One of the best ways to help cultivate your teen’s love of art is to apprentice him or her to the great “masters” of art.
In fact, that’s how the great masters themselves perfected their artistic practice. An integral part of their studies was to “copy” the master they’d been apprenticed under. The master would share his techniques, skills, and insights while the apprentice emulated him. He would receive instruction, carry out orders, and prove his own skills before he was “qualified” to exercise himself as a master.
If you can’t afford to pay for private art lessons from a local artist, why not find ways to help your teen learn from the greats? By studying them, learning their artistic practices and copying them, your aspiring artist can grow exponentially. And there are SO many masters to choose from! Surely your teen could find several to learn from.
I absolutely love the book, Steal Like an Artist, by Austin Kleon, and have read it over and over. (I’d highly recommend it for your aspiring artist as well.) In it Kleon writes,
“The great thing about dead or remote masters is that they can’t refuse you as an apprentice. You can learn whatever you want from them. They left their lesson plans in their work.”
As we study under the great masters of art, incorporating their style and techniques, learning their creative process, it improves our own artistic abilities. We become more.
Obviously, your teen is not bound to paint in the old styles. Many of the the “greats” were free thinkers who changed the world of art. This should give your teen encouragement and freedom in his or her own creativity. It should instill a courage to pull from everything around them that inspires them and to incorporate it into their art.
Kleon goes on to say,
“What a good artist understands is that nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original.”
When your teen realizes that there is nothing new under the sun (Eccl. 1:9) and his or her goal is simply to build upon the foundation of others that have come before, a tremendous confidence is born.
So how does one apprentice under the masters?
- The internet – from Wikipedia, to YouTube, to art museum websites from all over the world – a wealth of information is literally at your fingertips!
- Books – biographies on the master artists including their methods and techniques, as well as “coffee table” books that contain beautifully photographed images of their art.
- Museums – visit your local art museum, and visit museums in different cities when you travel. Absolutely nothing will compare to coming in contact with the great masterpieces in real life.
- Mixing with the Masters – my online art course in which we explore a little bit of art history, the lives of the artists, then create art inspired by their great masterpieces. You can get more info about this course by clicking on the image below:
And while your artsy teen is apprenticing under these great masters, here are 10 ways you can support your emerging artist.
Have you signed up your teens for our weekly art challenge yet?
Alisha Gratehouse is an artist, art instructor, minister’s wife, and homeschooling mom of three. Her days are filled with creating, painting, writing, drinking lots of tea, laughing with (and at) her family, and spontaneously bursting forth into song. Alisha is the author of several books including, A Life That Flourishes.