Friday, August 5, 2011

New Eyes

by Wendy Russell

Not long ago a neighbor stopped by my studio door to say hello.  She was accompanied by her daughter, a bright-eyed six year old kindergarten graduate.  They’d never ventured inside before so I invited them in for a quick tour.

As I began pulling random pieces of artwork out to show, the child responded with frank and decisive comments regarding each painting.  I watched as her face changed expressions from delight to disinterest and back again.  With each one line critique I grew more intrigued by what she might say next, as every artist thrives on feedback.  She was careful not to hurt my feelings, a diplomat really, and simply moved on to the next painting if something bored her. 

I pulled a little two step stool up to an antique map chest where loads of smaller paintings are stored.  I encouraged her to open a drawer and she proceeded to carefully inspect the contents of all thirty two drawers!  Her mother gasped at intervals as the little girl removed and replaced any works that caught her eye.  In her purity of thought, she was unimpressed by the concept of “originals”.  There were no restrictions on what she could like or dislike.  There was only the honesty of a child’s perspective that was yet untainted by trends, preferred mediums or public opinion.  What she saw before her was reflected in her eyes and her reactions spilled out effortlessly. 

One painting sparked a full faced smile and I thought she’d found her favorite.  Instead, her comment was that her dad loved trees, the subject of the work.  I was humbled by her unselfish nature and determined to try and remind myself to view art and craft with that degree of open minded honesty. 

We who create for a living might do better to remain unshackled by outside influences and instead rely on our hands and hearts to lead us through the creative process. 


Wendy Russell is one of Indie Artisans' talented artists. You can find her original paintings in her Etsy shop Artrussell Online:

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