Seeing the World through Their Eyes

Our kitten Ash.

I love art. Art makes my brain zip and zing and come alive!

I love digging in and doing artsy stuff myself. And I really love watching creativity happen. I love the way you can give 25 or even 250   people the very same art supplies and all of the art projects they dream up will be different.   Some slightly – others dramatically – but none of the creations folks dream up will be exactly the same.

I love the unpredictability of art. I love that art has unexpected surprises.

I love that art is open-ended and that in art there aren’t any “right” answers. You simply   can’t do art wrong. (Unless you refuse to give art a try or mock art. I think mocking art or refusing to try art is probably the wrong choice . . . but keeping our hearts and minds closed to new experiences and opportunities is rarely the better option.)

One of my greatest joys in parenting the McFarland sons has been the opportunity to expose Jack and Will to art and art supplies. Our home is filled with art supplies (and books).   We are big on both around here!

This picture shows our busy dining room table all cluttered up with art supplies and a bonus stuffed animal.

Our dining room table’s centerpiece is a huge antique wooden tray filled with essential art supplies: tape – cardstock – Ball jars of scissors – Sharpies – pencils – and pens.   It is always there – unless we are using the table for a puzzle or playing a board game. (We eat there sometimes too – but the tray doesn’t need to move for meals. Our plates aren’t that big!?!?!)

Anyway – I love art. And I love sharing my passion for art with Jack and Will.   Both of our sons regularly reach for art supplies to create and make.   And when they do – they put their own wonderful spin on their creations. Nothing they make looks like something their mom would make.

Will’s creations are often dominated by the color orange. Will reaches first for the orange marker – the orange play dough – the orange crayon – the orange beads – the orange anything really. Orange is Will’s signature color.

Will is also very precise and detail oriented. He will image something and then he will work tirelessly to make his artistic vision come into existence. William abhors it when something fails to live up to his artistic vision! Will’s standards are high and can be intimidating.

Why yes – he did choose this impressive ensemble himself!

When failing to meet Will’s standards – I have foolishly tried to engage him in philosophical conversations about art. Sharing with Will – how no art is bad art and the need to see the beauty in creating and imperfection leaves him unmoved. His response is usually something like – “Good – that can be YOURS. Mine should have (straighter sides – accurate detailing – the proper shade of paint – etc) – thank you!

Okay then . . .

Will has high expectations.

Jack also loves to craft and make and will try anything that peaks his interest and lots of things have peaked his interest over the years.   Jack’s approach to art has always been a bit more experimental. He is more willing to give something a whirl and see what will happen.

He loves to give things a try – to experiment – to dig in. To simply give it a go and see what will happen.

Jack free-hand embroiders. Jack can tie-dye like a pro. Jack makes nifty paracord creations. Jack doodles and draws and sketches too. Jack has been doing some pretty cool beading this summer.

Over the years Jack has tried his hand at all sorts of things – but other than sketching and doodling and drawing (especially with black Sharpie) – he hasn’t found that medium that drew him in and kept him coming back again and again month after month after month. Jack hadn’t found his artistic passion.

But this year Jack may have found his artistic passion (what I think might be Jack’s knitting).

Jack took a black and white film photography class as his senior year elective – and he fell hard for photography. Jack loves photography – especially black and white film photography.

Jack walks through life with a camera slung over his shoulder – kinda like the way his mom walks through life with knitting in her hands.

Jack says this is one of the images that he will always carry with him when he thinks of his parents = us walking side by side. . .

One camera led to other cameras. And to intriguing lessons on the merits of film over digital photography.   And developing film and light readings and golden hours and all sorts of things I never knew anything about!

I love listening and learning from folks when they are willing to share about their passions. Learning about one of my sons’ passions – well – it doesn’t get any better than this!

I have always loved seeing the world through my sons’ eyes and through their artistic creations. And now – seeing the world through Jack’s photos – well sometimes – my boy – leaves me thinking really big thinks . . . Really BIG thinks . . .

Jack’s photography intrigues me – because it feels like he is giving me a glimpse into the way he sees his world and the people in it.

Jack’s photography shows me what catches his eye and interests him – and I find this intriguing.

I feel honored to see what he sees – even if it was only for a moment.

After all – isn’t that a huge part of relationship (sometimes a huge hurdle) – trying to see the world from another person’s perspective?

Jack’s mom and his wrecked car.

What have you learned from a loved one lately? Have you been open to listening and learning something from someone else? Have you allowed yourself to be vulnerable enough to try to see the world from someone else’s point of view – if only for a moment?

My sons have made me wiser (if I can claim any wisdom at all that is).

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