There is a famous painting by Georges Seurat that hangs in Chicago called Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. Many individuals and pets are lounging on the green grass of soft hills bordering a serene lake. Everyone seems contented and at ease, enjoying the outdoors and companionship. Everything is perfect. It could not be otherwise in a painting made up entirely of small dot-like brush strokes. When viewed from the proper distance the eye mixes the dots into areas of color, then into areas of form.
My Sunday afternoon today was made up of areas of color that transformed into shapes born of free flowing youthful minds, small hands, and smiles. I painted with my grandchildren.
Maddox is the older one with a great heart for things done properly. He is a thoughtful lad of five on the cusp of kindergarten. Reaching out with curiosity and exuberance he studies his paper, his paints, and his creativity before putting brush to paper. He is as careful as a five year old can be. He has confidence in his thought process but like the rest of us when doing creative work he noticed that the painting didn't turn out quite like he thought it would. I told him, "I know exactly how you feel". I don't remember having such insight when I was 20 let alone five. I think he will be a fine artist one day. He was a fine artist today.
The little blonde on the opposite side of the easel is a whole different set of standards. She is oblivious to rules, blind to advice, and beyond direction. Her painting was free-form and unbridled. She mixed colors, swirled the brush, and applied drips in thoughtful locations adding just the right touch of the Jackson Pollock influence. With Zoe behind the brush painting has no content and no critics--it is painting at is purest. She allowed the paint to flow from the brush to the paper of its own accord--she was only along for the ride. She and the paint and the paper had a great ride through reds and blues that turned into purple butterflies, to yellows and blues that turned into magical rivers of green. When she found how to make dots she turned into Suerat. And through it all she just smiled. I wish I could paint through Zoe's freedom.