Teaching Art skills Vs. Express Feelings

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.

Pablo Picasso

When I came across this sentence in my reading, the key element that a teacher communicates to a student is neither experience nor knowledge, it is enthusiasm. I think it is so true.

Many children come to me because their parents are lack of skills to teach them. I have a set of curriculum setting up the standards based on the grades and levels. However, I realized whenever I have a new students, one set of rules and standards is challenged.


From the very beginning, I knew that whatever I do, it had to be meaningful, it had to be fun, and it had to be something the children could relate to and expressed their feelings with. So I try to digest the curriculum again and again, and not following one strict lesson plan, I would pick up on anything come crossed children’s life at the season, expand the lesson plan to no end experience and free flow rhythm.

(top Image credited to Athina, Age 7.5)


I would pick up on events, festivals, holidays, classroom stories, birth of the siblings, anything that going on around.We often discuss the things that elicit emotions, but even here we had to do quite a lot of talking to get beyond.

Good piece of art is always more than what we can see, but how it makes us to feel. We use some famous artist work as an example, how artist goes beyond how it looks, instead of drawing in super realistic manner which he/she can master, but using a scribble, dribble style to express it. This is just one example how a skillful artist express feelings.

 ( Middle Image credited to Ana, Age 6)

Then now it is a question about teaching skills. I myself love to express art in a skillful way, seeing art through articulated design and craftsmanship. In the curriculum session, you can read step by step introduction on how to lead the students from a preschooler to a bold and confident skillful O level students.




How to balance the art skill teaching with the feeling expression, how to understand this paradox and work in the frame work to improve both areas.

So I teach skills and feeling expression independent from each other. There is only 1.5 hour lesson each week, the more focus on our time spending the better the result. So we do these two areas separately. I found after few lessons of technical learning, the students tends to go for one direction and formality. I purposely pause at this stage, and add more free style expression, stories of the artist and style analysis, let the students to feel how the masters feel.




By time, the students will build up the habit to express feelings aided by the skill sets.