The other evening, I was reading a children’s book to M entitled “Migrant” by Maxine Trottier and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault. My son was quite absorbed in both the writing and the illustration of this book. The use of metaphor, in this case personification, had him asking such questions as “why does she have to be a tree?”
A good book will inspire a sense of wonder in a child’s mind which is often reflected in the questions posed and the child’s imaginative play. The thing about poetry and metaphor is that it helps us to recognize the subtleties in everyday conversation and in life. It helps us to read between the lines, and these conclusions and insights connect our inner life to our outer life and vice versa.
While M may not fully comprehend the complexities of metaphor, the exposure to it is planting seeds and in the meantime, speaking to his soul .
“What would it be like to be a tree with roots sunk deeply into the earth-to watch the seasons passing around you the same way the wind passes through your branches?
When fall came and your leaves fell, they would blow away, but you would remain. You’d watch the black and orange butterflies set out on wobbly flight, feel the days grow shorter, look up in the sky and see a line of geese winging south again.
And then you would sleep, wrapped in snow, until the sky-high honking of geese woke you in the spring. Now that would be something.” (Migrant, 2011)
I would love to hear what children’s books have spoken to you?
A few months ago, I decided that I would start sharing more of my art work. Sketches, works in progress, good, bad, I am sharing it all. I am at a place in my life where I have many obligations. In order to fit art into my life-which more often than not it is in the form of sketching-it must be accessible. This is why I have decided to invest in a new sketch book, scraps of paper will no longer do! My sketching seems to serve different functions, much the same way writing does. Sometimes it acts as a quick note to someone, or expresses an emotion that am feeling. For example, the sketch below, was done on an envelope. I sent it in the form of a text, to a friend who has a fairly new baby (two months to be exact). I did this in order to show my
solidarity support, i.e. it looked like she was in for a long night.
When I really think about it though, there are always obligations, the scenery and people may have changed, but I still have to practice time management no matter what stage I am in my life. I think what is really happening though, is that I am both reclaiming my art practice as a mother, and becoming aware of the new way in which I practice art. Seeing it reflected back to me in the growing number of sketches, somehow solidifies that this is not merely an “in between” but rather a new way of practicing art.
Prior to motherhood, I always viewed my sketching/sketch book as a draft or an annex. Now though, I consider my sketches (within the scope of my practice) as complete. Some of these pieces may evolve, but most will stay as is. And even though I am not exactly sure where all these sketches are going, I am at least moving forward, one sketch at a time.
For those of you who are not on Instagram, here is one of the pieces that I had been working on. It is unfinished, in process, if you will. Before relocating for work, yet again, I found myself drawn to the quietude of sketching and painting. As the move drew closer, I put my paints away. Now, almost two months later, I finally feel like making art again.
The focus for the past two months has really been about finding our new daily rhythm for this family of two. At last, the unfamiliar is beginning to feel familiar. We have a grocery store that we can walk or jog to with a good natural selection. I have found some excellent health food stores, and Farmers Markets are in abundance here with plenty of fresh produce. We have a couple of parks that we often go to in the evenings, and a mother and toddler group that meets Tuesday mornings. Now that I feel more settled and can see that M is feeling more settled, I think I may be ready to start painting again!
Life is, as you know, a constant dance of doing and being. Adding things that work, and subtracting things things that no longer work. Since my return to work, many creative endeavors have taken a “back seat,” so to speak. In their place, I spend more time with friends, and do more activities outside the house with M.
Creatively speaking, I really only have time for a bit of writing (which translates to many unfinished blog posts) and doing my water colours. I am in the process of figuring out what my current art goals are.
As for this blog, I am still in a state of flux regarding what function it presently serves in my life and how I wish to proceed. I started writing the baby and the artist as way to share ideas and moments from motherhood with friends and family. I have for the most part, allowed the content of this space to meander and unfold much the way aspects of my own life do. Now though, I want to be more deliberate with my writing and my art. I have never viewed blogging as merely an end onto its-self.
I value both the state of being just as much the process of doing because I know that a pause, even a very long one ,means important work is happening under the surface. With that said, I am left pondering where my blog will eventually fit in as my focus continues to shift and my life evolve.