I am continuing to explore Mom’s art and my connection to it. I love the insight that is coming from analyzing her art and what she means to me through it. With each piece I write I love my mom more. I love KMWP, and how it gives me time to look at the deeper meaning of things in my life. Part of the power in the NWP Summer Institutes is how teachers are invigorated by writing, sharing, and inquiring as related to teaching; however, I think there is also power in how these practices help us as writers to explore our lives in a new way. Here is a link to find a site near you: http://www.nwp.org/cs/public/print/doc/findasite/home.csp.
Mom paints from photographs but not just any photographs. With each artwork she must have the perfect photo, so that she is able to capture an image in its best light; this is especially true when she paints her grandchildren.
Michael, a pensive toddler, inspects the water running across the sand. Suddenly he stops amazed as he watches his feet sink in the moist sand, disappearing underneath the water. The power of nature to transfix a toddler; he is at one with the water and sand. Michael continues to be transformed by the power of nature even today. When Michael is out of esteem because he is mad at his sister, a video game or some other external factor, nature transforms him to his best self. A born naturalist, the outdoors provides an instant elixir.
Sarah, a budding scientist with the cartoon character science teacher Mrs. Frizzle as her hero, recently proclaimed her intentions to be a scientist when she grows up. Maybe Mom saw the scientist in Sarah when she painted this portrait of Sarah, or maybe Mom just saw the beauty in stopping to appreciate the simplistic yet intricate dimensions of nature. Like her brother, this toddler stops to appreciate the natural world. I remember this moment; Sarah was frolicking down the trail, she picked up the flowering weed, jumped up on a rock and stared at the flower. For a moment, the scientist emerges as Sarah studies the design and form of the small flower, transfixed by a moment. When Sarah is angry at her brother or upset about something, she becomes her best self when she finds a sensory distraction—a song to hear, a picture to draw, or in this case a flower to examine. Sarah experiences the world with passion often moving quickly from one activity to another; however, Sarah becomes herself when she is able to use her senses to experience the world around her. Whether she is holding a flower or hugging someone she loves, Sarah is at her best self when her senses are engaged. To be held by her small arms is to know love. Mom captures Sarah’s ability to hold and love all that she holds dear.
I, a seasoned cynic, tend to focus on images in their darker light capturing the mistakes I have made, what I have left undone, and what others have done that grates my nerves. Perhaps I could transform myself approaching life as an artist painting her world. My world would be a blank canvas that I fill with images captured in their best light finding potentiality in each person and situation as I paint my way out of the cynic’s corner. Perhaps then, the debilitating obstacles that cloud my way would be outshined by my canvas of light.