Portrait of the Toddler as a Young Artist

She’s not so much a “toddler” as a “careener,” but that’s a blog post for another day.

“One feather…two feathers…but he can’t fly,” she says as she deftly moves the dry erase marker across her white board. Our artist today is creating a penguin, which should be readily evident to all who view it.

Examine, if you will, the small aperture at the top of the head – the penguin’s beak. Also of note in this image is the artist’s careful handling of the marker. She clutches it in the form of such famous artists as Monsieur Pou Pou and Dame Underfungly.

In the image on the right, the artist has given the penguin so much more: an aura to symbolize the life of the penguin. The penguin’s very being is celebrated in this caul-esque addition. View below, the bottom point of the penguin, and we see another dark feature, twin to the beak rendered above. This, the artist informs me, is the penguin’s “egg.” As if I needed telling. “But you can’t see it,” she says. “Why not?” I inquire. “He’s sitting on it.” The beak on top, the egg on the bottom – the artist has expertly captured the very symbolism inherent in parent-child relationships: I exist to feed you.

Penguin Parent

Finally, in the image at left, we have the final masterpiece. This penguin encapsulates the very concept of penguin. It now enjoys legs, and some additional eggs.

The artist, while often finding inspiration in nature, works primarily indoors on days when the weather is unpleasant. Perhaps she finds this creative outlet as an escape to cabin fever, desiring to infuse her immediate surroundings with natural phenomena that encapsulate freedom and fun.

Her primary joy is in creating one small image on a blank space, and then slowly elaborating upon the image throughout the course of a morning. She often enlists the help of friends and family for filling in the more mundane aspects of her masterpieces. In the dramatic rendering below, “Cabin Below Full Moon,” the artist has expertly incorporated the more rudimentary drawings of family members into her vibrant and large-scale depiction of the natural, amorphic symphony of the night sky.

Cabins Below Full Moon

How fortunate we are to be privy to the magic of an artist’s work in progress! Now, I would like to open up my “museum,” if you will, to the Public. Do you have a favorite artist in your life? Is he or she creating awesome works of art that should be viewed by one and all? If you have my email address, go ahead and send me a jpeg file of your artist’s work. If you don’t have my email address, contact me through the tab at the top of my website. In two weeks, I will showcase the work of all our favorite artists. (No copyrighted images, please.)

Also, this Friday tune in to an interview with the talented Yvonne Prinz, author of The Vinyl Princess and All You Get is Me.


  1. Megan (Running Foodie) · March 16, 2011

    This is adorable. And hilarious. 🙂

    • Beth Hull · March 16, 2011

      Thanks, Megan. I pretended I was writing an essay for a literary criticism class and made a bunch of stuff up, throwing in big words. It was just as much fun as my English classes were (and I’m a nerd, so this means it was a lot of fun).

  2. Neda · March 17, 2011

    Wow, am so impressed! Honestly, she is a budding artist. Loved this entry!

  3. Randi · March 17, 2011

    Surprised I am not…the artistic genes run in the family! (is that redundant?) Is it too telling that I can’t choose which artistic effort I like the best… the image or the commentary? Two of my favorite artistic people at work!

  4. Vicki · March 17, 2011

    A darling post 🙂 Will try to remember to send some artwork your way, though WHICH ones to choose…you know how that goes, they are ALL masterpieces! 🙂

  5. John Briner · March 21, 2011

    This post just made me smile. I like the way that you wrote it like a narrative. As for the artwork itself, it’s good to know that your young artist knows what she wants to do and that you’re supporting her all the way. Keep those posts coming

  6. John Briner- Arts · June 15, 2011

    C-U-T-E!! Who will say toddler’s drawings are not cute? Hmmm. I think kids sketches must be treasured to see his/her progress. Parents must pursue their child in whatever they do! Who knows your child will be the next Pablo Picasso or Leonardo da Vinci? =) Thanks for sharing!

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