Monday, March 12, 2012


I have had a revelation : rev·e·la·tion(rv-lshn)
a. The act of revealing or disclosing.
b. Something revealed, especially a dramatic disclosure of something not previously known or realized.
and I find it a bit shocking.
First, let me say that I am not really a "KID" person.
Of course I adore and love my nieces but they are different, they aren't like most kids I've met.
I hated babysitting when I was young and gladly passed off the job to my sister who adored doing it. Especially babies. I was always staring at them as they slept, terrified that they were no longer breathing. I woke many babies up during my short baby-sitting stint. I, myself never liked playing with baby dolls, my favorite toys were a raggedy stuffed dog and a tiger kitty. (Both of whom continue to sleep in my dresser drawer). I just never enjoyed spending an evening with kids running around screaming as they chased siblings from room to room. I hated fighting with children to eat their dinner or trying to get them in bed and stay there at the appointed time their parents had dictated. I would end the evening sitting on the family sofa pretending to watch the TV while I was actually tense and frightened. I watched the clock and heard every creak of the house. I spent most of the time locking windows and double checking doors and praying for the parents to return soon.
Luckily they soon met my sister and called her instead.
She was the Baby-Sitting Queen. I remember the day she pulled out her little pocket-book and happily showed me a couple of school photos of her favorite little ones. She said she felt like they were kinda like her kids too. She adored them and loved taking care of them.
I had just looked at the photos and then at her in wonderment. I just didn't get it.
But then again, she didn't understand why I knew every dog's name in the neighborhood or why I always wandered down to the corner house and played with neighbors dog when his owner tied him outside.
Now in my adult life, when I help out in the front reception area of the clinic that I work at and someone comes in with little children and they start screaming and running around, I can't think.
My mind shuts down and I can't focus on anything, yet when someone comes back to my Boarding Area and the dogs start all barking at once, I'm often asked how I can stand listening to it. I usually don't even notice it and I also tell them they are barking because someone has just walked in. When it's just me and the dogs, it's usually completely quiet...
Anyway, I am not saying that I don't LIKE kids.
Just the other day a mom was at the front desk checking out. She had her hands full with picking up her pet and getting paperwork and kinda ignoring her little girl. It was very cold outside that day and the little girl had thrown her mittens on a table and her coat in a chair. The mom was calling to her to hurry up so I went around and grabbed her coat and started helping the little girl on with it.
She said to me in a small voice that I had to put her mittens on "first".
So I did. Then I helped her on with her coat but the kid didn't zip it up, so I zipped her up and looked at her.
Her little face stared up at me and I kinda got it.
Her standing there looking at me.
I reached down and pulled her hood up on her head and she gave me this little smile.
It was like she knew that I didn't dislike her.
So I smiled back at her and quietly said "Stay warm" before walking away.
So yeah, I would never say I was a kid person...
OK, for the BIG revelation.
I was at the library looking for a book on birds. Don't ask me why but I was and the location for the book I was looking for ended up being in the "Juvenile" section. As I was looking through the kids book on birds I found the book "Stellina" (by Matteo Pericoli).
I flipped through and realized that it was very much what I had in my mind for my book about Blue. That's when it hit me.
Is my BLUE book really a kid's book? NO! I think not.
Then I started going through the shelves, I found one that was called "Fuddles" (by Frans Vischer) about a cat.
OMG! Kanga's story IS a Children's Book. I grabbed a couple of others with graphics I was mad for and took them to the desk and checked out.
I drove home in a bit of a daze.
Children's books? for KIDS?
What is happening to me!
I thought about my paintings at the clinic. Two of them had been bought as gifts but one was bought for a little girl who begged her mom and another was for a little boy who had told his mom that she had PROMISED he could get it if it was still there the next time they came.
I thought about the first craft show I did. I sold Folk Art stuffed dogs and cats and Folk Art cat/dog jewelry (necklaces and pins) and almost all were bought by a parent of a kid demanding it.
I remember remarking to my friend that it appeared that my target audience was 8-12 yr olds!
A few years later, I did another craft show of painted furniture. I had all sorts of things and a lot of people told me how much they loved my stuff but either they had no place to put it or it was the wrong color for their decor. The only pieces that sold were a chair that a woman said would be a "time-out" chair for her kid and then another chest/bench painted with cats to another woman who was going to use it for a toy chest.
Then I had a young couple telling me how much they loved a head-board that I had painted with little "Bugs" but they had already just purchased a new bed for their son....
I started thinking about my nieces and how they never want me to get them anything off of their Christmas/Birthday lists. They always want something that I "made" instead.
I started thinking about the Folk Art dolls, and cats and bunnies I had made them and the weird "wolf" I made my youngest niece.
I remembered the time my middle niece opened the old hat box I had and looked at the fairy doll that I had made her and how she said that she "felt dizzy"... yeah, that's one of my biggest compliments ever.
Maybe, I AM kind of a KID person after all.
Wow, what a revelation! I AM feeling DIZZY! LOL!


sassypackrat said...

I've always thought that your art was perfect for illustrations for children. So no I'm not surprised at all. It's a never ending art market and just because kids aren't really your thing doesn't mean that art for kids isn't. Go for it!

yoborobo said...

I think you are very in touch with the kid in you, and that comes through your art. I love kids AND dogs and cats and chaos. I loved having a noisy yelling barking running house...I really really miss that. All my kids have become adults, and my dogs and cats are mellowing out. I guess it's up to me to stir things up. :)) xoxo Pam

denise said...

Funny how life is, and once again, I think we were possibly twins in another life. LOL

I like the chain of events that is bringing you closer to your desire to make a book (or books.)

and the "I am feeling dizzy" -- that is incredibly awesome!

An Urban Cottage said...

I remember painting with a woman who, after presenting paintings for three days for critique, we decided she should illustrate children's books because her plein air watercolors looked like something from a fairy tale. She was so offended. She didn't want to paint that way. I always thought that was silly.

It's great that you've recognized that about your artwork and don't want to change it because you want it to be something different. That makes it honest.

Anonymous said...

I think it is a gift to get children's attention and to be able to make something they like and wants to have!

I'm much like You when it comes to children :-) But there was this one kid, a boy that really didn't care about what I thought about children :-) So he is kind of my son since long now :-) :-)

I did however babysit for my sisters children a lot but even if I loved them I just can't say I liked to babysit at all :-) :-) :-)

Have a great day!

Robin Kent said...

Yes, I guess we're all like-minded with you. Hated babysitting. Never played with dolls. Used to dress my cat up in the doll clothes-much better bonding. Plus he couldn't run far due to stepping on the long lace-trimmed gown! He hated the bonnet and being in the doll carriage too, but always forgave me and slept with me all night. I think you can make art to appeal to the kid in all of us, doesn't have to be chrono-logical!

Mary Helen-Art Saves Lives said...

I see your book already!!! Go girl go!!! Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart