For the last three days, my daughter has climbed up to the table, procured paper, watercolors, and camel hair brush, and proceeded to lay brush to paper with a very delicate and deliberate stroke. She is only two, so the fact that she takes such great care to place dabs of paint across the paper astounds me. When my son was the same age (he’s 10 now), he slathered on layers of paint so wet the paper nearly disintegrated. While she does not quite understand the concept of cleaning her brush between colors, her attempt at choosing and mixing are apparent as she studies the twelve-color palate of plastic ovals. When she uses markers and crayons, her color choices and placement are also deliberate and she announces proudly that she is writing her name or drawing a bird, even when the marks are simply zig-zags and swirls. She has no fear of making a mistake and no pretense that her drawing is anything other than what she’s intended.
My son prefers using pencils these days, so he received a sketching set for Christmas complete with pencils, erasers, chamois and a set of cards on which to practice smudging shadows. When he chooses to draw, he creates “comic books” featuring his favorite skeleton “One-Tooth Willy.” His skeletons are uniquely created from a series of squares and rectangles and include all of the vital bones and joints, including hips, spine, sternum and jaw. For a very long time, he has gotten flustered at making mistakes on anything, and for whatever reason refuses to acknowledge that the eraser is his friend. He also is under the impression that since he can draw, he does not need to learn anything new about drawing, which he states each time we attempt to enroll him in an art class through the county recreation department. I also struggle to get him to draw on a daily basis as he insists he’d rather play video games. I don’t mind as much if he forgoes drawing for Lego building. He creates clever models with the thousands of pieces littering the floor of his room, pieces that once fashioned kits from the Star Wars, Hobbit, Galaxy Squad, and other series by the Lego company.
Myself, I haven’t found as much time as I’d like to make art, not with a full-time job and two children to keep track of and entertain. My most recent attempt was trying to create a new book cover for my novel, somewhat successfully, but not the perfect image yet. Before that, I painted sunflowers on the refinished dining table (this is a cheap wooden table originally from Target that I bought from a friend ten years ago and it has undergone some stress, so we painted the table blue with white legs and added sunflowers in the corners). I have sketch books in the basement filled with past drawings and paintings. I have scrapbooks waiting to be put together. And I have a list of projects I’d like to start, such as sewing sunflowers into ornaments, pillows, and other items to give as gifts and possible offer for sale. Too many projects and not enough alone hours in the day. I’m not even sure I could draw a decent picture if I wanted to, these days. I should enroll in one of those art classes myself and hire a babysitter.
Later that same afternoon, I drew this: