It’s been a while since I wrote about Amie’s art. This has become a garden (and beekeeping) blog, no doubt about it. But while the blog has changed, in one respect Amie has not: she is still an artist.
Ever since a boy at her preschool claimed that she is not, she has been working hard at her art. She draws at least an hour a day, longer more often, depending what else the day has to offer. She goes nowhere without her field bag, bulging with paper and an array of pencils or markers. She is never happier than when I buy her a 20-pack of legal writing pads.
A couple of days ago, when we were drawing together, she was telling me that you have to practice long and hard. You have to be 90 to be an artist, it takes that long! I said few people live to be 90, really. Okay, she said, 70, no, 71 . That was as much as she wanted to compromise. I think it keeps her safe from expectations, her own especially. She gets quite upset when someone insists she already is an artist. She insists that she is really a “half artist”, not a “full” one.
Her art-making these days is more independent. Once in a while I sit with her to draw and then she’ll copy some things of mine that she finds interesting. Mostly she draws on her own. She doesn’t have a special place yet, and draws anywhere and everywhere: on the bus, in the car, in restaurants, at playdates, at the dining room table, at her desk, on the floor, on the bed… Sometimes she’ll come and sit next to me and quietly work away, or keep up a running comment. Other times she is happy quite by herself in the room.
These days she concentrates on patterns of shape and color. She loves to repeat and arrange random objects on a page. These are blankies and hats:
These objects are sometimes named, like “blankies” and “hats”, or they are simply “designs” or “decorations”. The strip and the two blocks in the drawing at the top are “pieces of candy” thrown up into the air for the bird to eat, but in the drawing below, they’re just “decorations”.
She likes to schematize objects too, oftentimes things that she feels are necessary in most pictures and that she has drawn often before, like the grass in the drawing of Rabbit and Roo and the sky and the sun in the drawing of the playset (ladder, slide, swing):
She likes order on the page. Nothing touches, things are separated. In the drawing of Rabbit and Roo, they are holding hands. The drawing below, on the left, is of a dragon climbing a wall. And of the drawing of the fishes she actually said: “See, these [the yellow dots] are separations.”
There are elaborate stories. Most of the drawings you see here are from a book she is making about a bird called Yellowfinch and his family – who are actually sparrows. Here are two more drawings from the Yellowfinch series:
This schematizing, separating impulse is a new development, and the drawings you see above are all no more than a week old. The following drawing – my favorite – of a giant with a tiny head and belly button, which she made a month ago, already shows these inclinations:
Here is Amie about how she is an artist: