The art of a child.
A week ago, or so, I had the chance to see what artistic motivations lie within my two youngest boys. They were at the Publika shopping mall, and a stall there was selling little art canvases for children. These had the outline of a scene on them. The point was to paint in the scene in the colours of one’s choice. The boys were left free to choose whichever scene they pleased.
What interested me was the choices the boys made. Fintan chose an animal which the family associates with me. In so doing, he was showing affection for his father. Now he could have chosen many other animals, objects and scenes, but wished to make a deliberate reference to me. I was touched. However, the sight of the animal provoked a little competition between the boys.
“I want that one!”, said Fintan.
“No! I do!”, countered Tiarnan.
“No! It’s mine!”, said Fintan emphatically and reached out for it.
So, both my sons wanted to reference their father. I smiled to see their little squabble.
Then Tiarnan saw something else. It was the outline of a cat. With certainty he reached out for it and picked it up with an odd tenderness. There was clearly a feeling in his heart.
Tiarnan chose to paint the cat in black and white. This was most telling. He even painted a particular black patch over the eye of the cat.
“This is Cow.”, he said as he worked on the painting. There was an intensity of emotion, in his voice, as he said the name.
Cow was our black and white cat who had been killed by dogs, a few months back – bitten alive.
“It makes me sad, to paint Cow.”, he confided softly, brush in hand, “but happy too.”
His work was well observed and skilfully painted. He had managed to capture the essence of Cow, in just the right choices of colour, and shape and brush-stroke. It was a good piece.
“I realize something, today, Mummy.” Tiarnan said, insightfully. “I really like Art and Craft.”
I was heartened to hear that. I am always happy when our boys discover an interest – for that is what motivates a person to achieve something worthwhile.
Fintan’s piece was good too. He had been forced to choose colours which were not natural to the animal in question since his palate didn’t include the right colours – but his choices were warm and somehow loving. I found both their work touching.
Tiarnan has taken to painting more frequently since then and really enjoys it. Let us see how this interest develops, over time.
Posted by Valentine Cawley
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