Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Not really one for art....

Last year at Family Partnership art was taught by a woman hired by the school. I thought she was a great teacher. She was a bit scattered, and often seemed overwhelmed, but the way she talked to and encouraged the kids to do what they wanted and as much or as little as they wanted was impressive. Fletcher participated some days and not others. We loved everything he made, but did not push him when he was not interested.
This year the art class is taught by a parent from Big Sur Charter School. She uses some type of dvd art curriculum. (I was very skeptical of the format, I don't like the idea of art being so, I don't know, hands off, generic, boring. These are all judgments made without any experience of the actual program mind you.)
Truly though, art is really very close to my heart. From the time Fletch could hold a paintbrush I painted with him. For us that usually met me setting everything up and him pouring the paint onto his paper or fabric, and then painting his body.
That worked for me. I love the process. I would just sit beside him and do my own painting. Pure bliss.
So, this year he's done the same: participate some days and not so much on others - and again he's brought home some amazing work that we treasure. Each week we'd talk about what they learned and he always said he enjoyed the the class. Here's the thing though, just about every Tuesday when Jim picked him up, that teacher would make a comment like, "You know Fletcher, he wasn't really interested." as she handed over whatever he had worked on.

HUH!? Who gives a shit? Why are you judging my kid's interest?

I don't know, just kinda rubs me the wrong way. I can understand, if he is disruptive to the class, lets deal with that. I don't think so though. I just think she had to pull it out of him. I think she saw a kid who was not all that interested in art. I don't know, maybe she thought it would bother us if he wasn't producing.
What bothered me was that bit of judgment.

Art, creativity,
1. the state or quality of being creative.
2. the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; orginality, progressiveness, or imagination.
1. the quaility , production, expressions, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, or what is beautiful,
appealing, or of more than ordinary significance...
9. skill in conducting any human activity.)

takes so many forms: music, drawing, painting, sculpting, writing, photography, s u re all that. More though, so much more: gardening, cooking, dancing, exercise, wood work, car work, tree climbing, playing house, storytelling, brewing beer, even house work can be creative.

I see so much creativity around. Kids by nature and choice are creating constantly.
Watch, you'll see it.

We still paint together at home, usually I set it all up for him and Maggy and let them go to town. They both start out with the intended project, then Fletcher usually ends his session by painting a warrior face. (Maggy is another story altogether).

So, by chance, a few nights ago I pulled out two old and mostly unused sketch books. We gave one to each of the kids. Fletch got Jim's from an art class he took at Cuest a:

He took the book into his sanctuary (bedroom) with colored pencils and worked quietly for some time before we realized what he was doing. Guess what? The boy just needed to find his own way, his own inspiration, his own desire to create art.

And it's so much better that way! When you really think about what he was doing, without anyone asking him to produce art: he was putting his own imagination, what he sees in his mind down on paper to share with the rest of us. It's utterly amazing! Jim and I were both stunned. Not because we thought he couldn't do it, and not because we thought he would not want to do it, but because it's just beautiful and exciting - this peek into Fletcher's world.

And still, creativity - it's constant, it's in us all. See it, feel it, embrace it for what it is - life lived in the moment.

some pictures of art work were deleted due to artist's request for privacy, despite the blog author's great distress.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A day with Maggy

Saturday night Fletcher stayed over at Bella's house with the three new kitties. Jim went out for a few beers with Matt and Maggy went to bed somewhat early. I spent the evening cleaning some, organizing some, and watching t.v. some.

We had a potluck on Sunday afternoon at the Kiler Canyon Farm and expected to pick up Fletch and maybe Bella on the way.
Sunday morning came, Maggy and I got up and ate and played and stayed out of the bedroom so Jim could sleep in.
Late morning came, Maggy and I played some more, Jim woke, I made more coffee for me and a cup for him.
Early afternoon came, I did some more organizing, some cleaning, Maggy played, Jim drank coffee and puttered a bit and called Seth to let him know when we would be heading that way to pick up Fletch.
A bit later as I was frantically baking cookies I was not sure would be any good (lots of substituting ingridients and hoping it would all turn out) Jim called Seth again and was informed Fletch could not be torn away from the kitties and they were willing to just keep him, forever.
So Fletcherless we were off, only an hour late and excited about the annual party.

It was our first date with Maggy. We were all missing Fletcher and knowing he would have enjoyed the potluck as he always does, but savoring just the same this rare and precious day with Mags.
It was exceptionally sweet spending time with our girl, giving her all our attention, and recieving all of hers in return.

The potluck was wonderful: great food (my kitchen sink cookies were a hit after all), beautiful surroundings, good friends, and lovely if a bit cool breezes.
I was kicking myself for leaving the camera at home. There were so many moments I was wishing to save and to share here:
Maggy taking turns on the slide with Matilda, Sage and Molly. Laughing hysterically as she zoomed down over and over again, landing hard on her butt and jumping up to run back around yelling, "MY TURN, MY TURN, MY TURN!!!!".
Maggy walking up the hill to the chicken coop. The sun shining in her hair, her arms swinging, singing a quiet song to herself.
Maggy, Molly and Sage jumping on a huge pile of strawbales, laughing, screaming, and singing, "Whose gonna pop, pop, pop, POP MY POPCORN!!!!"
Maggy finding her way to the chickens, standing quietly in awe, watching them peck at the ground as Molly collected the eggs.
Maggy and Matilda checking out the peacocks and imitating their calls.
Maggy wearing Rita's pink butterfly wings, climbing into Cyrus's walker and scooting herself right out the door and almost off the porch, stopping only long enough to ask me for help. Scooting herself down the walkway and across the grass, talking to herself all the way.
Maggy in Seth and Amber's closet, checking on the new kittens.
Maggy pushing each kitten into their Mommy's belly, "I want them have Milkies!!!!"

It was a great day, the first in a long time when I got to really see Maggy. No work, no fights with brother, no dishes, no laundry, just being with her, drinking in the person she is. I felt so lucky, so happy, so in love with my little girl.