I’ve probably mentioned this before, but I hang on every word my friend and best art instructor I ever had, Cathy Gordon. Speaking of which, you should check out her web-site, cathleengordon.com, she’s amazing. Anyway, I seem to be in a groove and can’t stop making these pen and ink animals on old book pages. Cathy told me once that sometimes, in art, a phase just has to run its course. I think it’s happening to me. You’ll be able to tell when it’s over
While visiting with a friend the other day, I recalled this series I created many years ago. They are called” Postcards to Willendorf”. The Venus of Willendorf is a figure, not quite 4.5 inches tall, created between 22,000 and 24,000 BCE and found in 1908 near Willendorf, Austria. Now, the more p.c. title is “The Woman of Willendorf”. I was thinking she’d been stuck in Willendorf so long, the poor girl probably would enjoy a little trip. Here she is at Disneyland, Hawaii, and The Alamo.
One of the nicest gifts at Christmas was from my oldest son. He is an accomplished metal sculptor and my father was a self taught wood artist. My father left behind some unfinished nude figures, not enough for every family member to have one. My son made a mold and cast several figures. It is a wonderful collaboration of the work of two related artists, and priceless to those of us who are fortunate to have known them both. I wish I were a better photographer because my photo does not do the piece justice. This piece represents a metaphor to me….small and delicate as is life. (T he figure itself is only a little over 5 inches long) . My dad was only a month into his 60th year. Yet, it is cast in iron, a strong metal that represents the strength and lifelong memories we hold of the people who matter the most.
I would like to take a moment to talk about kids and art. For Christmas, two of my grandkids asked me if I would draw them a picture. Of course I would…they’re my grandkids and I would do anything for them. Let me stop here for a moment to inject another story.
Many years ago I went on an art trip to Chicago with several people, two of which were parents. I had known these parents for several years and knew them to be very conscientious when it came to their children and the effects of commercialism and gender specific toys. They would have been the type of parents to encourage their daughter to wrestle, if that had been where her interests had lain. As we were looking for souvenirs to take home to our kids, this father was looking for a specific Barbie. I said to him that he didn’t seem to be the “Barbie” type. What he said has stuck with me. He said he wasn’t a Barbie fan, but his daughter was. He told me that we HAVE to take an interest in what our children care about, whether we like it or not.
It is easy for us to encourage and point our children in the direction of our interests. It is sometimes difficult for us to listen and take an interest in things our kids hold near and dear, especially if we don’t agree. We need to stay neutral if we don’t share their interests, but still LISTEN to what they are telling us. If we say…girls can wrestle and a boy can have pink as a favorite color…then we have to mean it and act accordingly. We need to let our children know it’s OK to have an opinion, even if it’s not shared.
My grandkids wanted Hello Kitty and The Onceler. I wouldn’t have chosen to paint these characters, but that doesn’t matter. The conversation we had helped us learn more about each other. The kids learned some things about art, and the task of making some choices. By listening to their choices, I learned more about their interests and more about their characters. And while the pieces I made for them are not original in image, they are altered somewhat and a different medium applied. I got the pleasure of practicing painting and drawing. I also got the satisfaction of watching the delight on my grandchildrens’ faces when they saw their pictures the first time. Look how happy and proud they are.