Monday, August 15, 2022

One picture worth 300 words

This photo taken in 2011 popped onto my iPhone recently, as one of those uninvited events from OneDrive called "Your memories from this day." I admit to generally being lured in to look at the images briefly and occasionally becoming nostalgic at the memories they elicit. However this picture of one of my sons with his then five-year-old daughter at the Pacific ocean immediately spoke to me with a truth beyond the picture itself.

I was struck at what an apt metaphor for good parenting the imagery is. Here is a parent standing guard, while his child explores something new and wonderful on her own. On closer look, we see the child enchanted at a clear jelly fish she has found in the tidal pool. The parent is neither interfering nor narrating the adventure, but rather is allowing his child to discover the mysterious creature she is holding. The parent is watchful, but not engaged in a separate activity, such as texting or chatting with anyone. He casts a shadow across the tidal pool, but the child is not in it. She is in the dazzling light. The parent could easily perceive the child to be in a spotlight as sparkles of reflection dance around her back.

The boomerang in the parent's hand struck me as a metaphor, as well. Something we all want when we send our children into the world is for them to return to us in love the way a boomerang does (and not lose their way because of an unforeseen influence or a poorly prepped throw). The parent in silhouette--backlit--also seems symbolic. The child is in the radiant light, enveloped and partaking in nature's gifts, while the parent appears to be allowing the moment to belong entirely to the child. 

I'm a typical smart-phone photographer, but sometimes I can be surprised with what I've captured digitally. This photo impressed me with its wise and beautiful message for all of us who are parents. Thanks, OneDrive, for this unexpected surprise.

Monday, August 1, 2022

Art making without a downside

May 22, 2022
In every retirement community there can be a plethora of activities. Indeed, just reading the monthly schedule here at my new place can be overwhelming. Because I'm still needing to spend time reorganizing the drawers and cupboards in my apartment to make logical sense (hastily put away belongings can allude discovery), I've not tried many activities other than exercise. Today, however, I attended an art session that's held every Monday afternoon. 

At my house for the last five or more years I've been reluctant to knowingly make a mess because, yup, I have to clean it up. But an art class here? There's no clean up required! 

August 2022 week 1

When I stayed at this community for two nights back in May (the sales' department's recommendation to avoid  making a hasty decision about such a huge life-change), I attended the art session taught by an amazing and gifted artist, Everett, a young man I know only by his first name. He offers meaningful instruction and gentle guidance to everyone who joins his weekly sessions, finding a way to genuinely and sincerely praise everyone's best effort. Today we drew hands after warm up exercises of figure poses by Everett himself. For the main subject, we could either choose to copy pictures he provided or draw our own hands. I chose the latter.

August 2022 week 2
After today's session of an hour-plus, Everett asked me if I wanted to see and/or keep the drawing of calla lilies I'd made back in May that he'd kept it all these weeks. By coincidence, it, too, was a charcoal piece; Everett offers a cycle of various media through the weeks. Although I had no desire to keep the drawing after tossing dozens, maybe hundreds, of old works of mine in the downsizing process, I took photos of the lilies, as well as today's drawing. Thus the pictorial subject of this post. How freeing it was to make a charcoal mess (crumbles of charcoal, and a smudgy table), yet need only to wash my own hands and depart from the studio. What a life!