Acclaimed artist Don Conroy says the joy of creativity is in the action

Don Conroy says children are involved in less creative activities today due to technology.

ARTIST Don Conroy is constantly amazed by children’s creativity. He cites the words of renowned Spanish artist Joan Miró, who said artists should start drawing again like children.

“He meant: look at each day with fresh eyes. Because when children start drawing on a piece of paper or modelling a bit of plasticine, the joy for them is in the action.”

For Conroy, it’s not far-fetched to compare this attitude with that of Michelangelo, who — when waiting to get paid and unable to buy art materials —during winter made snow men, women and children out of snow and ice. 

“When people asked why he bothered because the snow would melt, he said it’s not the result that matters, it’s the doing. So, every child sitting drawing, is connecting with the thing Michelangelo was doing.”

But Conroy believes children are involved in less creative activity today. 

“We’re under pressure to go down the technological road. But we’ll get to a stage where all entertainment is professional and we’re just passive observers.” 

Rising interest in mindfulness among adults is, he says, an attempt to put the brakes on. “We all need our own little sanctuary within us. We need serenity.”

To encourage creativity in children, he exhorts parents to switch off the screens. Give kids a daily creative half hour and a space to be creative. 

This could be the kitchen table with a simple sheet of paper and an array of crayons.”

Many people look but don’t see, says Conroy, who believes learning to see is a matter of habit. 

“Point out to children the things you like.”

He recalls an elderly friend sharing a memory of walking hand-in-hand with his mother as a young child, how she suddenly got very excited and urged him to look at the golden waterfall.

“He looked and saw beautiful yellow flowers that she explained were primroses spilling down a bank. For her they were a waterfall.”

Telling Conroy this story, the old man said ‘my mother is gone, that bank of woods is gone – there’s a motorway through it – but that lovely bank of primroses spilling down is still in my head when I close my eyes’.

Don Conroy is supporting the ‘Back to School Expert Hands Colouring Competition’. He has designed a back-to-school inspired illustration for kids to colour. Copies can be got in any Haven Pharmacy outlets nationwide.

Closing date: September 30. Visit www.havenpharmacy.ie 

Top tips

* Allow messy play (finger painting/play-dough). It stimulates senses and develops eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills.

* Reading opens new worlds. Read with kids either pre-bedtime or at quiet time during day.

* Sharing your passions with kids encourages them to think about what they enjoy.

* Allow free time — kids don’t need to be occupied all day long. This enables them to explore their interests rather than parentally-scheduled hobbies.


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