Gabi’s Art

untitledGabi is in Grade 5 in an Arts Program and is loving it! There are 4 general categories: Visual Arts, Drama, Music and Dance. She is comfortable in the last three but has mixed feelings about the first. Here’s some background.

Her 3 brothers, her father and I believe we can’t draw. This is emphasized by the fact that my sister, her husband and their two girls are amazing visual artists. Their oldest daughter and our youngest son went to preschool together and the difference even then was astounding. So much so that she became extremely upset one day because she believed that her cousin was going to “fail” preschool because he couldn’t draw. My 3 sons took their lead from my husband and I and good-naturedly accepted that we had other strengths. In fact, they liked having their cousins to lean on when they need help with projects!

Gabi, on the other hand, hard on herself at the best of times, does not enjoy that her strength doesn’t lie in her “drawing” skills. It has caused her much distress and heartache. It took us a while to realize that the problem was, that, unlike our other children, she loves to draw. So we bought her instruction books, encouraged her and praised her and stood helplessly by for the most part while she continued to berate herself.

This past week changed our perspective. We had conformed to the “normal” expectation of art and felt that a true artist could replicate objects, in particular the human form. I’ve lost count of the times that I have said, “I can’t draw a stick figure.” Anyway, Gabi and I paid our local arts store a visit and she chose a pack of two canvases and some acrylic paints. Feeling like a real artist she sat down to paint and I left her to it.

“I’ve finished it, Mom,” she said. I was truly surprised at what I saw. It was absolutely beautiful and made me understand that art is not only about form but about colour, feeling and passion.

Everyone who wants to be can be an artist. It took my ten year old daughter to show me that.