Ever a story... waiting to be told

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Daydreamers

I'm just getting started on the 14x19 colored pencil version of a graphite drawing "Detention" that I did last year. The boy in the drawing was one of my third graders... a creative little fellow, who didn't particularly relish sitting at a desk... UNLESS the task at hand was completely of his own choosing. If I told him to write a response to a question, or practice his spelling words, or write about his summer vacation... he would balk and find a million ways to avoid the task. But if he were allowed to  do whatever moved him at the moment, he would produce long, exciting stories, and wonderfully expressive, accurate drawings.  I had several students just like that, over the years. I understood them better than most teachers did, I think. And I appreciated their uniqueness (most of the time).  When I really think back and look deeply into my own personality... I identified with those kids! 
Much as I love to draw portraits for people, it sometimes begins to feel so constrictive, and I find that mood carrying over into my whole outlook as I go about my day. I feel very unsettled and catch myself frowning a lot in discontent. Those are the times when I just have to sit down at my desk for a few hours and draw from my own inspirations, expressing them in my own way, without interruption. It's like a magic potion, then, and everything comes back into balance for me, like taking a deep breath finally. In this colored version of "Detention" I want to pay tribute to those wonderful imaginings that children daydream about when they're supposed to be doing other tasks that the adults consider to be more important.  I'm hoping that I'll be able to really darken the bookshelf area, with a spotlight effect on the boy and his paper, and then create a glowing, ethereal forest beyond.  Of course, what I'm envisioning doesn't always come out that way on the paper... but I'm going to try! 
This is the graphite version, which I sold last month at the outdoor art show. Ironically, a boy and his parents stopped by the gallery recently to look for that very same drawing. The boy had seen it a few months earlier and couldn't seem to tear himself away from it. When he came back the second time, he had come to buy it, but saw that it had been sold. I felt so bad! I don't even have a high resolution image of that drawing, so I can't make a print for him. But if the color version turns out well, I will most definitely have a small print made right away, and I'll just give it to him, if he stops by again! I have a feeling he identifies with it too! 
There's a really beautiful song, sung by Sarah Brightman that speaks to the daydreamer in all of us. It's called Dreamers, if you feel like listening. (You'll like it)

21 comments:

  1. Katherine, Wonderful post. Your thoughts and words put me back in balance, too. You have such a fluid imagination. Inspiring.

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  2. You are so right about getting back into balance with a little of your own drawing!...I feel the same way when I paint, it's like a tonic or a meditation for me. You sound like the kind of teacher every parent wants for their child. How wonderful that you recognized the child's obstinance as his own independant creativity at work... something worthy of nurturing. With commission work it's hard for creativity to thrive with fear in your pocket...I think that spoils the normal flow. This coloured pencil drawing is looking amazing so far.

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  3. The graphite version is a stunner , and the colored version already shows it greatness , really looking forward to seeing the final version ! If there were more teachers like you , the world would be a better place, Im sure .

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  4. This has always been my favorite drawing of them all. Maybe because I too identify with it. I never had a detention but my mind works this same way; it can carry me away to new places. This is going to be just as spectacular in color as it was in graphite. I already love the character of those old books and find myself wondering at the stories within. Life without books would be a shame. This is stunning already, Katherine!

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  5. Wow your artistry is truly spectacular. On several levels. So glad to make your acquaintance my new blogging friend!

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  6. A charming scene Katherine. I think it's a beautiful project . I love this serious little boy who seems ready to take on the challenge of all these books. Quite a story unfolds in front of him, a whole life really! Good luck with your painting! :)

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  7. Katherine - your graphite piece was stunning - I am sure your colored pencil version will be as well. I can see why you would identify with those kids who were bored with the typical work that needed done in a classroom setting. Your art often times leans toward the dreamy side - which is why I love it so. Have a wonderful creative day.

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  8. Katherine! You are so very talented! I love this one on so many levels! I so love the look on the little boy's face! Your students were so very lucky to have you for a teacher! Good for you! (I also was a teacher! Thirty-five years! Twenty years teaching third graders and fifteen years at the middles school level!) Keep on keeping on!

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  9. The graphite version is stunning, I could see why the little one wanted it, hope he will get to own the color version. The daydreaming in color is already so beautiful Katherine, your surrealistic paintings take the viewer to a different level, one of excitement, enjoyment and awe!

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  10. Your students are very lucky that you can identify their different personalities and work with them rather than expecting everyone to learn the same way. I read a wonderful book called "Upside-Down Brilliance, The Visual-Spatial Learner" which I think should be required reading for every teacher. It talks about the different ways visual-spatial learners and auditory-sequential learners go about problem solving.
    The cover of the book is half yellow and half purple which is what caught my eye initially and when I read the back cover, I knew I had to get it. There were so many things in the book that I identified with and it made me realize how odd most of my teachers must have thought I was. Anyway, I think it might be out of print at the moment unfortunately but if you can find it at a library, it's a wonderful book.

    I love this drawing. I loved the graphite one and can't wait to see this one finished. This scene has such a feeling of a creative child's world. As always, your work is beautiful.

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  11. I can see why your graphite piece was so in demand, it's a beautiful way to make a portrait. I was always a daydreamer at school too! Looking forward to seeing the colour version unfold.

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  12. The graphite is wonderful but I love the depth in this colored pencil version. This will be another real gem!

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  13. I loved reading the story behind this work Katherine and love both the graphite version and what is emerging of the colour version. I hope the boy does visit again - what a very special surprise he will get!!

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  14. Hey K!

    The fabulousness of the piece is a given. I love the "backstory" of how it touched the young boy at the outdoor art show! To be able to touch someone like that with your passion has to be so euphoric and empowering. (Yet, you are so darn humble.) It is a little sad that the drawing was sold when the boy came back, but I have a feeling you will make it "right" with the universe for him.

    On the other hand, someone else who connected with the graphite version is enjoying it.

    I'm sure there are numerous unconventional students in your past who will never forget how you understood and accommodated them. Especially when they become successful at being "who they are," because you did not try to stuff them into the round hole of sameness. (Be prepared for future Hallmark moments when they reconnect with you later in life.)

    So many things right on so many levels. You really rock! Even if you would never think of yourself that way.

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  15. It is very interesting to see the graphite drawing and then to read about your young student, it really sets the scene for the colored pencil work that is slowly unfolding before our eyes! I am looking forward to seeing the next stage in your painting Katherine.

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  16. It is wonderful that people connect with your art! I like the 'jungle' in the boy's room, a high five really to the power of imagination! Will watch for the finished color pencil piece! Hope the boy will come back for the new piece :)

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  17. I love the way the colored version is taking shape already, a beautiful back story too Katherine!

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  18. Dear Katherine, your sensitive and honest work always touches viewers' hearts. Interestinly, in my eye, the boy's face expression is different. A coloured one, the boy looked older and more like dreaming than the b&w. Keep up wonderful work.
    Best wishes, Sadami

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  19. I always enjoy your posts, Katherine!!! I love the graphite version, however, the colored version is coming along SO beautifully and I look forward to your next post. .

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  20. Excellent work as always Katherine...right away as I looked at it I was reminded of Norman Rockwell's "Principal's Office". I have always loved that painting. Your description of this student so remind me of my oldest son.

    Congratulations on the incredible finished house portrait in the last post. They must have been so pleased.

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