Archive for September 17th, 2010

It’s all about learning.  Sure, it’s fun ; sure it’s great to go home with a picture of yourself to frame and hang in your room and wonder if you will look like that in five years (the drawing tends to make you look more glamorous, more self-assured and more powerful than you feel–at least are allowed to feel  since you’re a kid going to school and playing baseball and soccer).   But, the real treat is watching over the artist’s shoulder.  It goes so fast!  And look how she does the hair…look how she puts blue in the hair to make it look more black.  They ask me about that all the time.  Look how she leaves a white spot on the tip of the nose and on the cheeks.  That’s the high light, I explain.  She always makes the head big and the body small.  Why?  That’s part of how caricatures are done, I explain.  They themselves all draw.  Drawing is part of the way children make sense of the world.  Drawing is a natural extension of the SEEING process.  Drawing is a natural way of saying, “these things around us that we look at every day are pretty amazing, let’s take time to actually look at them.”  Faces are a special feature of the work we live in and are extra fascinating.  (See PROSOPAGNOSIA in my blog post for 9.  Xxxx, in http://artamaze.wordpress.com)

There are parties where four or five kids will spend the entire duration of the party, in this case two hours, standing next to me and studiously watching the process. I’ve seen it many times and this was such an occasion.  It’s really gratifying for me.  One of the questions that always comes up is, how did you learn to do this?  The answer is that you have to draw a lot, you have to practice.  Then I encourage them to keep drawing.  After the age of twelve, children tend to get more interested in socializing and conforming and, as a result, they spend less and less time at their drawing boards.  Maybe some of “my students” from these parties will continue.  I like to think so.

For the past dozen or so years I’ve been spending the afternoons of grandparents day in nursing homes, where the families come to visit. This past Sunday it was at Holy Family on Dempster in Des Plaines.  This was an exceptionally polite crowd, enthusiastic in a gentile way.  What a pleasure!  Thank you, Mila, Mercy, and Adrianna.  See you next year!


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