Childhood memories are often seem surreal - a mix of fantasy and reality. Everyone, not just the creative artistic souls, has interesting and personal childhood memories. I chose to share a few of my artworks that are based on childhood recollections and observations.
The first one is based on a very vivid dream I had as a child. I dreamt that I was in a very large garden (think English maze) and giant hedge animals came toward me and started to chase me. And interestingly enough, I was watching this in the third person, meaning I saw this happen to me as if I were in the audience watching a movie. It was not exactly frightening, but it was overwhelming. To this day it is one of the few dreams from my childhood I remember in detail. I tried to capture the sense of awe and wonder in my dream micron pen drawing.
The second drawing is based on a combination of what my son mentioned about snails carrying their houses with them and my fascination with snails as a child. I grew up in urban setting when I was very little, so farm animals and wild animals more or less only existed in stories and zoos. But we did get lots of snails and other insects near where I lived. I used to spent a long time watching a snail move around slowly up the side of the tree bark. These little pieces of nature were so fascinating to me. Really glad that I now have the ability to create some of these interesting creatures based on my memories and my imagination.
Now that I am a mom to an imaginative three year old son I get to see the world through his eyes. While I am often surprised by his creative mind, at the same time he reminds me how interesting the world was to me when I was little. I try to create some artwork based on funny or moving ideas he comes up with. These artworks entertain him now; but I hope ten or twenty years down the road they will be even more meaningful to him. I am very happy to create something that is special for us as mother and child.
One of the drawings that is based on my son's world is the Mole in a Rocking Chair. One day he was eating a piece of toast and in the process it made an interesting shape. So he told me that it was a mole sitting in a rocking chair. That great image stuck in my mind and later on I did a drawing based on his idea. I like the character and maybe one day when I have some more time to do a series I could write a short story and illustrate it.
Recently my son has been fascinated with space and rockets. He even dressed up as an astronaut for Halloween last year. He told me in all seriousness that someday he will go into space, and take me with him. I was so moved, first by his determination, and secondly by his willingness to take me with him, no matter where he is headed. I treasure this kind of love he has for me and hope it lasts for a few more years. I created a space scene, with the two of us as astronauts on the moon, taking in the beauty of the cosmos.
Interestingly enough, I did not realize all of these drawings are black and white until a friend pointed it out. My memories tend to be more story and mood based. The composition and the feeling of the piece tend to be more important to me. My brain focuses on those areas and forget to leave room for colors. The mind tries to form the image, and my most basic visual sense tends to be in black and white. I like colors, and try to incorporate them into my artwork. But I have to confess the most personal images to me tend to be in black and white. Maybe the printmaker in me is to blame.
Do you have any beautiful childhood memories that always stuck with you visually? They are usually very personal and we always associate many layers of emotions with them. I may do a few more childhood dream pieces, probably again in black and white.