Identity in Art.

I am the mother of two daughters. Both have brown hair and brown eyes, but each has her very own unique personality. And while their differences are apparent in how they act and react with the world around them, it never ceases to amaze me when I recognize their distinct personalities in their artwork.

My oldest daughter is frequently lost in a daydream. Her room is generally messy, toys scattered about, reflecting a world of imaginary play. She is a natural explorer. She creates art quickly and with confidence, and by the end of it, she is usually covered in paint. Her artwork often tells imaginative and colorful stories. 

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My youngest frequently plans her outfit for the next day prior to going to sleep, laying each item out from top to bottom on the floor of her mostly tidy room. She likes to make lists and enjoys creating calendars to count down to important days. She is capable and confident, yet very cautious and thoughtful. Like her clothing ensembles, her artwork is frequently monochromatic and simplistic, with repetition and balance. She takes her time, strives to color in every white surface, and as a result, leaves many of her art projects unfinished. 

I've been collecting my children’s artwork since they made their first marks. Each child has a binder that holds our favorite pieces. These binders are the diaries of their preschool and elementary years: full of their inner most thoughts, challenges, and obsessions. I treasure these collections of art more than any other keepsake I have. 

What can you learn about your child through his art-making? Start collecting a few pieces every few months, or if you already have, pull them out and view them as though you are reading a diary. But first, settle down and get comfortable—you're in for a good read. 

Written by Denise Collins, co-owner of Balance Studios