We just had my mom here to visit, and when I showed her the Ed Emberley art books that dd5 has been enjoying for the past few weeks, she said "Oh, you've got her doing directed art." That's the first time I've heard the expression. According to my mother, directed art is where you teach the child what elements (shapes, in this case) to put together in what order to get a desired art result. When you just let young children create whatever without guidance, those who haven't learned (or at least figured out) specifics of what to do to get a desired result are at a loss.
I've read a lot about direct instruction, but I'd never before given much thought to art as something where direct instruction can be utilized. Art just seems to be such a "free-spirit" kind of subject. But I can certainly see why a child might enjoy art more when given specific instruction and tools to get a satisfyingly good result. Is it possible that one of the reasons that most modern art, especially student art, leaves me cold and underwhelmed is that they aren't being taught much technical mastery of the skills necessary to convincingly express an object, an emotion, etc.?