I am done for the time being on my Jonah series. I've enjoyed spending time with his drawings, and turning his thoughts into my own. The early drawings featured lots of circles, while lately it is all about lines. I continue to be amazed at the way he fills the page when he draws or paints. There is much to be learned about composition.
Great question! I've started a painting for some friends in Columbus, a landscape of the botanical gardens. I started it last summer, dabbling in acrylics (a medium I rarely use - I'm not fond of the texture or the way that the colors mix). I pulled the painting back out a few weeks ago and worked on it some more, even letting Jonah paint some, before deciding that it couldn't be saved. Instead, I began painting from my painting (rather than the photograph that I had been using - also something I don't particularly like to do) and realized that it was a love note to Columbus. Having been absent over a year now, I feel at home in Lafayette, but Columbus was the first place I lived with my husband. It is where my son was born. It is where I researched and went to school. It has my favorite restaurants and parks. So although it is a painting of Franklin Park Conservatory, I am going to map onto it the places I love.
"Mommy's painting." Since I saw Mica Angela Hendrick's work with her 4-year-old I've wanted to do something collaborative with my son. He started doing this really awesome drawings about 18 months and I've been collecting them since. The drawings have changed as he's developed finer motor skills - moving from circles to lines and using more colors. He has also started connecting his drawings to objects and stories. This particular drawing (see background) was the result of reading Noah's Ark, and talking about rainbows. So I got out the markers and some paper. "Mommy, draw a rainbow." I started drawing a typical rainbow, added an ark, and called it a day. But Jonah, he used each color across the page. I kept the drawing and started this painting. The thing I love about this drawing is the way the dots break up all the lines, and the gray mass overlaying the rainbow. In each of these paintings, I want to make the drawings come alive - pulsating with the contrast between the grays I use in the background and the bright colors typical of crayons and markers, the texture of the paint (the thicker the better), and the use of lines. I can image a whole series of paintings that create an alternative world. A world where the energy with which my child has from the moment he wakes up to the his last protest during bedtime emanates from the brushwork, the colors, and the tangibility of the surface.
Ruth M. Smith
Community arts educator and researcher. Drinking coffee. Home educating. Making art. Listening intentionally.