A Relentless Search for the Elusive Picasso


Having a smart kid who is always consistent about performing well in his academics makes it easy to argue, that perhaps his battle with art is only attitudinal. If I am able to change his predilection to his supposed lack of drawing skills, then maybe he will improve.

Last week the family went to Medieval Times for dinner. After the event, my daughter blubbered about the pageantry, the excitement and performance while my oldest son chose to explore the historical accuracy of the play and the mechanics of jousting. Then it hit me! What my son tells me is that it is not that he does not like drawing.  Although he gets the concepts, he has difficulty sketching a realistic rendering of people and other subjects. Simply put, he does not know HOW to draw! It is the same idea with my creative daughter. She does extremely well on sketches. However, if I tell her to write a 500 word essay, I will see a shift towards a blurry mood.

I cannot force a dominantly left brained student to think just like a right brained person does, and vice versa. What I can probably do is help my son study art from a perspective of a left brained student. In short, either I change how we learn art at our home schooling or watch a smart boy frustratingly handles his worst subject.

Telling a child not to be scared to express his creativity, yet limiting the process of how he could learn it is oxymoronic. I have identified a learning block. The next step is to assist my son awaken the sleeping Happy Picasso in him.

I am not an academic scholar nor am I an expert on neuropsychology. Just the same, I am a relentless home school parent who occasionally stumbles upon EUREKAS! and random chances.

After a trip to a pet shop, my children suggested we go to Barnes and Nobles, so they could check books about different breeds of dogs. Who would have thought that books about dogs are in the same area as literatures for art? And just that, we found a book written by Betty Edwards for students with the same predicament as my child. The book is aptly titled The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. It was first published in 1979.

From this book, Edwards writes:

     The global skill of drawing a perceived object…requires only five basic component skills, no more. These skills are not drawing skills. They are perceptual skills, listed as follows:

          One: the perception of edges

          Two: the perception of spaces

          Three: the perception of relationships

           Four: the perception of lights and shadows

           Five: the perception of the whole, or gestalt


My son and I both agreed that although the 2nd semester is almost over it is not too late to try Edward’s principles, nor is it early to prepare for the next school year. I will let you know if it works for him.

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