With the Mall cleared of 4th of July riff-raff--and Johnny Cash impersonators opening for Little Richard wheeled out on a piano gurney? Seriously, America, what the hell??--and a couple of days before we head off for a bit of family travel, the kid, K2 and I grabbed our sketchbooks and headed down to the National Gallery.
K2 can happily draw and color all day, but she's only just beginning to consider my suggestion to draw something she sees, not something she imagines. I'm sure there's a rich literature on the developmental aspects of learning to observe and copy; feel free to suggest your favorite researcher. My main point here is to brag.
The kid has an actual sketchbook and artist pencils, but I thought it'd be easier for K2 to use the Brushes app on the iPad. At 3, she can change brushes and colors with little/no help, which is unnerving, but mostly, she just scribbles and plays.
Large Composition with Masks, Henri Matisse, 1953, image: brian mcmorrow
But as the kid was doing an Albers, K2 and I sat in the center of the Matisse Cut-outs gallery, and she picked out some things she wanted to draw. Then we talked about them a bit, identifying the pieces and shapes and colors. And then she started in.
Face and four flowers (after Matisse), K2, 2011
When it looked like she drew the circle for this mask horizontally instead of vertically, I thought I might want to teach her the undo button. First, I asked her, though, which way the face in the painting was, standing up or lying down, and then which way was her drawing. And she said it was standing, too, and sure enough, she drew the whole thing rotated ninety degrees, and then turned it upright when she was done.
This one was Woman with a Big Hat and Some Peaches. It had been Woman with Big Hair until I asked her, "Does that thing touch her head or not?" and she'd get it. A brief argument ensued when her big sister came over to report that for Matisse, they were pomegranates and an amphora, and so K2 decided she wouldn't draw them anyway, and that she was done.
Woman With Big Hat And Some Peaches, After Henri Matisse, K2, 2011