A couple of weeks ago I was happily enjoying a weekend visit with my niece, Val. During one of our painting sessions she produced this lovely peacock for me. I love it and am in total awe of her talent at such a young age.
Val and I talk about art often, its one of our favorite subjects and I love these conversations we share. Her precociousness often reminds me of myself when I was her age. While she was painting this lovely peacock we talked about painting from photos or life versus drawing from her imagination. She painted this peacock from a photo she found online, but made it clear to me that she works “better” from her imagination. I had a bit of déjà vu moment when she said that! I remember very clearly as if it was yesterday when I was 12 years old and talking with my middle school art teacher, telling her the very same thing!!
I thought the very same thing about myself, when in actuality I think it was just easier for my 12 year old self to draw from my imagination than to train my artistic eye and look at an image. When you look at something and don’t “succeed” in perfectly replicating the image with paint or pencil it can feel discouraging, but when something is from your imagination then who is to say that you didn’t draw what you intended.
Eventually I learned to “look” at something and not feel that discouragement that would weigh on me when I was younger. Val clearly has a talent for “looking” even if it can be a struggle for her at times to train her artistic eye. I could be just a teeny bit bias since I am her Aunt and number one fan, but I find her work to be fearless and vibrant. And knowing that she challenged herself with this image makes me so proud of her! I made sure to hang this on my wall next to some of her other work and hope it encourages her to challenge her artistic eye with her future work whether it be from her imagination or from an image she finds.
What are your thoughts? Do you have a similar experience as a kid or with a young one? do you prefer your work created solely from your imagination or work created from an image?