I had some ideas on what to write, and am really inspired about some of the topics I’ve scribbled down for the future. Nonetheless, Lily is my five yr old daughter, and loves art! It’s a connection I have with her that I cling to. She’ll draw, color, paint, use chalk on the driveway until it’s dark out, and love every second of doing it. Her cubby at school is overflowing with markers, crayons, stacks of papers, and always two rolls of scotch tape. She shows me the outline of ocean waves in our countertop, and a man walking with groceries from the stones in our driveway. She makes her uncle Traeger proud… follow him on Instagram, he’ll blow your mind!
Lily reminds me of myself when I grew up, being so immersed in art. It was the only subject in school that I’d do extra credit for, and it was something I could always go to that would bring me peace of mind.
Two things that I remember specifically that still hold today, the first was having a quiet space to work in. I love to work on art when it’s a rainy day, and I thought about this one a bit… I played baseball in college, where I studied Graphic Design. I loved playing baseball, but when a game or practice was rained out, I was able to stay in our design studios working on projects. It was always a quiet space, and the sound of rain was equally soothing.
The second thing I remember was going to work with my dad. He was in charge of running the West Hartford Senior Citizen Center, and I’d go to work with him during the summer months. There was an art class there that I’d attend in between playing pool and cards with the other seniors, I was probably 10 yrs old at the time. One of the members was also the art instructor, and he generously started to teach me on the side some basic drawing skills. The first drawing he taught me was Santa Claus, and to this day I still draw it the same way I did 30 yrs ago. He would take me to the art store to get materials for his projects and class, picking up things I’ve never seen before and teaching me the differences in quality markers, pencils, and different types of papers. Probably why going to Dick Blick is now like therapy for me. He drew a beautiful picture of my dad that was hung in his office, among all the other art that was on the walls there. I didn’t know at the time what his life was before the Senior Center, and later learned that he was an artist/illustrator and at one time worked on the cartoon Popeye for Warner Brothers. His name was Sam Rader. I obviously didn’t know what a mentor was back then, but Sam was mine at that time. Today, having Alison Shaw as my mentor is equally important. So I guess my point is, mentors are vital in life.
I asked Lily to draw me something, and she gave it to me this morning. So who knows how many of these I post, but I know there won’t be a shortage to choose from. She said this is me in the drawing, and that I love hearts. I think she nailed it.