When I was a child I fully intended to be artistic. I liked the idea of it, the passion and drama that being artistic would surely confer. I went through phases where I feverishly sketched in notebooks, clutching them to my chest should any NONARTISTIC types (read: my family) wander too close.
Sadly, I had no talent. Worse still, I didn’t actually have much interest in ART. My focus was being interesting, and there were plenty other options for that which didn’t include the irrational need to SIT STILL so much.
But then I had babies, and as was often the case with my long lost misguided notions, this one was reborn with the boys. THEY would be artists, for LOOK AT THEM AND THEIR BEAUTY. They were surely the most interesting beings I’d ever met, and would therefore be artistic. Plus, I wasn’t going to screw up as my well-intentioned parents had obviously done with me.
Oh, I kill me.
As soon as Tre got old enough to reliably handle crayons without eating them, I started seating him in front of paper and crayon.
”Go, child! CREATE!” I breathed joyfully. He looked at me blankly, scribbled some random lines, then said,
“Can I be done now?”
Really, other than one burst of creativity when he was two and a half and drew a great swooping mural of a Christmas tree on the wall, Tre has been forever and utterly uninterested in art. He was five before he drew an actual representational picture.
And to be honest, it wasn’t all that good. I tried to encourage him, I really did.
“Here, sweetie! Why don’t you draw a picture of our HOME!” I would say in tones suggesting I was offering him a free cruise. He would sigh and dutifully start drawing lines on the paper. Pause. Look at me.
“Do I have to draw ALL the rooms?”
Eventually I gave up. I released him from the burden of art.
Max, on the other hand, seemed to like putting crayon to paper (or pencil to wall). However, he has always had…let’s call them bilateralization issues. For the longest time he could write an entire sentence in mirror image and not be able to see what was wrong with it. I mean, the whole thing would be flipped, from the punctuation to the capitol letter, and I would boggle at it and say, “Max, honey, can you see what the problem is here?” He would study it and study it and shake his head, bewildered.
So he liked to draw, but it was usually amorphous shapes. Correction: one amorphous shape with his right hand, and a perfect mirror image of it with his left hand. It often looked like two hemispheres of a brain, which IS interesting and MIGHT even be art, but was beyond me in many many ways.
Finally, I just gave up. Raphael has been known to commit acts of drawing, but he’s on his own. I have retired from the art scene.
Well, today Tre received a book. It is an instruction manual on how to draw Mario characters. He settled down with it right after dinner and spent the rest of the evening working feverishly away. He was delighted. Finally! I could almost hear him thinking, someone to show me the
He churned out many works of art that Max assured him were “perfect!” and then, “oh, that one’s better!”
He is prolific, very pleased with himself, and seems to believe that he’s conquered this whole art deal.
Max, on the other hand, came home from school recently with this picture.
Isn’t it lovely? Don’t you adore the parrot and all the vibrant colors?
Did you see this guy?
There’s a story behind the “Dead” guy. See, that’s an explorer that wandered too deep into the jungle and ran afoul of the natives who didn’t appreciate his intrusion. It’s all about property rights, really. However, I’m afraid not everyone will see it as innocent, and might instead assume he’s a freak of a child, clearly the result of defective parenting. Of course, I assume people will think that when his fingernails are too long, also. So.
I gently suggested that he might want to keep the dead guys out of his pictures – at least at school. He was nothing more than puzzled by me.
However, all is not lost. Tonight as I flopped down on the couch next to Raphael to watch “March of the Penguins,” he turned to look at me. He smiled widely, blissed out on all the penguins and being tucked against my side. He reached up and patted my cheek.
“Mom, you’re so beautiful,” he sighed.
Now, that boy’s got a good eye.