Yesterday, working at Featherstone Center for the Arts Summer Art Camp, a three year old girl told me, "I dance my paintbrush". And indeed she does, in the paint-pot, in the water, and on the paper, at home, at school, everywhere. And with such natural, and understated grace - she isn't being artistic in a sense, but just doing what comes naturally, moving freely like all young children do when given the freedom, in A.S. Neill's definition of the word, and opportunity.
Her paintings, like all other young children's art is so instinctual, intuitive, spontaneous and so free from artifice - that I truly believe if we held onto this type of creative impulse we would be much more outward-oriented adults, connected to a part of us which reminds us, and others, of our nurturing capacities, or Tending Instinct as Shelley E. Taylor refers to. The restorative and therapeutic potential of this lasts beyond the painting-process, not only for the painter, but for all those connected to them. All us adults have to do is tune into this.
I am so very fortunate to spend my time with these young children, and often find that they are the greatest teachers, if we let them, and if we continue to let them as they grow up. So I am very grateful to this young teacher, who reminds me that dancing the paintbrush is the natural way to move in art, and in life!