Life is a Circus

Emilie Barton is Living a Childhood Steeped in Art

Paul Barton’s home-schooled daughter’s work challenges us to reconsider childhood education and creativity.

Artist and musician Paul Barton, who was recently profiled in Life Is a Circus, lives a life of freedom, creativity, and total commitment to art. That approach to life extends to the education of their daughter, Emilie, who is showing early promise as a painter herself.  

Emilie is the product of an education system devised by her parents. Living too far from a desirable school in Bangkok, they took on Emilie’s education themselves. The key to their curriculum is freedom – they encourage Emilie to pursue the subjects and interests that matter to her most. 

And what matters to her most so far is painting. Under her parents’ guidance, Emilie has produced a tremendous number of large-scale paintings, depicting animal life in vivid colors, and showing real mastery of the craft for someone so young. Her canvases are becoming larger and larger, recently taking up a new wall in the family home. 

The family’s emphasis on freedom and dedication to craft is a testament to their belief in the power of creativity and the importance of creative expression. Seeing Emilie’s work and accomplishments, one wonders how the educational system for the rest of us – and art itself – might be transformed if it followed the Barton model. 

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