The Once and Future King

Megan at beachbungalow8 posted this week about children and art.  She recounts her experiences teaching art to kids and how they were all secure in their ability; they were artists.  And with great regret, as we grow older, that somehow goes away.

I emailed her back and now you are basically the person who has walked up on two people talking at a cocktail party and can sort of follow the conversation without really knowing what is going on.  
The work, above, is by Alexander Calder and while it is endearing that he captured his love of tools, even to my untrained eye it is an unremarkable piece.  I recycle dozens of masterpieces like this every week.
So while we should continue to see ourselves as artists, it seems clear as well that talent can evolve (as recently noted at Aesthete’s Lament.)  I doubt Calder’s parents, artists themselves, gazed upon this drawing and predicted that young Sandy would create a new art form.  
The eldest Blandings boy came home yesterday and pulled a wadded up and torn piece of paper from his pocket and tossed it on my desk.  A few weeks back he had to select two electives for next year.  Seventh grade.  He made the list in ranking order.  We talked about it, but I let it be his decision.  He wants to give guitar a try.  An unsurprising choice for a twelve year old boy.  Unless you consider that he is practically tone deaf and has tortured me through nine years of music programs by barely moving his lips.  Yet the crumpled slip of paper announced that he will begin guitar in the fall of ’09.  I assured him this was a good thing as “chicks dig musicians.”  For which I received an eye roll and an “Oh, Mom,” followed quickly by, “Really?”
The other elective?  Creative writing.
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15 thoughts on “The Once and Future King

  1. There is a wonderful quote by Pablo Picasso~ “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up”.

  2. I laugh about the guitar, ” Santa” brought us one this past Christmas. I will have to say it is not so bad, and goes in phases of interest, at least here. We are a year behind you in grade though.
    Have a good day,

  3. How fun. Having a guitarist in the house is a wonderful thing–much less annoying than a practicing pianist (in my humble opinion). They also make headphones that plug directly into the guitar or amp so the entire house can be spared until a song is perfected. It is a good investment–trust me.

  4. I recycle masterpieces all the time too, but if I’m not discreet about it, my 11-year old fishes them out of the bin and gives me a look brimming with reproach.

  5. I think there’s a misnomer that one’s art must look a certain way in order to be deemed ‘good art’.

    even if your cow looks like a wad of gum, it’s still beautiful and precious- because each line is an expression of ‘you’.

  6. One year we held a children’s poster project with the title, “I like myself because.” The one I carry with me in my heart was done by a kindergartner. She was the only black child in that class and she was really, really tall. Her picture using every square inch of the paper (unusual for a child that young I am told) was a range of tall mountains and a self portrait of the young, confident child whose head stood above the mountains, “I like myself because I am taller than the mountains.” Gotta love that attitude. Good luck with the guitar. Maybe he’ll just end up writing for Rolling Stones!

  7. The art form of music is still astounding to me as I cannot carry a tune or read music. Composers, musicians, all of those in the music industry keep me in awe!

  8. My father is an art professor and always lamented when we became “overly self-conscious” and drew things the way we thought they should be and not how we saw them. He always said that he spent all his time “un-teaching” people of their bad habits that developed during this phase. I ignored such comments and drew mostly women in heinous barbie/disney heroine proportions.

  9. One of the most gifted men I ever knew told me once long ago, before it became trite and unexceptional, that talent was 90% inspiration, 10% perspiration. As I was to learn, he and others like him who shared a kind of blind relentlessness evidenced in dedication, diligence and tirelessness, not by need or obligation, but by choice, were to go on and become inordinately successful by anyone’s standards.

  10. If he wants to, he can hear the music. Many people cannot hear their own voices well, so sing out of tune. It could, after all, be drumming he wanted to study. And if he still seems tone deaf, they make a handy electronic tuner to help piano tuners get the strings perfect. You can give it to him next christmas, along with a book on dating etiquette, and a leather jacket.

  11. We have the Picasso quote upon a door (the one Debra mentions); it is what I thought of upon reading this. Re: easethete…there's an awfully good post on Caterina's blog (founder of flickr & hutch) that echoes the salient and noteworthy statement you've made (which is quite true, I believe) about "dedication, diligence and tirelessness." All delicious food for thought. Well served, Mrs. B.

    Thank you!

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