"Why the kids?" I am writing this from my hotel room in AZ, after a couple of days spent with a wonderful family who have hired me to paint their two children. I am always honored when anyone loves my work enough to pay big money for it. When it is commissioned, it takes on a new level. They are trusting me to see their kids, through MY eyes. Wow.
Today, this thought just floored me.
By the end of our time together, they hugged my waist and claimed a piece of my heart. And yes, all that goes into the work.
What I see when I'm with a child, is so much more than the innocence and purity most people expect.. I see their fierce spirit of love totally unveiled. The kind that exists for all of humanity, all of Life. The one that moves forward without guile, regardless of what obstacles may appear. These little humans are BIG BEINGS, and they know it. Problem is, most of us taller people do not see them as they are, expansive and oh so totally true to themselves. We have a tendency to make them insignificant, until further notice.
I have been drawn to them in my recent paintings, because what these children have to teach us is very profound. In spite of the bad rap many kids get for being fidgety and unruly, they are truly far from that. They are still inside. Still. They need to have light shown on them in a different way. Non- condescending, and honest. By honesty, I mean the kind that goes far beyond what they look like on the outside. It is palpable, and it goes way beyond reality as we expect it to be.
These children, all children, deserve respect.
I happen to believe that every artist, whatever the genre, has the responsibility to bring people back. To who they are. Not to remind them of how wrong the world is, or how we've screwed everything up. We are so much more than the mistakes we've made. Than the roads we haven't taken. Than the roads we never will.
The children will lead us there. They will show us how.
Step back, and look at them.
*Title borrowed from the song written by Yusuf Islam (aka Cat Stevens).