Shortly after Sophie started seeing Dr. Kelly she quit painting. Well, that’s not true. She kept painting, but her style took a drastic change. Instead of her intense “color studies” (who can forget Angry or Red?) she started trying to paint like she thought she was supposed to. She tried drawing pictures like she saw other kids but she never could quite get that “Noggin-Artist-of-the-day” kind of feel to it and she became increasingly dissatisfied. Then, when we became disillusioned with Dr.Kelly, she started to re-embrace her former style and while she continued to attempt animals (Suzanne’s Blue Fish and then later Raven and Toucan were during this time) they had more of her old style.
Today I set up her easel (I’ve long since reconciled myself to the fact that it was never myeasel!) and dug out a pack of art-boards. She has been studying artists, most recently Van Gogh as well as Monet. Sophie’s style is nothing like either, but she had been enjoying the idea that they could paint something as they saw it as opposed to how it really looked.
So I got out the real paints (not the kiddie watercolors that she’s been using) and got her all set up. Her first attempt was her own version of Van Gogh’s Starry Night. She started out very tense. She tried to replicate the picture exactly and became frustrated when her paint dripped or a line didn’t curve just so. So I stopped her and told her not to copy the painting, but to paint it her way.
And then mayhem ensued!
It is not her best painting by a long shot. There were parts of it that were really really good until she got so thrilled with the act of freely painting that she dropped a big orange house right in the bottom right corner.
But, never missing a beat, I lined her up with another art-board and she started again. This time she said she was going to do Monet’s Water Lilies. And she did indeed start out with a lovely blue flower, but rapidly morphed into something else with a strong dose of orange! When I asked her what she was painting she informed me that it was a portrait (one of her vocab words this week) of a Mexican man and by cracky it really did look like a profile of a man, but then, not so pleased with that result she obliterated that to paint something else. I’m not sure what she’s calling that one. She’s quite fond of it and I’ll have to wait to see if she’s finished with it of if it’s destined for more work. In the interim she started another one that she’s calling X. It is pale yellows and blues and she’s not talking about it much.
But then just as quickly as the need to paint hit, it’s passed and she’s sitting here calming eating grapes and asking me about what I’m doing. It’s very odd. She did, however, make me promise to leave the easel up… just in case.