Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Virtual Refrigerator

Those of you with kids have no doubt used your refrigerators for posting recent artwork, report cards, and the ephemera of myriad milestones. Our fridge, however, is covered with sports photos - our boys in soccer and baseball uniforms stretching back to their first T-ball moments, some framed as faux "Sports Illustrated" covers and "Wheaties" boxes. Their art work - at least since nursery school - has been placed in acid-free archival boxes, waiting for that embarrasasing moment decades hence when we can pull them out and show prom dates, fiances, and college roommates the first artistic scribblings of Ben and Sam.

Ben likes art but his first love is sports. Sam (age 7), however, loves drawing and painting and has listed "book illustrator" as one of his future careers. Although I would never try to force one of my children into any profession (and I knew plenty of people at VMI who were expected to become x, y, or z upon graduation), I will try to help with those disciplines for which they show a keen interest. So I've tried to make sure Sam has plenty of good books in which the illustrations are just as important as the words. John J. Muth, our favorite, is a uniquely gifted storyteller whose watercolors are unsurpassed. I enjoy the books as much as Ben and Sam. Muth has garnered considerable praise for Zen Shorts, Stone Soup, The Three Questions, and his most recent, Zen Ties. In most of these works he uses ancient Buddhist teachings, reshaped in terms children can understand, to support the stories. I highly recommend all of them.

So Sam has been writing stories and illustrating them for some time. But he also keeps pads of paper, strips of construction paper, and chunks of cardboard for drawing and doodling. The first image is his take on a genie emerging from a lamp. The larger image was a product of studying Picasso and abstract art at school. It's a woman in curlers, he declared. (He often draws pictures with these looping, curving, lines. It really defines his "style" - if one can say a 7-year-old has a distinctive style.)


BooCat said...

I would say that this 7-year-old definitely has a distinctive style, and it would seem to be a pretty sophisticated style at that. I would also say he seems to have inherited a whole raft-load of artistic DNA talent from at least one parent. Is his mom artistically inclined too?

jblack designs said...

Those are fabulous. What a kid!

One Wink at a Time said...

Boocat said exactly what I would have. It's great that you're encouraging him in the way that you are. And preserving their drawings for the future is terrific.