “friggle-fraggle”, the “X-Stroke”, and long blending movements across the canvas. You might hear chants of “thumb-up, thumb-down”, “boop, boop, boop, boop!”, or a high-pitched “Ahhhhhhh” as students and I work on applying paint to canvas. Of course, all my students know about “towel tacos”, dancing with the brush, and the “Statue of Liberty grip”.

The five-year olds enthusiastically love their creations.

They are artists in the purest sense.

Sophia’s Pink Daisy