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  • Writer's pictureBetsy Horn

You're Doing it Wrong

"Know that what you’re doing wrong is your style. Wrongness is precious. Watch for it, understand it, and keep it up." Robert Genn

My drawing, color theory, and painting teacher, Janis Bryant, loved working with children, but she had two rules for herself. She would not take a student before they were 6 years old (preferably 8), and she would not change the way a child drew, colored, or painted. She used to bring me over to where the children were doing their work (we were all in the same class). She would point out the child's style, whatever it was and there were as many styles as children in the class. She would tell me how precious this was, and that the most important thing was to encourage children, never change them. Then she would take the parents aside and tell them why she no longer wanted to teach their children and it was because she did not want to influence their young, impressionable minds. She wanted the children to be able to express themselves with the utmost purity, without influence from others. She would tell them to go home, let their children create art however they wanted, and bring them back when they were teenagers when she would work with them again.

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