I recently posted this photo on Instagram and commented on how Alice is always drawn to unconventional forms of art and expression. She has always loved using pencils, crayons, pens and especially paint. From a very young age, really as soon as she was exposed to pencils/pens, she held them correctly and spent periods of time creating.
Unlike her brother, she often did not draw or paint pictures with obvious meaning but favoured the process of mixing colours till they became a sludgy brown colour and smeared it onto screwed up bits of paper or toilet rolls or cardboard. There would be layers and layers of paint helped on with her fingers as well as the paint brushes. She would leave them to dry around the house for days (due to the huge amount of paint!) and then that would be it. She wouldn’t admire it or talk about. They often (and I do feel bad about it but there is only so much brown toilet rolls one can keep) would fall in the bin but that was ok.
What is interesting is the concentration, the planning and ideas that swirl around her mind as she gets out everything she needs. Today she wanted to make Daddy a birthday picture and collected stones, bought me the pva glue to pour for her and got out the brown paint, chatting away to herself about the picture. To me it looked like a wet brown piece of paper with stones from the driveway glued on to it. To her it was her masterpiece. I’ve written before about subjectivity in art (search ‘love and wellies: painting daffodils and rocks’- my phone won’t let me link to it!!) and how I needed to take a step back from what I deemed ‘good art’ and just let them explore and express themselves however they want.
We keep joking that Alice will end up being a famous abstract artist one day. That as her parents, we will be proud but have very little idea about what her art means. That famous arty types will flock to her exhibitions and love her for her ability to express so much through muted tones and wet paint on toilet rolls…