Friday, January 05, 2007
The art of childhood
I made this painting about 4 years ago of Isabela when she was about one, just after she learned to walk. I named it "For her Amusement" and its 3'x3' and hangs on the apple green walls in the playroom...appropriately. Originally, I was inspired by this one, as I am inspired by all the paintings of Picasso's blue period. It seems the more human his paintings were the less well they were received, it's just where art was at the time. Anyway. Love the blue period. All the thoughts I have when I make a painting kind of fleet away from me in the years after, and then come back around again. I don't know why or how. When I made the painting I was thinking of all those tasks and chores that surround occupying and entertaining a child. I didn't want to portray her as a spoiled brat but more, like the central act in a domestic circus where each corner is filled with something she may want or need. I did lots of paintings with birds and birdcages in them for a while. I think I was the bird in the cage. Can I say that? Motherhood is hard. If you want to do it right. And going after goals outside of motherhood is hard too, not harder, but maybe more complicated.
Geesh, where is this going?
What I wanted to say is I feel guilty sometimes, that I have the ability to amuse my kids with a playroom and a gameroom as shared in my last post, and I feel like I should apologize for it somehow. Is it okay to spend so much time keeping them happy? Yea, I think so, but for me its the the kind of happy that makes the difference. I justify giving them so much by 1) the sheer number of children we have and 2) the kind of things I am occupying them with. The gameroom was something that we came up with to reroute that kneejerk phenomenon of waking up and turning on the tv. Jeff was startled in the wee hours of the morning a few days ago by hearing some rustling in the garage, thinking we may have an intruder. What we had instead was Nicolas and Joseph waking before dawn to play down in their new room, cause it was the first thing they thought of when they woke up. Perfect.
I guess there is a 3) justification to bestowing lots of fun on the kids. We expect alot in return in terms of their character and their treatment of each other. Juliana and I made this big (3x4) "Family Rules" painting after we moved into this house a few years ago. It is actually referred to often as we discipline the kids. Nicolas has pointed out that there are so many more rules in this house than what is shown in the posted parameters. I explained that this just touches on the basics. It is actually a very fun little project for a family to work on together, creating and refining a list and then tackling it with not too much care of aesthetics. It's not about aesthetics, you see.
So let me revise. I don't feel guilty, just incrediby blessed. Today is the last day of the kids' Christmas break and I'm just thinking about how great it's been. Usually I am counting the days till they go back, so I can get some work done, and I've done that a tiny bit, but it'll be really quiet here next week. Which is fine. We'll share them with their lucky teachers and use the time we have to both refine them and entertain them. I think that's our job.