Thursday, June 30, 2011


(Pre-Script: This post is paired with the song, "Uncharted," #39 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

Recently, I went to a friend's house and she had pulled out oil pastels and large pieces of paper for drawing. I sat down and started drawing with bright, vivid colors. I drew hearts and stars and said "I am angry. I didn't realize before I started drawing that I am angry!" So I drew some more hearts in vivid red. And then I wasn't angry anymore, I was at peace. And then I felt the need to draw a fish.



Lately, I have been drawing fish.

It goes like this:

I call the children to the kitchen table. I turn on some music. I say "Time for art class, kids!" and we pull out the crayons and paper and we color pictures. We do this because after I drew that first fish, I said "I like this fish; I feel like I am a fish, inside." My friend said "I like your fish, your fish is free." Then the children and I went home and I was not done drawing fish, so I gathered them to the table, and told them to draw whatever animal they felt represented themselves, and I called it "Art Class."

(This is one of the benefits to having children is that you can call "Art Class" at any time, and they will not say, for example, "why are we doing art class when it is the middle of out summer break and we should be doing anything BUT anything called "class," we should be languishing in our boredom like everyone else."

At least for now, my children do not say that yet.

But I digress.

Ahem )

My fish are my own; they look exactly how my inner fish would look, if my inner fish could pop out of my self and show itself. The fish I draw have neat round bodies and large red lips. They have big green eyes and purple eyelashes. They have large round blue tears dripping down from their eyes.

I told my friend, "My fish are bright, deep, dark, passionate, vibrant colors, because that is what I am, inside; I am deep and passionate; I am not pastel." And this felt like the truest, most satisfying thing to realize.

But after two weeks of this, I had just finished drawing a gorgeous large vibrant fish when I felt the need to draw a small pink fish up in the corner of the page. This fish had a lavender colored eye, and still the large bright red lips. I told my friend about the pink fish. I told her "I think I had to draw all of those bright fish before I could find the pink fish-" But I was careful to add that "It wasn't soft pink, it was salmon colored pink." She laughed at my distinction, but the distinction was important in my mind.

The distinctions makes all the difference in life.

Art class has progressed.

I now play music, call the kids to the table, and they start to color while I read a passage of the bible. My only instruction is to tell them to draw whatever comes to mind, and not to compare their art work to that of anyone else. This is all I will say, for how can I tell them what lies on the inside of their own hearts and minds? They have to show me in their own way and time.

Ethan's drawings are often puppy dog dragons or bunny rabbits with large eyes. Natalie's often involve cutting and gluing other pieces of paper onto the picture she has already colored, so hers have an element of surprise. Kristina likes to say that what I read to her makes no difference whatsoever in her drawing, but then her pictures betray that. And Jeremy? He often just sits and chats with us while we draw. Actually, he usually asks a very deep, insightful question about the passage I have just read, it has clearly disturbed him,

and then he says,

"Mom, can I watch TV?"

And I say,

"No, we're listening to music. It's Art Class time."

And he says,

"Well, what about if I watch it in the other room?"

And I say, "no, it's ART time."

and he says,

"You're just saying that because..."

And then I hear a new reason why I am just saying that because, and then he settles down and creates some type of castle with working doors and drawbridge or somesuch thing which reminds me that my children have more bones in their bodies than I do.



Yesterday during Art Class, a strange thing happened. I sat down to draw a fish, but found, instead, the need to draw a bird. Not just one bird, but a page full of bird after bird after bird. Not just one page, but page after page. I am still drawing birds. Somewhere on each page, I have the need to write "little yellow canary." I have no idea why. My birds are neat and stylized. They are rounded, with their wings at their sides, not flying, but resting, and I will never apologize for my drawing style. My birds are me.

I told the kids,

"For some reason, I now have a need to draw birds."

Jeremy said,

"You are saying that like it's a big deal, but it's not, it's just you drawing birds."

He is right; I am just drawing birds; I did not tell him that some of the biggest deals in the world are the ones we don't understand yet.

Just then, Natalie leaned over and outlined what I had just drawn, as if to emphasize my point.


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