Let’s Talk About Art!

08 Oct Let’s Talk About Art!

Most children love to draw and paint.  Full of excitement, your child runs to you, artwork in hand, presenting her latest masterpiece, anxiously awaiting your praise and comments.  You look at the lines, shapes and colors and with a big smile on your face you pause and think, “What on earth is it!?”

Following is some helpful advice compiled by our Montclare Art Studio on how to handle these sensitive and important moments.

There is no “right” or “wrong” way to make art.
Remember that when it comes to a child’s art, “right” or “wrong” should only apply to whether or not he is using tools and materials in a safe manner, not to the technique, artwork, or subject matter. As long as your child is safe, let him play around.

Focus on the process, not the product.
Comments and discussion about your child’s artwork should be neither too critical nor too gushy. Remember that what your child thinks about her artwork is more important than what you think.  Try to not impose adult standards on a child’s work. Your child is in charge of what’s best and what’s next. Instead of conforming to an external adult standard of excellence, your child is discovering her own aesthetic and standard.

Offer praise for doing, not for being.
Focus your praise on the work accomplished, not on your child’s innate talent. You could say: “What a great idea!” or “You really worked hard on this painting!” rather than “You’re so talented!” or “You’re so brilliant.” Children who are rewarded for “doing” (working hard and making progress) often progress and grow, whereas children who are congratulated for “being” artistic or smart tend to play it safe to protect their image and status, afraid to disappoint. Focus praise on your child’s efforts, not on the finished product.

What NOT to say…

  • “What is it?”
  • “Is it finished?”
  • “That’s not the right color.”
  • “Next time, try to be tidier.”


What to say . . .

  • “How did you do this?”
  • “You seemed to be having fun.”
  • “You were really concentrating.”
  • “What an interesting way to use the brush.”


Talk about the shapes, colors and marks you see.  

  • “What I notice first about your drawing is . . .”
  • “What I like most about this is . . .”
  • “Isn’t it interesting how you’ve used lots of . . . “


Encourage effort, enjoyment, and risk-taking.  

  • “It’s fun to try it different ways.”
  • “We learn a lot from our mistakes.”
  • “Can you think of other ways to use this tool?”
  • “Let’s try anyway.”
  • “It’s okay to get dirty.”
  • “I’m proud of you when you try hard things.״


We hope you find these tips helpful.  Once you figure out how to talk about all the artwork coming home from school, you have to figure out what to do with it all!  Here’s my one of my favorite solutions, also available on

Thank you for reading!


Adapted from “How to Talk to your Kids (or your Adults) About Their Art”

Another interesting link: