"Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can." - Danny Kaye
Saturday, June 20, 2009
On Target: Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes & Father's Day Thoughts: On Being a Father
At the Supertarget at the counter in the eating area, my target was a blonde girl with an unusual outfit: she wore a white medical jacket, a black baseball cap, long black pants and black sneakers. She also had a small black purse - I guess you could say that the purse matched the outfit. She didn't see me drawing her, and I had plenty of time. She left when I was leaving.
This sketch in public is a step forward for me in a few ways: First, I think it is the first time in a restaurant environment that I managed to draw an entire person. Woohoo! Second, I applied all of the watercolors, there, on site. For me this is very new. I have only just begun using colors in my sketches.
This drawing meets Everyday Matters challenge no. 36 - Draw out in Public. While I have drawn in public many times before, drawing in ink and then applying watercolor on site, and actually completing the person, makes me grab this challenge like a prize!
It's just a few hours till Father's Day, so please excuse me while I depart from the usual subject of art, and indulge in some fatherly rambling and occasional bragging about my sons (as this doddering old fool will sometimes do). Before I begin I will mention that because it is Father's Day, the boys' mother is not mentioned. This is, of course, a crime, because their mother, my wife, is wholly dedicated to her boys in every way possible. She worries more than I do, feels more than I do, works more than I do, and loves the boys with every ounce of her soul. But, sorry mom, it is Father's Day. Crime committed.
My oldest son, Ian, age 19, has never been so far away from us before. He is in college majoring in chemical engineering, and for a semester he is studying abroad in France and exploring Europe. What a young man he has become! Besides doing very well in school (his job, I know, but he does his job well), he has come to be a responsible, self-reliant, honest, moral, and self-reflecting individual. I could not be more proud than to have Ian as my son. I miss him, and look forward to stealing what time I can with him during the week between semesters. (Yes, and though written in the third person, this message is for you, Ian. I love you.)
My youngest, Matthew, is 13-years-old, and of course he is still at home. What is unusual is that he will probably always live at home. He will not read this post. Matthew is autistic.
Matt has taught me more about what it means to be a father than I ever knew that there was to learn. He is a constant challenge. Still, he is always moving forward, though slowly. Since for many parents of autistic children, there is no progress at all, this is a blessing. It gives me some hope. He tests the limits of my abilities and dedication, but he has taught me to be more even-tempered, more patient, and more empathetic. In sum, I am a better person because of Matthew. Most of my worries are for Matt - who he will become, what he can accomplish, what life he can live - but with all of the complexities that is Matthew in sum, life is richer for having him as my son.
Being a father is not unique. Everyone on earth has had a father, of course. But for me, fatherhood is rare. And it is precious.
Swerving along the artistic road with every sight a potential target. * * * If you'd like to contact me about any of the art that you see - about purchases, commissions or just to say hello - feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love to hear from you!