Recently, while looking through some older work of mine, I found what is most likely my first Splotch Monsters, made in 2007, a couple of years before I even had a name for them and started doing them consistently. While I've tossed out lots of stuff I've drawn over the past decade or so, I'm so glad I kept these. Not only are they still somewhat bearable to look at, but they serve as a document to something I love to make and do.
Below are some examples of Splotch Monsters by some kindergarten students, probably somewhere between the ages of five and six. My friend David Modler, who is not only a spectacular artist, also teaches college students how to become professional art teachers. The beautiful works below are some of the results of his students' students' art, based on a lesson built around some of my own examples. It is both flattering and truly heartwarming to see this, and despite teaching for seventeen years now, I will never tire of seeing what young people create. I'm absolutely amazed by the results of the work below, because of the age-level. It is actually very difficult to teach very young kids how to make Splotch Monsters, and I usually reserve it for slightly older kids. Still, it is quite possible, and when successfully taught, the results can be stunning.
There is something both primal and innocent and very honest and raw about these works, even humorous and a little scary. I love the colors surrounding the Splotch Monsters as well, adding another layer of interest. Before I begin to overanalyze these lovely drawings/paintings, I should just say they're charming in the best sense of the word. To think that these were made by kindergartners, while my first Splotch Monsters were made when I was in my early thirties! Let's hope these children continue to find joy in creating, and value mark-making with paper, paints and ink when they get older, never to forget those precious moments during the art classes of their youth.
Speaking of, I'm pleased to say, I will be teaching some Splotch Monster-making workshops of my own soon at the Artisphere in Arlington, Virginia again! On Sunday, May 4th, from 12-4pm, Artisphere will be hosting Spring Family Day. It's going to be a lot of fun and it's FREE to the public! In addition to Artisphere, I'll be at Books and Other Found Things in Leesburg on Friday, April 4th from 6-9pm, which is always a good time. On Tuesday, July 1st at 11am I'll be visiting Camp Dogwood in Wolftown, VA to do a Splotch Monster workshop. Finally, in late July/early August, I'll be teaching a variety of youth art classes at the new Art Square in Leesburg, VA, one of which will include a Splotch Monster-making activity. In the meantime, I'm going to get started on new works for my solo show and workshop at Off-Rhode Studio in DC this coming September and October. While the subject matter will indeed be Splotch Monsters, the new stuff will be a far cry from my very first doodlings from 2007, though I plan on showing that particular piece in the show, with a little blurb/explanation. This summer I'll be working on them full steam ahead at an artist fellowship I'm attending in Portland, ME in late June. Writing all of this seems a bit overwhelming, but when taken day by day, things all fall into place as they should, and there is yet more to come with these Splotch Monsters in the near future, which I will continue to post about here at the blog.
Before I forget, since we're on the topic of Monsters and teaching, my longtime blogger buddy from England, John Norman (aka Johnny Norms), recently made a wonderful little drawing (above) he titled "Looking For Mr. Loya". John shows his extraordinary drawings and doodles at his Elbowroom blog, and it's important to note he just became a daddy. Big Congrats Johnny!