I love when young people visit my studio. They approach my space as if it’s a playground, which it is. Paints, colored pencils, inks, clay – all kinds of art supplies are laid out on a messy array of tables and shelves. Not too long ago a young boy and his mom came to see me. He promptly set to work on a composition called Day Train, while she and I walked around chatting about my various on-going projects…
When I was his age, I remember doing my version of Day Train. It was “My Back Yard” with swing-set, sand box, circular baby pool and brick house in the background. It’s the details that are telling. I put a girl sunning in the pool, arms out-stretched with hands sprouting fingers with red points on the ends of all ten. I didn’t have fingers like that. My mother did not have fingers like that. My mom had work hands from gardening, cooking, laundry, changing diapers. But I had somewhere seen ladies with delicate manicured fingers painted bright red. For me, making those fingernails was the most important part of that drawing.
Now, I happen to know the parents of my young visitor; very healthy types who work in the medical field. As I tick off all the wonderful details in his drawing (strong tracks to carry the train, blue sky with fluffy clouds, sunshine, a guy climbing a ladder up the back of the train, smokes stacks, and more…) the one thing that makes my eyes open up big and wide is the conductor with a smoking cigarette hanging out of his mouth!