During a work outing several years ago, my colleagues and I were given an opportunity to make ocarinas out of clay. While the others created instruments that looked like delightful sea creatures, dragons and other fictitious members of the animal kingdom, I suspiciously stared down at my lump of clay without coming up with a single idea. In the end, I created a simple, goofy smiley face on one side, and on the other, I wrote “My talents lie elsewhere”, since when it comes to envisioning and creating my own piece of artwork, I’m utterly and unapologetically hopeless.
That’s not to say that I don’t love art however, for I do – it often brings me great joy. I can, quite happily, spend hours wandering aimlessly through art exhibitions and galleries, and the genre of naïve art (discovered after I visited a naïve art gallery in Tel Aviv for an article I was writing) seems to reach into my soul and make my heart race with emotion. It touches me in ways that I simply cannot describe. I love the colors, the detailed intricacies woven into every scene that invite me to stop in my tracks and stare in open-mouthed wonder…
And now I’m going to let you in on a little secret. When it comes to art, I am a hoarder. I’m not talking about works by Picasso, Matisse or other, lesser known artists. I’m not even referring to works of art created by adults. If you look among the stacks of papers piled on my bookshelves and shoved haphazardly in closets and drawers around my home, you’ll find hundreds of drawings created by the local artist in residence – the boy who once believed (thanks to reading Norton Juster’s “The Phantom Tollbooth” while learning the alphabet in second grade) that words grow on trees and letters can be found in everything, as long as you know how to look for them. How cool is that?
The “collection” contains scribbles from the early years, holiday-themed images, pictures of our family, various animals (many of which, are even identifiable) and so on. And aliens. Lots and lots of drawings of aliens – smiling, holding weapons and carrying out a veritable plethora of alien activities. I love the quirky creativity that frequently seems to find its way into his work, though sometimes I feel like I’m living in a gallery curated by a young Luke Skywalker…
With few exceptions (and despite my husband’s pleas for me to be more, shall we say, discerning), I save them all. As an adult, I know how much I enjoy looking through the essays and school projects created by my younger self, and I like to imagine that the adult my son will eventually derive just as much pleasure from doing the same. He loves to draw and is surprisingly quite good at it – and I say “surprisingly” because as I mentioned previously, most of my own attempts at any form of visual art simply serve to reinforce the notion that I have no artistic skills whatsoever. My mother, on the other hand, is a gifted artist across a variety of platforms, so it would seem rather likely that her natural aptitude for drawing and the like skipped directly over me and went straight to my son.
Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not jealous. I know I’m creative and that my talents really do lie elsewhere. I’m madly and passionately in love with words and writing. I’ve written poems while sitting on rocks in the desert, spent entire airplane flights to Europe writing in my ever-present writing notebook, hours in cafés writing whatever comes to mind… I have tens of notes in my phone listing potential opening lines of poetry and a veritable plethora of Word files containing everything from single lines to partially written poems to multiple versions of the same poem. So clearly, the creativity genes haven’t completely passed me by. I also know and accept my limitations, so for the love of God and all that’s holy, please don’t torture me by asking me to create something with my hands.
But where was I? Oh, yes. My son’s art. Isn’t it great that he gets to attend a school where art is such an inherent part of the educational philosophy, so much so that even the notebooks (carefully crafted by our children and painstakingly glued together by their parents in that sticky, end-of-the-year bookmaking ritual) reflect the rich, colorful tapestry of knowledge imparted by their teachers? I delight in seeing the complexity increase from year to year, of seeing my son’s dutifully copied renderings of his teacher’s chalkboard drawings improve as his skill set grows – even more so when my attempts to mirror those same shapes (for I know better than to try to emulate anything more complicated than that) fall far short of the capabilities demonstrated by my nine-year-old.
As with the naïve art, my favorite aspect of Waldorf art would have to be the colors. I love the bursts of color that seem to leap out of every drawing and tease my soul, the mesmerizing blend of shades and hues that makes me want to write something that evokes an equal sense of beauty. I love the images and the abstract watercolors – so much so, in fact, that I even used one of my son’s paintings as the background for my own website, poring over his creations until I found the one that moved me the most and matched the vision I was trying to create.
There is something in this imagery that draws me in like a warm embrace, colors dancing lazily across the page to capture my inspiration – which I surrender willingly, of course, for there are few sensations more blissful than allowing myself to follow a beckoning trail of color into the magical world of my son’s imagination. And when it comes right down to it, that’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it?
This entry was posted in Art, Childhood Memories, Daily life, Education, Family, My son the..., Parenting, Writing and tagged aliens, ART, Education, Family, naive art, Waldorf by Liza Rosenberg