Doodling

Trixie Art

Trixie Art

It’s hard to start writing again. After almost nine months off, it’s taking a while for the story juices to start flowing. So the best thing to do is doodle. Just write something until you get where you want to be. Clean it up later, or throw it out. The important thing is just get something down.

Trixie is pretty good at getting something down. Better than I am and most adults I know. This is not a Trixie thing, but something I’ve noticed with all toddlers. In general, they rock at arts and crafts.

I love stuff like that. It’s pretty awesome to watch kids get so absorbed without worrying about the consequences of what they are making. It gets a lot harder once you start learning the rules of art and social pressure starts creeping in. Or even worse if you study art and end up paralyzed because you realize everything has already been done before. Thankfully, 2-year-olds are protected from that kind of knowledge.

Trixie is a machine when it comes to doodle time. I have sometimes just taped down a bunch of sheets of paper to the table and she’ll draw on one, advance, draw some more, advance and so on. Who knows what criteria determine the completion of a sheet? Sometimes she claims she’s drawing something specific, but more often it’s just an exercise to consume resources. The pressing issue for her is not “how does this fit into the social construct of post-modernism”, but rather, “how much glitter glue can be squeezed onto this paper when Daddy is not looking?”

I’m definitely proud of her, and I’ve included two pieces I really like. I forgot to date them, but they were done in the last 2-3 months. (that’s how long I’ve been procrastinating this story). They aren’t necessarily typical pieces. For the handful I’ve kept, literally hundreds (and probably thousands) have been thrown away.

If she saw me dumping them in the trash, I suspect she’d get upset. Otherwise, she doesn’t care a bit what happens after she’s done. We might hang one or two for a while, but it’s not the result that matters. It’s all the process — just being able to zone out and grind a crayon into oblivion for an afternoon.

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12 Responses to Doodling

  1. Oana says:

    I’m glad you’re writing again!

  2. 2 girl mama says:

    YEAH BEN MAC”S WRITING IS BACK!!!!! Love the Art, great use of color 🙂

  3. hannah says:

    Nice art. The what-to-do-with-the-endless-art problem is a big one. I stash it in a black trash bag in the middle of the night and run it out to the garbage can in my undies. I feel like a serial killer stashing body parts or something. Sophie would *die* if she saw me throwing it out. I too save select ones, many of them. I’ve even framed some of them, which she loves. She asked if we could put some in the art museum. But it’s strange picking which ones I think are “good” enough to frame/save, etc. Yes, the Wordsworthian innocence of the un-selfconscious art-making is glorious.

  4. Tom N. says:

    Ben, congrats on getting back to writing stories!

    As for art, our daughter creates more at daycare than at home, so far. But they do send them home. We obviously can’t keep them all, so I’m trying a compromise: I take a photo of each one, and then throw most of them out. I doubt anyone will ever look at most of the photos, but digital shots are cheap, and at least she’ll have some record if she ever cares to browse through them in the future.

  5. Nancy says:

    Tom, you’re a better parent than I. Most of Alex’s daycare pieces are just crayon scribbles, and there are just so many of them. We keep the ones that are actual projects – the snowman, the picture from a book they read.

    We took Alex to a paint-your-own-pottery place recently, to make a present for his Grandma. He picked out a hippo, picked his colors, and got to work. He had a blast, and was particularly enthralled with painting the hippo’s nose. The poor nose probably had an inch of paint on it.

    When he decided he was done, there were some white spots that hadn’t been painted. The lady in the store must have asked him 5 times if he was sure he was done, and didn’t he want to paint where it was white? He said “nope” every time she asked. I started to get annoyed. Why was it so important that no spot was left unpainted? Why couldn’t she let the kid paint where he wanted to paint?

    Wow, sorry that got long. I’m still obviously a little bitter.

  6. Patti says:

    Beautiful artwork! We don’t have any kids yet (will in June) but we do have a niece who loves to create art like Trixie. We live in different cities so I only get to see her a couple of times a year but she does send me her beautiful artwork which I proudly display on our fridge.

  7. tj says:

    That IS some nice art work. And good colors! So far, my son prefers to use blue – light blue, dark blue, just blue (most of the time). It’s been going on for a quite a while now, I wonder if he will switch at some time or become a multi-color man?
    It’s great to read your stories again. Congrats to launching the tracker! It must feel exhilarating yet odd to suddenly be done with it.

  8. Judy says:

    Get some butcher paper or brown wrap on roll, or use the backside to wrapping paper, tape it to the floor (or the wall if you are brave enough) and let her go. My 6 year old used to have a BLAST doing this.

    Another fun activity when it warms up is to give her a big paint brush and a bucket of water and let her “paint” outside – if anything, she’ll clean up the outside of the house (and porch and sidewalk and trees) for you and have a blast doing it!

  9. christine says:

    You suspect? Be sure that if she catches you tossing out her masterpieces she’ll let you know her feelings.

    I threw out some “drawings” from school for my son…and he found them in the trashcan…let me just say…it was high drama!

    I now put them outside in the trash…

  10. SuzyQ says:

    Seeing Trixie’s artwork reminds me of this cool website called the Global Children’s Art Gallery. You can see art from kids of all ages and from many different countries.

    http://www.naturalchild.org/gallery

  11. mamma of another trixie says:

    hi there,
    very happy to have the posts again.

    we have solved the artwork problem (and trust me, it gets worse before it gets better: our trixie’s in the third grade and you wouldn’t believe the barrels of homework that comes home every friday afternoon). most of it goes into a fat manila envelope pre-addressed with grandma-and-grandpa’s and granny b’s addresses. when they get fat and full, we seal ’em and weigh ’em and stamp ’em and mail ’em.

    ‘cept for the really good pieces. those we frame and hang up around the house.

  12. Zenzile says:

    A time when one can create without any specific goal in mind is avaluable foundation for the future pressures of adulthood. My fondest memories of childhood are of the times when I just wrote whenever I felt like about whatever struck me at the moment. I started writing when I was eight and I just thought it was coold to rhyhme words. Nowadays I avoid rhyhming like crazy. Standards you know.