Friday, April 04, 2008


Sophie, Noah and Fiona had their violin / viola lessons as usual this week at their grandma's studio. As we were leaving I noticed a sketch one of her students had done on the little table she sets aside for quiet sibling activity during lessons. It occurred to me that my kids almost never draw any more. They used to take part in some wonderful, now-defunct community art classes that encouraged them to "do art" of various types, but since those stopped, the older kids seem not to experience the urge to draw or paint. I know that they create art in other ways, but I looked at the little piece of art on the table and my mom's place and thought to myself "I wish my kids would do stuff like that." My kids tend to read, or play with Lego or blocks or do Sudoku during their siblings lessons. I started thinking about what I could do to encourage them to engage in traditional visual-artistic pursuits like drawing again.

A few minutes later we were at the café we visit after lessons. As usual Linda had our order on the go almost before we had opened the door. We like being welcomed as regulars. We sat down an complimented her on the improvement in the chocolate-syrup stripes she attempts to create down the inside of the sundae-style glasses she serves the kids' hot-chocolates in. And then we got chatting and Noah said something about his sketch.

"Your sketch?" I asked.

"I did a sketch at Grandma's," he said. "It was hard, because I was trying to match my shading strokes to Fiona's music, but she kept jumping around playing parts of different pieces, so I had to keep changing my rhythm."

Oh my gosh -- so it was my kid who had done that drawing I'd briefly and wistfully admired! So at the next available opportunity I tried to stake my claim on the sketch, which had been left behind on Grandma's table. Noah was clearly not attached to his product; for him the sketching was all about process -- a diversion to enjoyably fill a half-hour. As it turned out, both my mom and I wanted it. We're sharing it. Today it's with me.

I love the sketch itself, but I'm even more in love with the simple fact that Noah drew. Just for pleasure.

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