Young Picassos all around us

Jun 16, 2011

Marla Olmstead.  Painting on the right: Dory, 36 x 48 inches, painted at age 5 (2005).  [image sources: map,]

Kids love art.  Walk into any preschool class, and you'll find children coloring, making a collage, or fingerpainting.  When I was an elementary art specialist for a year in the public school district, I had the privilege of teaching the fundamentals of art to primary students.  Even when there was only copy paper and #2 yellow pencils available at a school, children were excited to learn something new with art.

The younger kids, in particular, were much more uninhibited about diving into an art project. They didn't worry about making "mistakes," so their works were more spontaneous.  It's this innocent, child-like approach that many famous artists have strived for in their professional career.

Akiane Kramarik, Planted Eyes, 36 x 48 in., painted at age 8 (2003). [image source:]

Art is a learned skill, but some children have artistic abilities that come naturally. The three young artists whose works are showcased here are undoubtedly all very gifted children.  Akiane Kramarik was only eight years-old when she painted this large portrait of an African woman.  It was her first oil painting, and she finished it within 15 hours, which includes the preliminary drawing.

In the past couple of weeks, 4 year-old Aelita Andre from Australia has been spotlighted in the media. Her large scale works are currently showing in a Manhattan gallery and selling for tens of thousands of dollars.   

Aelita Andre, age 4, Autumn, 30 x 36 in. [image source:

These three talented girls come from different backgrounds and places, yet there is one common denominator that plays a significant role in the girls' artistic pursuits and success.  They all have parents who support and foster their aptitude for painting.  Four year-old Aelita even has her own art studio (bigger than mine!).

Below is a short documentary of Aelita painting in her studio.  It is quite fascinating to watch the creative process of such a young girl, especially when she is given so much freedom with art supplies. In the ten years that I taught art,  I've worked with a number of truly gifted kids.   And it makes me wonder how many more young Picassos we would run across if every young child who has a propensity for the arts was given ample supplies, time, space, and parental support.  


Anonymous said...

Hi Cathy,

Really love your blog and I've been here for some time. Couldn't be happier to see such a post for I see the free spirit inside the kids. Thanks for sharing~ ^^


Mimii said...

Kids are amazing and talented ! I'm very impressed

Cathy said...

Violet- welcome! I'm happy that you found the blog : )

Mimii- yes, the kids are talented indeed! Akiane's story is especially inspiring for me.

Danielle DeBruhl said...

Sorry it's a little delayed, but I just wanted to say that I am SO enamored with this post--just watching Aelita create is fascinating! I recognize that look of aloofness/creative juices flowing in her face, and her exclamation of "It's finished!" is just as exciting! It's a strange feeling when people ask what I wanted to be when I grew up, and what I've become today, and all I ever repeat is "artist". There's never been a question what I wanted to be, and even though I consider myself an Escrow Processing Assistant by day, Artist by night, I'm still trying to find a way to be full-time Artist. I can see that she'll be Artist forever, and I can only pray that *when* I have little children of my own, they will be just as confident in their own freedom to choose to be what makes them the most happy.

Thank you thank you thank you for such a great post. =) It makes my heart happy!!!

Jacey said...

Cathy, I found your blog on Pinterest : ) (love that place !) I love the video of Aelita and watched it before I read your blog. I found myself thinking the same thing "how may children would take this direction (or a similar one) if given the opportunity and ample supplies." It was such a delight to see this as I've sometimes thought my life would have been vastly different if my own natural creativeness were to have been recognized early and fed. I say that lightheartedly as I don't blame my dear parents that it wasn't different, but I've still wondered about it many times. Thanks for sharing !

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