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.

My Tiny Secret

Some of you may know that I don’t like a lot of noise. Most of you probably know that I’m essentially a selfish person. One thing that I always knew about myself was that having children would be a real challenge based on those other two things about myself.

A few years ago, after climbing during a kid’s birthday party at Rocknasium (a climbing gym in Davis), I wrote in a card to Husband: “Children should not be seen or heard.” At that climbing birthday party they were all over the place, shrieking and laughing, having a blast, and nearly getting tangled in our climbing ropes and killing us all.

But it’s the noise that bothers me most, even more than near-death experiences from great heights.

At the baby shower some friends threw for Z, my friend B-Dawg gave me a pack of earplugs as a sort of joke.

There is nothing funny about these earplugs. I depend on them. From her very first day On the Outside, Z’s screams of rage, her cries of pain, and her shouts of joy have been too much for my eardrums to handle. Her mighty roars make my brain tremble inside my head. Whenever it’s too much (which is often), I use earplugs to dull the noise and am able to barely tighten my grip on sanity.

So here’s my secret: At all times I have a pair of earplugs tucked inside my bra.

Sexy? No. Practical? Oh, yes.