Sunday, June 7, 2009

Salad Days Drawing

Today I spent part of the morning drawing a collaborative picture with my son. It brought back great memories of similar quiet time I used to spend as a child, drawing or filling in coloring books—either with my mom or on my own. I have tried to spend this kind of time with my son on a regular basis. Years ago, he used to ask me to draw all sorts of animals, and he especially loved it when I drew "owl eyes" (a cartoonish owl with huge eyes). Today, though, it was all about chivalry and battle; mostly battle. My son was very clear about wanting to draw a scene with a castle and knights . . . and a king . . . and, of course, a dragon. Which became two dragons, each with two heads and a lot of fire-breath. And, with an impish grin, my son decided to draw a separate room outside the castle (see upper right corner of image) where all the weapons would be kept. He knows I'm not into weapons, but you can't very well have knights without swords, can you? All this got me thinking back to the drawings I used to make. When I was young, I drew a lot of animals. Cats, dogs, horses, pigs, V-shapes in the sky meant to be birds in flight. And then I drew houses, flowers, pictures of girls in pretty dresses . . . And I remember very distinctly a phase when I drew picnics. I think I was around ten years old. I can still see the way the drawings looked; they didn't vary much. There were always two people (both women or both girls, or one woman and one girl) sitting on a red and white checked blanket that was spread out on a grassy field. I remember being very careful about drawing two brown plates on the blanket, and in each person's hand, a brown fork. Between them was a salad bowl. I don't know why it was always salad that they ate. I didn't draw cakes, didn't draw sandwiches or bowls of fruit. I drew green lettuce scribbles and red circles meant to be cherry tomatoes. At this age, I was not really a salad eater myself, though I loved raw vegetables. And I don't recall my mom eating salad in any excessive way that would beg notice. So, why salad, I don't know. Salad in my salad days. Of course my teenage years were different. I took to drawing skulls and crossbones and other macabre images. And now, here I am, teaching my son to draw dragons, watching him draw swords and other unidentified weapons alongside. At least, interspersed with these drawings, there are still his requests for rabbits and birds, goldfish and flowers. Yes, he draws those, too. For now.

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