The daughter came hurtling into the room bursting with something to share, her brother in quick pursuit. I was sprawled on my stomach across the bed surrounded by a bunch of books. She looked surprised at finding me indoors instead of hustling people to come and enjoy the outdoors, and said “How come you aren’t flitting with the butterflies?”
The skies were blue, the air pure, the trees outside looked splendid and inviting, the first shy cherry blossoms were peeping out, the first of my tulip shoots were making their way out of the ground much to my delight.
I snorted and said, that just because the day looks awesome outside does not mean that I have to ‘flit like a butterfly’. Besides, it was perfect Gluggavedur weather. (Gluggavedur is a delightful Icelandic word that signifies, ‘Window weather’ – beautiful from the inside, but too cold to go outside.)
I know I have yearned for the right word many times. (A word for the cool breeze that hits your face when you run down a mountain for instance: Zephyr Tales) This book, What a Wonderful Word, taps into that feeling with words from many cultures across the world.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yes: I looked dignified and mature. It is done by setting the chin at an awkward angle, and giving the impression of one finding a skunk when one lifted the bushes to find a squirrel.
“A mature adult can do many things!” I said.
“Like reading children’s books?” said she.
I laughed hard and she joined in. Mature indeed!
One time she found me doing Yoga with a beautiful Children’s book open, and checking out the illustrations from various angles. This act of whimsy earned me the loving and coveted label that teenagers award rarely, “You are SO weird! That is such a you-thing, why am I not even surprised?”
Much later when I read Upstream by Mary Oliver, I was glad to see that I was doing something right – the whimsical part at least.
“You must not ever stop being whimsical. And you must not, ever, give anyone else the responsibility for your life.”
― Mary Oliver, Wild Geese
Some of my favorite things to do is flip through children’s books. The illustrations on some of them made me admire the books on wholly different levels.
How an artist comes up with conceptualization, the drawings themselves, and the whole process that goes into making children’s books is amazing. Every book is a testament to creativity, teamwork, solidarity, the calling of the eternal, and so much more. When asked to critique a piece of Art, I would trip up on a few things like techniques, styles, brush strokes, paint colors, paint directions, canvas quality etc. But I can appreciate good Art when I see it, and describe it with the word, Beautiful.
I was book-flitting like butterflies, very happy with the set of books I was flitting through.
“See! See this book – how can people even conceptualize a piece like this? Hmm…what would we do without Children’s books?”
I was surprised she had no snarky comeback – it is seldom so. Blessed as she is with sharp wit, it is usually me that has Espirit D’Escalier episodes. I looked up, and saw her immersed in the beautiful drawing in the children’s book I showed her. She spends a good amount of her time doodling and definitely with more success than Yours Truly.
Rob Gonsalves book, Imagine A World, was definitely mesmerizing. The almost seamless transitions within the Art that hid multiple layers and concepts was work of genius. A sample piece shown below – you can also head on over to his site that has more Art work.
The book reminded me of Mary Oliver’s Quote:
“Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.”
― Mary Oliver
Magical Realism is Gonsalves’ speciality, and I am so glad to have picked up the book. It is easy to see the pictures over and over again – being immersed in them over again.
I am the first to admit that I am no Art Critic, just a child admiring the work of artists whose touch of the eternal we are blessed to see.
Also read: Dr Seuss’s Art