Do you know that Art can be therapeutic?  Have you heard that Art can help parent and child improve their communication? And how about using Art to solve behavioral problems?

To many of us, including myself, our view of art is drawing, doodling, colouring and painting on a piece of paper. The furthest attempt in appreciating art is probably to visit Musée du Louvre, in Paris to interpret whether Mona Lisa smiles or not, or marvel at Michelangelo’s unfinished Dying Slave.

It is only after my kids XX, YH and Little YT went for a holiday art workshop at Rush-Me-Not Art Studio, did I know more about art therapy and how learning art can help a person bring out his inner self, express his emotions through art and thereby improve his life! Amazing!

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In Rush-Me-Not, the classes are conducted in a cozy environment. It is like a home. There are no fearful small studios that shut out the others. It is an open concept. Rush-Me-Not has 2 branches. The one we went to is located on the second floor of a row of shophouses in East Coast Road. On both sides of the long stairway leading up to the studio, you can see a showcase of the students’ art works. There was even a door bell to press. The moment we stepped into the studio, we felt at ease immediately. There’s no scary reception. It was more like visiting a good friend in his humble residence. The art lessons are conducted in the middle of the studio which looks like a living room, with big tables. It has a free and easy-going feel to it. We love it!

Look at the students' art pieces!

Look at the students’ art pieces!

This is a hoola hoop weaving art piece. Creative and beautiful isn't it?

This is a hoola hoop weaving art piece. Creative and beautiful isn’t it?

The art classes are kept small with 4-6 students. The kids started the class with the facilitator, Lih Miin and Teacher Nas introducing Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings. They posed many questions to prompt the kids to read the masterpieces and think about what went through Van Gogh’s mind as he painted. There were many details to look out for and it was interesting. It helped the kids to pay attention to details as they painted their own afterwards.

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The theme for that day was painting Van Gogh’s Sunflowers on canvas using acrylic paint with a thickening medium to achieve a textured look. The kids were taught the “dab” way of painting to make each stroke lumpy so that the canvas painting comes alive with dimensional effect. Before the painting started, the kids had to copy the Sunflowers painting on a piece of paper. Then they were guided step by step to put on colors and details on the canvas.

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XX patiently drew her Sunflowers while YH did it a little too hastily and he did not have the patience to draw out the finer details of the flowers. Meanwhile, another budding artist was busy at work.

Little YT serious at work!

Little YT serious at work!

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It turned out that Rush-Me-Not has Toddler Art classes! I did not think YT would be able to come out with a painting that would make much sense except the proof of his emerging motor development skills. As Teacher Lih Miin guided him, I just sat back to see how my active toddler could possibly sit down to paint.

Teacher Lih Miin held his hand and with big brush strokes, a blue sea appeared.

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Then his little hand was smeared with bright non-toxic acrylic red paint to print on the “sea”.

Getting his hand smeared with red paint

Getting his hand smeared with red paint

Printing on the "sea"

Printing on the “sea”

Yellow paint on my hand!

Yellow paint on my hand!

Look at his little curious face 🙂

Yellow hand prints for yellow fishes!

Little YT had his first painting at 18 months!!

Actually Rush-Me-Not toddler classes are for 2 years old and above. So I was impressed by how Teacher Lih Miin patiently guided YT in completing the “Fishes in the Sea” painting! I was more amazed of how YT could sit for a good 10 minutes to paint without walking around! Then again, he did not really finish the painting as he did begin to walk around again before the last part of finger printed bubbles could be made. Still, 10 minutes was a good start.

At the start of the lesson, I asked XX and YH if they thought they would be able to paint Van Gogh’s Sunflowers at all. Their answers were no. When the art lesson ended, they were both thrilled to present their art pieces to me. I could see them beaming with pride and confidence.

XX Sunflowers

YH Sunflowers

Teachers’ feedback on the art pieces

The teachers shared with me their observations of the differences between XX and YH through their paintings. XX wanted everything to be perfect and has her own opinions of colours and how she wanted the painting to be. YH was a little hasty and finer details were not captured. He had lesser confidence. They also pointed out the differences in how each of them approached the drawings and how age differences and gender play a part to the art work. Kel and I studied their drawings later on at home. We sat a distance away and gave our own opinions to the eager kids. Kel felt that YH had a carefree way of expressing himself while XX was too careful to follow the original details of Van Gogh’s painting. I felt that YH’s painting indeed has a child-like element in it while XX painting shows much finer touches which both reflect her perfectionism and mature self. Our opinions matter a lot to them and I think it is good for them to receive feedback from others.

For many days later, the kids kept asking me when they will be going back to Rush-Me-Not Art Studio again! I am happy that they enjoyed themselves!

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The things I like about Rush-Me-Not are:

1) The environment is cosy and at ease

2) The teachers allow free expression in the students’ paintings and as what the name says: Rush Me Not, no rushing at all, everyone feels totally stress-free

3) The teachers are friendly and they observe the kids’ behaviour, choice of colours, and interpret how they draw. They share their observations with parents and the feedback is very useful to understanding your child

What Rush-Me-Not Art Studio offers:

Rush-Me-Not Art Studio holds art lessons for children in 4 levels depending on age. They have adult programme for those who want to have fun learning art as well as for serious art lovers thinking of furthering their studies. On top of these, they have art therapy lessons conducted in a fun and relaxing atmosphere for children who face emotional struggles due to unpleasant events. In these classes, the art therapist acts as a facilitator to help the child explore and resolve personal issues through individualized supportive strategies, thereby improving the child’s well-being.

Rush-Me-Not also works with schools to use art as a medium to help At-risk, ADHD or students under depression to deal with difficult life events. Not only that, they have workshops that include parent and child where both of them cultivate a better understanding between them through art.

There is therapeutic art that helps children build up self-esteem and confidence too.

GOOD NEWS TO SHARE!!!

After reading all these, if you are tempted to let your children try out Rush-Me-Not art classes, I have a few TERRIFIC news to share!

PROMO No.1) Rush-Me-Not is very generous to extend FREE TRIAL LESSON (worth $40) for all Kids “R” Simple readers! All you need to do is to call up the studio at either of the 2 branches (scroll to the end for contacts) and tell them the promo code “kidsrsimple“, fix a time slot and you are off to let your kid try out to be a little Picasso!

PROMO No.2) Have a go at their Sunday workshops! Sign up and get $20 off the workshop fees of $180. The workshops will be conducted over 2 consecutive Sundays for 2 or 2.5 hours each time. Just quote “kidsrsimple” for this promo.

Sunday Specials
PROMO No.3) If you like what XX and YH had painted, you will be pleased to know that the Van Gogh’s Sunflowers is offered as part of the Sunday workshops due to overwhelming popular demand! It will be conducted over 2 consecutive Sundays of 2.5 hours each.

Van Gogh Sunflowers

No.1,2,3 promotions are available on both branches at Novena and East Coast.

PROMO No.4) Only exclusive to the East Coast branch, the following promotion will be available for those who can make it on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday (2-4-7) at really special prices!

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Rush-Me-Not Art Studio locations:

East Coast Branch

195A East Coast Road

Singapore 428900

Tel: 63488608

Novena Branch

273 Thomson Road

Novena Gardens

#03-02

Singapore 307644

Tel: 62561449 / 62547398

Remember to check out their Website and Facebook too!

Disclosure: We were invited to have a half day fun on canvas painting at Rush-Me-Not Art Studio East Coast Branch. And I must say all 3 of my kids enjoyed the holiday art workshop very much that they wanted more. If not for my Little YT running all about, I would have loved to have a try on the canvas painting myself too!