The famous quote from Picasso is “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.

Stages of child art development.

According to those who study child art there are distinguishable stages of artistic development.

  1. Random scribble just making marks.
  2. Pre-schematic or Pre-symbolic. Circles, squares etc. representing something.
  3. Schematic or Symbolic. Repeated symbols, and a base line.
  4. Mixed experiments including some perspective.
  5. Optical Realism. Adult style, including overlapping.

Maybe Jackson Pollock drip paintings are based on his Stage 1 memories of scribble. Very respected artists like Picasso have distorted perspective quite happily. And Picasso repeated symbols. Maybe he was a stage 3 ‘schematic’.

It is the final stage of realism that divides grown up artists and art lovers. Many artists try very hard to attain and demonstrate the skill necessary to recreate photographic realism. While others are desperate not to lose the spontaneous freedom and excitement of their childhood.

CAT ON PIANO by Colin Ruffell

CAT ON PIANO by Colin Ruffell

I had a period during my professional artist career where I painted in a deliberate pseudo naïve or childlike style. My kitchen and cat paintings use false perspective and multiple view-points. They were successful for many years and still prove popular in print and on greetings cards.

In real life.

A couple visited my studio the other day looking for a painting for their home. During their visit I pointed to one of my paintings hanging on my office wall and I told them that it was priced at £1,000,000.00 [one million pounds]. I explained that the price is so high because I don’t want to sell it. But it sets a benchmark showing that all my other work is really quite affordable in comparison. This is the painting.

FAMILY by Colin Ruffell

FAMILY by Colin Ruffell

It is in fact a bad copy of another artists painting that also hangs in my office. The one that I have copied is priced at £2,000,000.00 [two million pounds]. I really, really, really, don’t want to sell that one.

FAMILY DRAWING by Shyama Ruffell

FAMILY DRAWING by Shyama Ruffell

The £2M painting was created by our daughter Shyama when we all lived in the house in the picture. I reckon that Shyama was about 4 or 5 years old when she captured our family in her group portrait. I was an art teacher in the local secondary school at the time. Then I gave up teaching and became a full time artist.

Nowadays Shyama is also a full-time professional artist. Both of us are grown ups. So we seem to have solved Mr Picasso’s problem.