The Art of Life

Ax’s art has become representational rather than the joyful looping scrawls of last week. I’ve had nothing to do with this phenomenon other than providing drawing materials and a place to use them at home. At preschool who knows what kind of guidance he gets. His teacher says art is Ax’s thing, he just goes for it and gets in the zone. His latest representational stuff is quite nice. But man I loved his earlier abstract work. It’s a new era. His favorite subjects for drawing and painting these days seem to be rockets, helicopters, mountains, and people hanging out of helicopters rescuing people and animals on mountains. Frequently there is fire on the mountains. Or the mountains are volcanoes. I swear.

Here’s how real time this blog is. Ax just brought me a fresh picture he did while I was writing the beginning of this piece, which was maybe going to be about manhood, or growing up, or evolving whether we like it or not, or how I don’t get to control who he is, or who knows what. I’m never sure where I’m going until I’m already there.

“It’s for you,” Ax said, holding out the paper. I took it and saw bold colors, with a yellow circle, some blue lines, a clump of scraggy orange at the top, and a wavy line of brown at the bottom. “It’s gorgeous,” I said, “Tell me all about it,” I asked, cradling the picture in my hands. “It’s a sunset with rain,” he said, pointing at the orange scrag with blue lines streaking down. “And there’s the beach,” indicating the brown squiggle.

I got a little teary with joy, with how sweet and empathic this boy is. It is a beautiful picture, and a subject dear to me that somehow he nailed without my ever telling him what I liked him to draw, or how. He just knew. And then he went back to the other end of the table and drew his dad a helicopter mountain rescue scene.