My grandson used to live close by, however, and alas, they have moved across the country. Initially we would take him to a Mexican restaurant every year for his birthday. They sang to him, gave him a balloon, and he got to wear a sombrero. One day he told me he could speak 3 languages, American, English and Spanish. American because, well, he is. English because his dad is British, and Spanish because of the restaurant. It is funny what we hold close to our hearts and carry freshly in our minds from our experiences in the past. Recently, I remembered something from junior high journalism class. I had a great teacher. She really taught and valued the intellectual curiosity of her students. One day she said, "The biggest problem with propaganda is that eventually people will believe nothing." It struck me at the time like a light bulb going on. I really thought about it, but didn't have any personal experience to back it up. It was a bit like the story of the boy crying wolf. At the end of the year it was a question on the final exam. Of course I remembered it, and amazingly she told me I was the only one in the class that got it right and that someday it would mean something to me. In this age of fake news and Russians influencing what we think by interfering in what is leaked, that phrase really does mean something to me. For all of our differences, I hope Americans can come to grips with who we are. I don't want to live in a country made up of radical factions that are at war with each other. Really, are we not just a ginormous tribe? Go figure!
I frequently hear this phrase from the "experts," Paint What You Love. I think there is wisdom in that. I paint a lot of different things, but I always love painting children. Well, not really children, but painting images of children. I like my children unadorned and natural, certainly not covered in paint. I can see things I would have done differently if I was starting this painting again. Things I know but frequently forget, but all in all, I loved doing it and am happy with the results. Go Figure!
Some of my concerns have been sneaking into my paintings lately. I try not to be overly political or socially opinionated, but we all have issues that matter to us. I love painting children, especially in poses that are natural and not posed. These three Tweeners are conversing about something important in front of a fashion art poster. I have 3 granddaughters so I am paying attention to the influences our culture has on them. I heard the phrase "Pester Power" in terms referring to children influencing the buying habits of their parents. I don't think this is new, it just seems more excessive and high dollar. I remember pestering my mom to buy me the shoes I wanted. There were tears involved. I lost. I got sturdy tie up shoes instead. "No," was common in my parents' vocabulary. I am concerned about how advertising is helping to define how the young girls see themselves and forming a picture for them of what it means to be a girl. On the other hand, I love to see my girls dressed in their lovely pink dresses as they explore the world and discover its magic and mysteries...like catching salamanders! I may have to paint this scene! Go Figure
The background painting is located at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris, which is my favorite art museum, so far. I love the building which was completed at the end of the 19th century as a station for electric trains and an accompanying hotel. It was renovated as a museum which opened in 1986. It is spectacular architecturally as well as the collection which spans the years 1848-1915 of western hemisphere art. The Impressionists paintings make up a good portion of the collection. This painting, The Red Ball, is by Felix Vallotton. The flatness and odd horizon line of the painting give a sense of a child running after the ball and away from his/her caretakers. It invokes a sense of insecurity, hence (in part) my title Too Young. The second meaning has to do with the visitors pictured here. We all know that obesity is epidemic with the US rating 6th in the world. So "too young" refers to the generations of young people who are sacrificing good health for high calorie and low nutritional content foods. I find it an interesting juxtaposition. Perhaps more of us should be running after that little red ball. Why am I thinking about chocolate right now??? Go Figure!