I am not artistically inclined. I have trouble with stick people and my flowers are never more complicated than the classic daisy. I once tried to draw a tulip – that did not go well. I often see works of art – particularly modern works that are, for example, large blocks of color or single lines crossing the canvas – and think “I could totally do that.” But put a blank piece of paper in front of me and I come up empty handed. And I rarely venture beyond stick people and daisies because…well… I censor myself.
I don’t think that this was ever a skill that I had as a child, either. My grandmother has art some of her grandchildren’s childhood art hanging in one hallway of her home. One of mine and one of my youngest brother’s hang side by side. Mine is a tracing of the letter J – very neat and clean with the top of the J staying in one place but rotated a few degrees so that the curve of the J fans out in all directions making a circle around the page. I was probably 6 or 7 years old. My brother’s, on the other hand, is a very delicate and intricate ink drawing of a monk and a dinosaur – a monk and a dinosaur – completed at age 5. Even then he had mad skill.
I don’t have expectations for the areas in which my children will be drawn or excel; I don’t intend to let myself live out my failed (or missed) opportunities through my children (i.e. I will not force Eleanor to become an Olympic gold medal gymnast just because I now realize that I actually did like that tumbling class I took when I was 8). I just hope that they are drawn to something. That said, it is nice to see Eleanor expressing such interest in and imagination for drawing and painting; for no other reason than she feels such a sense of pride in her work and I love watching the uncensored creative process.