The Light Within: A pilot study, or a ‘Note from the Field’, examining the spontaneous production of light-emitting astronomical objects in child art

Gordon Chinamasa, Thomas M. Christian, Ron Kimbell


The authors conducted research into the automatic artistic representation of luminous astronomical objects, especially the sun, in children’s art. 25 artworks were collected and analyzed from local-area school-aged children of varying ages (ages 5-17). It was found that 100% of the drawings produced by children displayed some type of luminous astronomical object. Of these, 92% exhibited the sun exclusively. Too, 92% of the qualitative descriptions by the child participants expressed daytime features per se. Furthermore, 88% of the drawings revealed, strictly speaking, preference for either left or right page-orientation. That is, children drew the sun on either the left or right side of the page; children very rarely drew light emitting objects in the center of the page. The authors speculate about the various and compelling meanings associated with the data by way of four theoretical models: 1) Biological; 2) Psychological; 3) Philosophical- Religious; and, 4) Anthropological. 

Keywords: Psychology of art, Art interpretation, Child art, Philosophy of art, Psychology and Nature interface. 

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