I love this photograph of the tree’s reflection in an office building window near my house. I might have driven by it if it hadn’t been for my two sons shouting, “pull over, Mom” and pointing at all the great photos we could take right here in an office parking lot. I especially love the way creativity and passion has sparked a debate with my sons, (10 and 7 respectively) and have turned my budding artists into bona-fide artistes’.
Each day after school,, I have picked them up from their buses and we have begun to drive around investigating and scrutinizing new areas to photograph. As they talk/bicker about what constitutes a great photograph from a not so great photograph, I can’t help but smile inside and out, I am creating my own artists community right here at home.
They are learning to trust their own artistic instincts and their confidence grows as they remain vigilant and on the lookout to see if a particular view is ” photo worthy”. As we ride around together trading my camera back and forth, we talk about what we see, why we might, after careful consideration, choose not to take a shot and to continue to search for a spot that warrants a better picture, or a different angle.
Early on in the process, my eldest son saw an abandoned truck and he started to take a photo. And before I could stop myself, I broke my one cardinal rule, “your shot your choice” by exclaiming, ” Are you sure?” Out of the corner of my eye, I watched as he lowered the camera and said, “I guess not” and I cringed, this was the opposite of what I believe, what I wanted to teach them, and now I was censoring his judgement causing him to question his “artist’s eye” and his own creativity.
I drove around the block, stopped and apologized for interrupting his creative flow and explained that he should take the photo even if he isn’t entirely sure why because it struck something in him and that is what being an artist is all about, trial and error. He nodded thoughtfully and finally took the picture, ( I offered to post it and he is considering it), and my 7-year-old said, “Mommy, it is up to us to use our hearts to find our own art.” So true, so very true.
So with the help of my new-found artistic community, my sons help me to remember that while we drive around surveying the same area, all three of us are looking at things through our own “artist’s eyes” and each picture reflects us as individuals and in three totally exceptionally, delightful, and personal ways.
I don’t know if they will become famous artists or not, but I can’t help feeling that I’ve created an unconditional and safe place in their souls where they can create art expressing who they are, what they feel and believe without judgement or fear.
And I get the best gifts of all, first I get to spend extra time with my beloved sons, share our artistic passions, and I get to help them discover their own gifts and how they will contribute to the beauty we all see in the world, through their own “artist’s eyes.” Each time one of them says with pride, ” I think I got a great shot,” well folks, that just makes my soul want to sing.