Friday, June 19, 2009

Appreciating Ainsleigh through art

About a month ago, before the end of school, I had a conversation with Ainsleigh's teacher about her, well, academic achievements and the goals we had for the summer. I was a little concerned that Ainsleigh wasn't reading the Encyclopedia Britannica (do they even make those any more?) like some kids her age. Mrs. C was very quick to reassure me that Ainsleigh was doing everything she was supposed to. Was right where she should be. Was meeting all of the requirements. Great. But. The stupid competitive totally lame part of me was trying to yell, "But I don't want her to be average! I want her to be the smartEST." Gah. And I kind of hated myself for thinking that.

Not to break my arm patting my own back, but I was always at the top of my class. The overachiever. The nerd, if you will. I'm used to learning coming quickly and easily. I'm used to processing problems, figuring out results, and doing it generally more efficiently than you (except you, Dad. And maybe some of my siblings. And...ok, well not YOU, but the general you). I know this sounds totally arrogant, but that's payback for years of having the GATE and Honors programs attached to your record, no matter how hard you tried to hide it.

As I sat there having this totally stupid inner battle of how I want her to be the smartest vs. how I want to celebrate her strengths and not set unrealistic expectations, I heard her teacher say, "But when it comes to art, she is...WAY beyond her peers."

And my heart leapt with pride.

I don't need Ainsleigh to be the best at anything, because she's the best thing that happened when Joel and I were just, well, us. I know she is wonderful and loving and kind and funny. But I also know that she has been an artist from the time she could sit up and hold a magna doodle stylus. And I was pleased that her teacher recognized it. And I don't want/need Ainsleigh to be the best at art because she should be the best at something. I want her to do something she loves and love doing what she has a gift for.

In honor of her, here are some of her recent pictures (click on them to view larger):

On the left, she has illustrated the word KIND as in "What kind of dress
will I wear today?" Classic. On the right, we are at the museum, admiring the works of art BY us. Note the special art light above the paintings.

Here she has illustrated the word TOOK by showing Donovan taking a present
away from her. My favorite is the curves, indicating action.

In science one day, the teacher had them draw a picture of something
they had learned in science. Ainsleigh chose the lesson on gravity.
The picture speaks for itself. I have no idea how I'd draw gravity.
I'd probably copy her picture.

Front and back of her Mother's Day gift bag.

This, though, is my absolute favorite. They had to draw a picture,
then trace it onto another paper, then use warm colors on one,
and cool colors on the other, then cut them up and weave them together.
It's one of the coolest things I've seen. And, as most of Ainsleigh's
masterpieces, it's a self-portrait. We think she's the next Frida.

Donovan, on the other hand, has taken a bit longer to create distinct facial features. So it was with great joy that I beheld this product of his tight-fisted pencil-grasping:

Obviously, this is Pablo from the Backyardigans.

As a comparison, this was a recent picture Donovan drew:

and here is a picture from when Ainsleigh was the same age:

At this age, Ainsleigh was accessorizing.

So maybe Donovan will be at the top of his class in reading. Or math. Or...oh who am I kidding, his strength will probably be in sports. Gemma? Well, we've got time. In the meantime, I shall enjoy the art that shows up hither and yon.


Becca said...

Awwww I totally love all of those pictures...especially the weave one. You could seriously sell that for money lol.
But I suppose you could've guessed she'd be the artistic/feely one even when she was a baby...little pouty lips and droopy eyes. what a cutie.