I doubt that the imagination can be suppressed. If you truly eradicated it in a child, he would grow up to be an eggplant. Ursula K. Le Guin
Growing up in a wee little 2 bedroom house meant that I had to share a bedroom with two of my brothers.
(Another brother slept in a tiny junior bed at the foot of my parents’ bed and when my sister came along her crib was jammed in there too! We had no idea as children that we were cramped for space – or money, for that matter. We had love and fun and that was surely enough.)
Dad had painted merry nursery rhyme figures on our dressers and bunk beds and this served as art. I do not remember any pictures on the walls.
Except . . . during the years when I slept on the top bunk. Then I cut out magazine pictures of Bible stories, especially Jesus, and the Minneapolis Lakers basketball team and tacked them to the nearby dormered ceiling. At night I would stare at these pictures. (Don’t even ask.)
When it came time to decorate a nursery for our firstborn, I went the route of most young moms of 1962 with cheerful chintz print curtains, a child’s lamp . . .
and a sweet picture of a chubby toddler boy. I know I enjoyed his sweetness more than our little son did.
With every child thereafter I did grow a bit in adding art to their rooms, but with far less imagination than my daughters and sons and daughters-in-law!
Yesterday Emily showed us the nursery for their baby son, due in May. Every detail was tasty, but the part that has me whirling today is the art that she has chosen! Yes! Interesting art, even original art!
Emily and Marit (dear daughter-in-law in Chicago, mom of year old Gust), were both art history majors. And while it may be difficult to find employment as an art history major, it sure does help when it comes to imaginative baby space.
And she found a painting of the sea, tossing on a bright day with a sailing ship – large and hung directly across from the crib. Soon this boy will be dreaming of adventures to far-away places.
“Don’t dumb-down art for kids”, she told me. How fun is this?
Instead of a sweet little ol’ Noah’s Ark . . .
Why not a contemporary ark from Eric Dowdle . . .as fun as Where’s Waldo!
or even a Jacopo Bassano Noah’s Ark from the 16th century?
There’s nothing wrong with popular fairies . . . .
But – look at these gorgeous, embroidered beauties . . .
“Cute” can be fun . . .
But let a little cowpoke walk into this world . . .
You could find amazing posters or prints of illustrious illustrators – like this one of Moby Dick by Tony Millionaire . . .
Or this one for an older child – would it not catapult him into reading the book? . . .
Do include some inspiration – but make it strong, not sweet.
Like this by Timothy Botts –
or this by Ron DiCianni –
A great blessing of the internet is the accessibility of art. We can move from one possibility to another, until we stumble across a picture, an idea – which is exactly what we needed, even though we didn’t have a clue. Art stimulates, touches deep, refreshes and is etched into our memory banks.
Our kids and grandkids will have doors into worlds beyond their borders.
And we will too. It’s not too late, praise God.
A little music for your baby too; Bach’s Prelude Cello Suite no. 1, here performed by Eric Larkins;
Images courtesy of: Indian Elephant by Helen Lambert; earthskyart.com/pages/gallery/07elephant, The Eggplant by Elizabeth Blaylock; dailypainters.com, Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe by Martin Kronheim; picasaweb.google.com, Monet poster; movieposter.com, Cute Noah’s ark; etsy.thehomegnome, Eric Dowdle’s Noah Ark; dowdlefolkart.com, The Ark by Jacopo Bassano; reproarte.com, Fairies embroidery; etsy.com.loutul, cute cowboy; graphicsfairy.blogspot.com, Where Cold Waters Run by Martin Grelle; gallery4collectors.com/images/MartinGrelle, Moby Dick illustration by Tony Millionaire; biblioklept, Moby Dick; www.edu.ge.ch, Timothy Botts caligraphy; inkwellgreetings.com, Ron DiCianni; rondicianni.com, Le Chateau Noir by Paul Cezanne at National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; artunframed.com, Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola; onu.edu/node/25184.
Don’t forget Strega Nona!