Each child is exceptionally unique in so many ways. One thing which makes my daughter unique from other typical four year olds is her artwork. I began noticing this difference when she plays with other kids, paper and a box of crayons. While most kids near this age are focused on stick figures, my girl is coloring abstract shapes. Even with piles of coloring books, this kid would prefer a blank sheet of paper to color her own abstract designs.
Sometimes I ask her what she is drawing and she always has an explanation. “It’s a map to Aunt Bev’s house, and here is the park, and a dog, and a tree.” All of which are blobs of color in a neatly connected Crayola collage. She always has an explanation for everything so I never know if she is actually imagining these things as she is drawing or if when pressured to come up with an answer – makes it up on the fly.
Curious about her unique work lead me to inquiring with an art therapist friend and several Google searching sessions. All of which lead me to no definitive answers.
Some sites claimed too much use of red and black has indications of anger or depression, then other sites added blue, brown and orange into this as well. Other sources stated black equals dominance while red demonstrates excitement. Contradictions in interpretation are confusing, especially if the explanation really has more to do with a child’s favorite color being red or black. There may be parents out there freaking out with a child only drawing in red and missing the fact that it is the only available crayon not broken.
There was also some indications about the meaning of where the drawings are typically located, my daughter’s coloring is almost always oriented towards the top left part of a page. Unfortunately, there was not a lot of consistency in this either. Some references stated the left is often associated with mom or nurturing, whereas right is for dad’s. Additionally left might be related to considering the past while right side is future thinking, then again another source reported drawings oriented to the top of the page indicate future thinking and confidence.
No matter what search terms I came up with I couldn’t find anything explaining what it means for my child to draw abstract patterns instead of the pre-schematic drawings typical for most four year olds. Then, just like she does when I think I have any pattern of behavior established, she switches it up… This morning while cleaning up the kitchen I glanced around the corner where she was quietly occupied on her dry erase board. For the first time in nearly 6 months, she had drawn a pre-schematic drawing.
As my art therapist friend stated she does during her sessions, I simply asked her about her drawing. “It’s me and you, Mommy.”
Now, I am not sure what a professional kids’ art interpreter would say this sketch means, to me it’s pretty clear. Obviously that’s me on the left and a pretty accurate depiction if I say so myself. Eyes so large they make half of my face, a skinny (stick-like) body and big ol jugs. Then with her hand on like me, (as she usually is hanging, holding or laying on me somehow) you can see her little body has wings since she is my little angel. Her other hand in the drawing appears to be holding something and I am pretty sure I see a dollar sign, meaning this girl brings a wealth of happiness wherever she goes.
The use of only orange is a good indication she didn’t bother to remove the caps off any other markers. And the random letters show how she loves to practice letters and is excited about words, though is stubborn about asking for help with spelling. She chooses to write letters and hopes her random guessing will turn out something readable.
Who knows what her next art project with look like? I think instead of figuring it out, I will just stand back and appreciate her uniqueness.