Mickey Mouse kicks in.
Between the age of four and seven or eight I drew away quite happily…nobody said much about them but I didn’t mind they were my stories Occasionally someone said how sweet but they were thinking that they were primitive and that one day I might learn to draw ‘properly’ but .I was using them to imagine and think.
Then came the fatal day when my uncle taught me how to draw Mickey Mouse (look I still know how!) and a man wearing a hat, you just make an oval and a sideways S and Bob’s your uncle. Everybody said how good it was. ‘She’s good at droring’ So this is what they wanted…I was beside myself with glee and rushed to copy other things. That was the end of my beautiful meaningful drawings and this happens to so many children and is the step to the misunderstanding of what drawing can be about. Once again I Googled ‘Drawing’ and up they came. the cutesy, the sentimental, the technical tour de force, a crying eye with a super realistic tear drop, clever optical illusion drawings, obvious copies from photographs etc.
I have stood in front of wonderful drawings and cried. A Rembrandt drawing of a grandmother teaching a baby to walk, a Van Gogh of an old man with his head in his hands, of the sad dignity of the prostitute woman he lived with in his early days. Why do they move me?…because of empathy, Rembrandt and Van Gogh understood and felt the human condition. That feeling flows from their soul into the line or the tone that they use. It doesn’t mean to say drawings have to be sad or ordinary I’ve seen drawings that explode on you with their vitality. It has to do with the sensitive connection between, head ,heart and hand.
I was SO delighted to get a picture drawn by Emily, aged four. My friend Karen sent it to me. I did make a request it the early part of my blog. Here it is. Everything is there that needs to be there…house…door , Mick, her Grandad and Karen. If you asked her she could tell you all about it. What is grandad doing? Why is she in black? She may not know. Is she carrying a teddy? The narrative is all there…all that you need. We could all do it…but we don’t. More on that later! PS re Emily. It is fairly rare for a child of four to draw a sideways profile view.