First Childhood, 12x12" oil on panel
Will be featured at Fountainhead Gallery Solo Show this August
Kid Draws on Wall Decides Anything is Possible
Most kids get in big trouble when they draw on the walls. Mom sees her living room wall covered with kid scribbles and scrabbles and wants to grab the culprit by the scruff of the neck and throw them in their room for a decade. What a mess that kid made. How can she not know better?
But what about the parent who tells the kid to go ahead and draw on the wall? I was about ten or so and remember looking at houses and wondering why on earth they didn’t paint their exteriors in a more interesting way? Look at that huge blank canvas. If that was my house, I’d paint flowers all over it or a jungle or an ocean with a bobbing boat. I was quite impressed when I did see a house once with a diagonal line from top to bottom corners and the top half was white and the bottom half was black. Now this is really cool, I thought, to my fifth grade self.
My dad, after I bugged him for some time, finally said that I could paint on one wall of the garage. Anything I want, I asked? Sure, anything you want. Fill it up. My imagination went wild. I could picture that wall with a huge Peter Max-like designs or maybe the word Flower-Power in cool, psychedelic lettering (it was the 70's, mind you). My mind had big ideas but my reality couldn’t make it happen. I didn’t know anything about drawing out an idea on paper, how to transfer out a small paper design to a big wall or even how to actually paint the thing. Painting with four colors at the school’s easel was all the experience I had BUT even though my scribbles on that garage wall never looked like much, the fact that my dad said I could go for it was huge. It said to me, you can do anything.
Looking back on my growing up years, there were lots of times my folks gave me carte blanch to make my own decisions and live with them. They weren't the kind of parents who took away the paring knife in frustration from little hands and said Let me show you how that’s done and then proceeded to do it all. All that says is that the parent is the big knowledgeable one and the kid can’t figure it out themselves. I think that’s key; letting kids figure out things for themselves. Give them leeway- give them a whole wall and they’ll feel they can do it all.
If you like looking at paintings, visit www.joanneshellan.com . Or come visit them in person at my next big show at Fountainhead Gallery in Seattle which opens August 10th.