Late last year, I wrote a blog post over on the Outdoor Photographer Website, about losing our creativity in America. This post was based on an article that was published on Newsweek’s website. Because of that article, our daughter’s main Christmas present was an easel and full set of professional art supplies ranging from pastels to water color paints and everything in between. I guess Heather and I figured we should at least give her the opportunity to create, since we knew it isn’t happening in her school. It didn’t take long for Jade to declare this “one of her favorite presents ever”. Heather and I are still shocked, because she got a baby carriage too, and those things usually wind up much higher on the love list.
In lieu of heading down the road of that bumper sticker–My Kid is an Honor Student…crap, I do have to say that I am quickly becoming the proud father of a somewhat creative daughter. People must have some kind of genetic mutation that kicks in when kids are born, that automatically gives us a propensity towards thinking our kids are the greatest. This probably happens so we don’t kill them, eat them, and get back to what it is all really about–sex! I am sure there is a perfectly good scientific explanation that my uber-educated wife can come up with, but I have yet to figure it all out. I have come to the conclusion that it gives our children the motivation to at least try, by having a vote of confidence from the ones they know the best.
The past week of my life has been pretty much work free, and unfortunately not by choice. Jade has been home sick with Strep Throat. Fevers close 105 degrees, vomiting, you don’t need to know the particulars, just really sick. It seemed like every dose of Ibuprofen had her up and about for at least 4 hours before the need of sleep would factor into the picture. During those times of insanity (sanity is when they are asleep) she wanted to “create artwork”. And there was no way I was going to argue with her at those moments, I just didn’t want her to puke on my carpet again.
Jade is 5, and acts like she is 15 with the exception that she still has a romantic innocence about herself. She holds prejudice against no one, doesn’t even fathom the idea of racism, and truly experiences the world with an open mind. It is fairly liberating for me to watch. My only goal now is to learn from it, to photograph like she paints–with complete freedom and for the absolute joy of doing so. I knew taking her to that Picasso exhibit was going to pay dividends. In 4 days of “home schooling” with dad, we watched countless movies on the apple TV, ate a few pounds of gummi bears, and actually painted 13 pieces. I guess I shouldn’t say painted, because Jade chose to use pastels, water colors, charcoal, and markers. Let’s go with created 13 pieces.
I am hoping that her work is actually good and I am not being a “Jaded” father, then my creative background kicks in and I truly believe that this work has merit. She picked titles like, “name”, “face”, and “me” for some of the pieces, which has me thinking that she actually had a concept in mind when she went to town on that easel. The other part of the story is that it may not actually matter if the work is good or not. I got to spend a solid 4 days with my daughter, I got to be inspired by her creativity, and she personally taught me to look at the world differently, to create with more intensity. For that alone, I am forever grateful. And it might just have me picking up some of those art supplies to pull some of the visions I have banging around in that melon upstairs.