Last week, the paintings painted by children in Circles were returned. I am not a big fan of kids. Sorry I hope you don’t judge. But there is one thing that I especially like about children, and that is children’s paintings.
There is not anything special about the things children draw. They might just draw the simplest thing that they see, such as a beach that they went to, some grass, a giant cow, etc, but the picture that they draw normally leaves viewers with some questions. They may just wonder why the beach is green, what is this small random red thing here in the middle of the painting, why that cow is smiling. Then if the viewers is interested enough to ask the author, the viewers would find out that there is nothing random about whatever the author was trying to depict in the picture. The author will tell the viewers the reasons why he drew things the way he did and those reasons might amaze the viewers. For example, when I did community service in high school, I remembered one time a child in an orphanage showed me her picture in which there were a lot of flowers and children but I noticed there was also a small little shadowed lady in the back ground. She explained that she had a lot of fun in here with her friends and she liked the flowers that were newly planted and when I asked her about the small lady in the back, she told me that that was her mom. She drew her mom so small in the background because people told her her mom was very very far away so the she could not really see her mom. She had the thought about her mom but she could not find a better way of depicting the details of her mom’s appearance than a small far-away shadow.
Children find their own ways to depict things. They do not follow any set of rules, convention or lessons as long as they feel like they can express their feelings and thoughts. The sun does not always have to be red, and the clouds do not always have to be blue. Children’s pictures shows their perspective of the world under their own prisms of life. I like children paintings because it expresses a freedom within the picture, and an innocent happy soul. I used to draw a lot when I was small. I got a lot of compliments on my painting and my memory of stuff that I saw once. But I gave up drawing when I entered middle school because drawing was no longer my hobby. I hate it when in middle school, we had to draw things that were assigned by the teacher and my paintings would not receive a good grade if I did not draw like the teacher would expect children at my age to draw. I wanted to draw a picture with the pencil only, but my teacher gave me a bad grade because the picture is not “colorful” and “lively”. I wanted to draw a picture with a white background, but my teacher said I had to cover the picture with colors, and there should not be any ‘blank spot’. She expected it and it should be there. By nature, I generally do not want to do things just because someone thinks it is supposed to be the way I do it. So painting was no longer my hobby.
But it is not just that I gave up my hobby, but also when I get older, there are things that I think but I no longer express them. I am not saying that I am afraid to express them. I am a very honest person. It only means that if you ask, or if the situation bothers everyone, I will speak up, but in general, I remove myself in situation which involves dramas, or dilemmas of other people. I used to be very free-spoken, but there were a lot of times it does not help me, and other people either. Time after time, I believe that even though people always praise honesty and straightforward, they actually prefer lies, or sugar-coated words. I personally think that if a strange power comes and makes people say everything they think for just one day, the next day there are some people, some countries, some nations that are going to go down.
I like children’s paintings because any time that I look at them, I admire their unique prisms of life and I wish to be a child one more time. I thought that being an adult sucks. It means having to be careful about presentation a lot more. But I changed my mind a lot since last year because I was away from my friends and I started working for the first time and then I took several different jobs. There are times that I said some words that I did not mean and the consequences were not what I wanted. It was different in the past to get away with it because my friends would easily forget them when we were always with each other and I was not involved with any professional experience. But in several positions that I took, I realized that being mindful about my words is necessary especially provided each person’s responsibility, and representation, especially when the words being spoken are having impacts on other people. There are people who think that if one does not speak what he is thinking, he is not brave and not honest. Personally, I do not think it is an appropriate way to look at it. A lot of the times, people choose not to say certain things because they need to think about it, judge their own prejudice and find an appropriate way to put it. Once I got it, I understood that being appropriate with words is neither pretentious nor fake. If I can do that, it makes people around me feel comfortable and it helps me to better represent my work. People praise the dream of being straight-forward, free and mind-free, but if that attitude turns out to be blunt, either making people around feel uncomfortable or misrepresenting the responsibility that you promised to take, isn’t it worth reconsideration? After all, I realized for myself that I liked children’s paintings not only because children do it in a free style but also because most of the things on their mind are beautiful. Well then, would it be worth it if I paint my picture in a free style but with all the things I hate, or wouldn’t it be better if I paint it in a free style but with all the things I love and other people love?
It’s a matter of the way I look at it.
Phoebe Do ’17