Here it is, my first blog. I may as well start at the very beginning (a very good place to start!)...
Art has always been a part of who I am. When I was a kid I always wanted to draw. I am the middle child of 3 girls so my way of getting attention was to say “look what I drew!” and it always gained me positive attention. But art became really important in my world when I was 9 and we moved house and school. I didn’t want to move and I felt totally powerless. The only control I had was with the pencil in my hand. Drawing was what made me feel safe; it was my happy place in the chaos of my new surroundings. And I was good at drawing; my teachers noticed it and I was given prizes for my skills.
At school I remember showing kids around me how to draw things too. When I was 8 I remember my best friend Megan sitting next to me in class when we were asked to draw a self portrait for the school magazine. I remember Megan wanted me to show her how to draw a face, so I did! Step by step, I was teaching my friend how to draw. I remember trying to incorporate art into everything we did at school. When I was 11 we had a project to create: an “instructional piece of writing” on how to do something. Others chose to write about “how to fall asleep” or “how to climb a tree” and I, of course, chose to write about “how to draw”. When we had a school project, I was focusing on how I could include visual aspects. That’s how I learnt; I’m a visual learner. But I remember being aware that I wanted (or needed) more visual projects because without the visual aspects, I felt like I wasn’t learning. I don’t want it to be like that for kids now. I want the visual learners to be given the opportunity to learn the best way they can, through the help of drawing.
Drawing doesn’t only help the visual learners; drawing has a magical power to transport you to another place. I spent many years working in children's hospitals (volunteering at the Sydney Children’s Hospital, and working as a Captain Starlight with the Starlight Children’s Foundation at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide) and my speciality was to draw pictures of the child and his/her favourite thing. The favourite thing might have been a toy, a sibling, an outfit or playing a sport … but while I was drawing, it would transport that child and the family out of the hospital and take them to another (happier) place. That’s the power of drawing. I would have drawn literally hundreds of these pictures and I still get emails from those families telling me how my drawing is still on the family fridge at home.
Watching someone draw is a fascinating thing, but teaching someone to draw is also rewarding and I always dreamed of running my own kids art classes. When I was 24 I created my own kids art classes in Paddington (Sydney, Australia). At “Kirsty’s Kids Art” we laughed, we talked, we imagined … It was a gathering of kids who learnt so much more than drawing. Art brought us together, and it was such a ‘mixed bag’ of kids, I was so proud of them and I’m still in touch with several of the families today. Harry was 8 when he came to my classes and nearly 10 years later, I was honoured when he and his mum came to visit me in Adelaide (from Sydney) to discuss his year 11 and 12 major art projects.
Following the artistic growth of kids like Harry has shown me how important it is to have an artistic foundation. I’m sure that his confidence and abilities with art all stem from the early days when we would sit around in art class and draw, paint and create. So that’s what I want to give kids all over the world through Artventure: a solid drawing and painting foundation to grow into what ever they want.
Today we’re launching our brand new Artventure website. I couldn’t be more excited about this new chapter. As the audience grows, so does my passion for showing kids how to draw. Just like Harry, I want to hear of today’s Artventure kids building their artistic foundation and growing up and doing wonderful things with their art. So get those kids drawing and painting, I can’t wait to see what they create and see how Artventure has impacted their lives in years to come.
Happy drawing, painting, creating.