Today’s post was inspired while reading Jenny Hansen‘s blog, R is for Relics I Want In My Office. It got me thinking about museums and how both my girls love art.
The oldest loves to paint while my youngest loves drawing and sculpting. Their favorite place: Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. As artists they deeply appreciate all the amazing works that are housed there, and it’s through their eyes I see the little things that escaped my notice and make me value the beauty within the paintings, sketches, and sculptures. Now that the eldest is in college and it’s just me and kidlet, I’ve begun to really observe little Ms. Thang while she holes up and works her magic.
Drawing pads and sketch paper litter every room along with pencils, pastels, and chalk…some days the house is an artist’s playground. I personally never knew there were so many different types and quality of paper to work with, nor did I realize the vast assortment of pencils –various sizes and colors – that would become strewn about the house. A varied hodgepodge of paint brushes sit on my windowsill, some in water others held upright in painted containers or glass cups. Everyday this sundry collection of supplies is picked up with nary a grumble (ok, a lot of grumbling) but then I look at the magic drawn on the acid free, medium weight quality paper and smile. Like her older sister, Little Ms. Thang has artistic talent.
Every day she’s drawing something or sculpting, and of course leaving it around the house. When I rave on about said picture, kidlit laughs at me and says, “Mom, it’s a doodle.” (?huh, a doodle…really?). I knew early on she had a thing for art. While most kids nibbled, chewed, or ate their pink lemonade crayon little Ms. Thang sat with her big pad of paper and scrawled her magical squiggles and scribbles across extra large, heavy white, all-purpose paper. I don’t remember the color of the fridge from all the paper on it from both children’s pièce de résistance.
Little Ms. Thang has taught me color, light, and shade and that a pencil is not just a pencil. You need “special” pencils to draw and oh yes, by-the-way, she needed to restock with real supplies. (What an eye-opener this was)
We walked through the local art store, well I strode rather quickly and impatiently while little Ms. Thang floated down the aisles as her eyes took in all the bright and shiny paraphernalia. Beads of drool dripped from the corner of her upturned lips then nestled on her chin while she fingered a deluxe kit of something or other over by the easels. This was little Ms. Thang’s candy store and she didn’t want to leave. I incessantly barked about her making it quick and snappy, and watched as she overloaded the hand basket with papers and pencils – lots of pencils with numbers and weights. I mean seriously can’t one draw with a Ticonderoga yellow #2 on cheap beige paper – worked for me (hey wait…maybe that was my problem).
My mini coronary came when I saw the prices on some of the pencil kits. I mean these are pencils, right? Filled with lead, not gold? The full blown heart attack came at the register. Holy sheep shit and cow paddies, these were art supplies I was purchasing, not the Mona Lisa. With the “must have” supplies restocked my child was over-the-moon ecstatic. When we got home she momentarily disappeared to open all her bright and shiny items. I put on a pot of coffee to drown my sorrows and ease my shakes. Gripping the mug tightly I drank the dark brew as my excited child explained the use of an artist’s eraser (yes, they do exist…really). At first all I could think of was, Really? An artist eraser. A regular pink eraser doesn’t cut it? (insert heavy sigh here) I feigned interest as I slurped my java.
Then something hit me. I saw it. I saw her goofy grin, the twinkle in her eye as she held the eraser out to me like it was gold. The way her hand lovingly held the pencil as she focused and concentrated on the picture she began drawing. Her head phones on, music playing, her head bopping. It was right there in front of me.
I saw me explaining my writing and stories and why I wanted Scrivener and why I bought a Dragon, and how old Word was better than the new Word and how my dream is to own a Mac (excuse me while I dab at the drool on my chin), how college ruled paper pads are better than standard lines. I prefer to do long-hand writing in pencil (#2 yellow Ticonderoga). I have USB fobs everywhere. Piles of papers sit next to my computer, along with pens, sticky notes, motivational cut-outs, bottled water, coffee cups, and a bottle of Motrin. I have notebooks regular and fancy leather bound ones. I have a feathered quill and a Harry Potter leather journal my eldest brought home to me from Disney and I haven’t used yet because I want to put something special in it. I love quills, nibs, ink and various fonts.
I love that when we walk the beach little Ms. Thang takes in the beautiful palette of colors in the sky and itches for her paints, brushes, chalks, and pencils. While I see a story laid out before me itching to be written. I see the setting, hear each of the characters tell me their story, and I want to know their story. I want to breathe life into it. From the elderly man sitting on the weathered bench reading the newspaper, to the little girl with pig tails who giggles at the black and white spotted puppy licking her face as he wriggles his body in her arms. There’s always a story or a picture if you look for it and observe.
“Yanno,” I told little Ms. Thang. “You and I…we’re not so different.”