Posts Tagged ‘children’s art’


Henry, Em’s drawing of Henry the Pug, on display at the “Young in
Art” show, February, 2010, image © 2010 by Em, All rights reserved.

This is Henry. He came from my 10-year-old daughter’s imagination. Sony the Pug was inspiration for Henry. If Henry were real, perhaps he would be Sony’s boyfriend.

Em, my daughter, decided she wanted to draw a pug. So I had her look at Sony as closely as possible, to notice Sony’s little black nose, how there’s an upside-down Y from the bottom of that nose to the bottom of the face, and another upside-down Y between Sony’s eyes. I pointed out Sony’s little ears and her wrinkly face that makes her seem like she’s frowning all the time.

Noticing all these things, Em drew the pug above and then said, “I want it to be wearing a hat,” at which point Dee suggested, “How about a top hat?” So Em drew a top hat on the pug.

I thought the portrait would look nice with one of those ribbon banners at the bottom spelling out the pug’s name, but Em liked the idea of a collar and tag. Once she saw her pug’s face, she said it wasn’t Sonia after all; that it was a boy pug and his name was Henry.

I loaned Em my markers, which are about 50 different shades of just a dozen or so colors. Over three days, Em painted Henry with the markers. First she did the light colors then darker for shading.

Em slowed way down and carefully colored the picture. The quality comes through in the result.

Henry the Pug was selected by Frame-n-Art to be in the “Young in Art” show. Frame-n-Art has hosted this art show for the local elementary school for over a dozen years. It’s a way this gallery-slash-frame-shop gives back to the community and encourages young people to make art not just for fun but for others to enjoy.

Each year local artists jury the show to select 24 pieces—four from each of grades Kindergarten to Fifth. The two-dimensional pieces have all been matted courtesy of the gallery and are on display at an exhibit there. The artist reception will be in about a week, and there will be one award from each grade plus two overall awards. The first overall award is “Principal’s Choice,” in which the principal picks her favorite to hang in the school administration building. People who go to the gallery up to and during the reception can also vote, and that winning piece is proclaimed “People’s Choice.” There are cash awards for winners.

This is Em’s second year in “Young in Art.” It is an honor just to be selected for the show. Last weekend when I took Em by the gallery to see her piece hanging and to vote, she said that this year she wants to win one of the awards. Tonight, though, she said it’s OK if she doesn’t win an award, that it was enough to be in the show.

Competing for awards is a nerve-wracking thing, and I applaud my daughter for approaching it with a sportsman-like attitude. She’s a competitive kid, perhaps due to be the youngest and thus wanting to exceed her sister’s accomplishments. Or maybe the competitiveness is a natural trait, having nothing to do with siblings. In either case, I’m glad she’s game. I for one hope she wins one of the awards and will be rooting for her.

I also think it’s fabulous that Frame-n-Art sponsors this show. What they do is a big deal for a lot of young people and their biggest fans.

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Small hand, charcoal sketch by Em, August 2007This year at my daughters’ summer camp, the art instructor used sketchbooks. She said sketching was in keeping with the theme for the camp, Look To This Day. I think what she meant was that sketching was quick. You capture what’s in front of you — a hand, a tree, maybe a thing floating in your imagination. You don’t labor over anything or tighten it up. Just sketch, then move on.

These are some of the images from Em’s sketchbook. Em is eight. The first time we took her to camp, last year, she was the youngest kid there. Usually they don’t let kids attend camp unless they’re eight or over, but Em got to go at age seven since her older sister was also attending. Em loved it. She didn’t get sad or need to call home. Not that I thought she would. One thing I know about this youngest daughter of mine: she’s easy-going and independent.

Eye to eye, charcoal drawing by Em, August 2007This past Sunday Em and I flipped through her notebook to pick out sketches to post on red Ravine. She stopped at one done in colored pens. “This is my favorite,” she said. “It’s my teacher’s favorite, too.” 

She told me the art instructor liked it so much that she made a photocopy to take home with her. Em’s whole face was smiling when she said it. Em has big teeth and a big mouth; her smile really does stretch from ear to ear. “Is it a dog,” I asked her. “Hmm,” she said. Apparently she hadn’t given it much thought until that moment. “It’s maybe a dog,” she finally said.

Maybe a dog. I like that. And I love the art instructor for making a fuss over Em’s art. We get our cues early on whether we are good or not. 

                     Maybe A Dog, sketch with colored pens by Em, August 2007
                     Maybe A Dog, all sketches © 2007 by Em. All rights reserved.

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Pedernal and Feather, painting by Em, July 9, 2007Em just finished this painting of a white and purple feather with The Pedernal in the background. I hadn’t showed her the post I’d done earlier with my photo of that sacred mountain, but on the drive back to Albuquerque we did take “the back way” around The Pedernal. She asked me to stop at Abiquiu Lake so she could take a photo with her disposable camera of the mountain (which she also did last year on the return trip).

QM might say The Pedernal is an archetype. (Would you, QM?) I’m trying to understand the concept of archetypes. I noticed in the painting on the easel in the Remington studio post that served as our writing topic last week, there was a mountain range in the background with a flat-topped notch that made me wonder whether Remington was recollecting The Pedernal on canvas or simply reproducing an image from the collective subconscious. (I did a Google search on Remington and Pedernal but didn’t find anything one way or another.)

At any rate, Em was pleased to know her painting was about to be posted on red Ravine. Her eyes lit up when I asked her for permission to do so, and just as I was about to take a shot of it with my digital camera she ran to her room and came back with her disposable camera, snapped a shot of her painting for herself, and then ran back to her room. Ah, the joys of self-publishing!

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