November 4, 2012

Children's art, it's a beautiful thing

You know.....
my boys amaze me with their art projects they bring home from school.
I know I'm their mother...but come on....look at that! 
Look at the depth perception! 
The tree is drawn from the view point of someone looking up. 
The tree is not drawn straight as an arrow... it has life!
It is looming into the night sky.
Look at the gradation of color on the tree trunk.
How it goes from very dark, 
to very light... 
as the tree climbs higher into the moon lit night.
Notice the sparse leaves. 
Notice the gradation of blues... 
as they stream down from the bright, bright light of the moon.
First stark white... 
then pulling off into multiple shades of blue...
getting darker and darker as they reach the earth. 
Look at the tree limbs closing in above...
encircling the viewer.
That is brilliant!
Ok, seriously.
That is just a beautiful work of art.
I asked my son...
Did your art teacher give instruction on color gradation?
When they first enter the class...
they gather 'round her at a table.
She will draw and give a lesson 
on a technique she wants them to learn.
Then the kids will go to their tables 
and begin their own creations.
I asked him if the teacher helped him with his drawing and gradation.
So, you did this whole piece on your own?
I am impressed.
I am very, very impressed.
I am in love with this!
What is it about child art that is so captivating??? 
I honestly...
enjoy it MORE than any famous artist.
And that goes for any child... 
Not just my own.
There is just something so raw and organic about it.
When a child is asked to draw or paint...
they just do it.
They don't painstakingly try to get it right.
They don't worry about proportion.
They do not fear judgement.
Look at the face of a child when they are drawing or painting.
Do you see stress? 
Their little faces are as calm and peaceful as can be.
That's a beautiful thing.
Should not we, as adults...
draw and paint with abandon?
Should not we, as adults...
just create... 
and not critique ourselves endlessly?
I think I we should try it.
It could be freeing.
It could be fulfilling.
Deep breath.
Let's create something and not worry about it.
You don't have to show anyone.
You don't even have to keep it.
Just give yourself permission to try.
Give yourself the freedom to mess up proportions.
It's okay.

November 2, 2012

The Popcorn Ball Incident

Autumn is slowly moving into winter. It's rainy and cold, and I've been in the mood to make some sweet treats for my boys.  A couple of days ago, in honor of Halloween, I made popcorn balls {recipe link for popcorn balls below}and candy apples. Both recipes turned out fantastic!

While making the popcorn  balls, I was fondly reminded of a Trick or Treat night long ago.  It was  Halloween night, many, many years ago.  I was trick or treating with my little sister and my friends. We were all about or 8 years old, give or take. We were escorted by two of my friends' older brother and sister. At one of the houses, they were handing out homemade popcorn balls! We all screeched in delight! This was a real treat! In my opinion, getting a popcorn ball for Trick or Treat was the best thing you could get!!

Huddled 'round the front door, reaching up as high as our little arms would stretch,  we held open our  pillowcase candy sack. The popcorn balls were dropped into the sacks one by one. I remember small talk and laughter between the home owner and our teen escorts. Everyone was happy. Everyone but one. One little girl who did not get her popcorn ball.

That little girl was me.

I knew I was accidentally overlooked, but I was too shy to say anything! I wanted desperately to say something but I just couldn't!

I was devastated!

Oh, I fancied Cracker Jacks, Reese's Cups and Clark bars...but a popcorn ball!! It was the CROWN JEWEL of Trick or Treat!!

As I stood there with a lump forming in my throat, I prayed silently that they would SOMEHOW notice my misfortune. Good-byes and good-nights were warmly exchanged, and we wandered back into the night. As we walked away, toward home....down the dark street lit by the white glow of street lights....I hung my head low.

Finally I spoke up.  "I didn't get one." My friend's big brother Steve said, "What?! You didn't get one?!" He reached inside his bag and pulled out his popcorn ball. "Here, you can have mine." Shocked and absolutely delighted, I was dumbfounded that anyone would actually GIVE UP a  popcorn ball...willingly!!

I was thrilled! I took his popcorn ball for my own and dropped it down into my pillowcase...all nestled between the Sugar Babies, Mallow Cups and Hershey Bars.

Wow, what an incredible, kind gesture from a teenage boy! How selfless! His parents raised him well. I can only hope that either one of my son's would do the same for a small child in a similar situation.

Recently, I have been reunited with my childhood friend. Her older brother is the one who gave me the popcorn ball. I mentioned the cherished memory to her, and she asked him if he remembered. No....he doesn't remember...but that's ok.
I remember!!
And to this day, I love popcorn balls!
It's one of my favorite Halloween treats!

The end!
*recipe for popcorn balls found here: