a new sketchbook

You can learn a lot from children.
If you tune in.
And pay attention.
They truly are Wise Beyond Their Years.
The first Art Club of the school year met on October 13, 2011.
It's an after school club.
We meet for one hour, twice a month, twelve times during the school year.
Just twelve.
Not nearly enough times to make art together.
That's why each student received a new sketchbook.
Pristine white pages.
Bound within a hard black cover.
Waiting.
For the children's artwork.
I wrote their first name on the cover and the spine.
In silver marker.
I held one up.
Before our first making art activity.
And read aloud the note I'd written.
And glued inside each book…

"Welcome to Art Club!
This sketchbook is yours to keep.
A place to doodle, draw and dream.
It is yours.
Experiment.
Have fun!
Try new things!
Imagine.
Stretch your wings and soar.
Remember, YOU are the artist!
What you create is going to be yours.
No one elseโ€™s.
It is unique to you.
That makes it special.
Just like you.
There is no right or wrong in art.
Think outside the box.
Color outside the lines.
Do your best!
Give it your all!
Try.
Try again.
Repeat.
Again and again.
Never stop creating.
Shine your Light.
For His Glory.
Sincerely,
Mrs. Baird"

Children don't need this reminder though.
To, "Never stop creating."
It's adults that do.
Grown Ups.
We're the one who forget.
I watched this group of twenty three children.
As they opened their new sketchbooks.
And began to fill them up.
Children are so creative.
They just ARE.
While working on their projects the room was quiet.
Concentrating.
Even though I'd said, "It's Club, not Class. You can talk."
Then, projects were put away.
And the sketchbooks opened.
Pencils poised and ready.
Ah, yes, THIS is Art Club.
Laughter.
Excited chatter.
Sharing their pictures with their friends.
I started to second guess my plan.
To send the sketchbooks home with them.
Partly, because I wanted to peek inside each one.
But I'd told them, "This sketchbook is yours to keep."
And I meant it.
Though I did encourage them.
To bring it back next time.
For drawing in.
When The Project was complete.
This is my second year teaching Art Club.
Oh, how I love making art with the children.
They only need me to hand out supplies.
And say, "Go!"
They are ready.
With overflowing ideas.
And boundless creative energy.
And so much talent.
They are so good for me.
I look as forward to Club Days as they do.
Maybe more so.
Because I know what project we're going to do.
For them, it's a surprise, each time.
They are Up For Anything.
What a thrill it was for me.
To give them each a new sketchbook.
A place for them to draw.
On all those Days In Between Club Times.
I bet they fill 'em up fast.
Faster than me.
I'm still workin' on mine.
From last December.
I'm about halfway through.
Give me time.
I'm gettin' there.
I haven't lost The Fun Of It.
Making Art, that is.
Children know.
Adults forget.
Consider this,
Your Reminder.

"It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child" ~ Pablo Picasso

How I LOVE this quote! The first I'd heard of it was on this sign, during the two weeks I recently spent at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, as my husband recovered from colon cancer surgery. It appeared as shown, in the center of a 4th floor display of children's artwork. I walked by there several times a day as I walked to the nearby cafe for meals. Sometimes I'd sit on a bench by the window, to drink it in, as the children's artwork soothed my frazzled nerves. The main reason I left the hospital when I did, ahead of my still recovering and captive there husband, was because our children were ready to see one of us and needing to sleep in their own beds, instead of at Grandma and Grandpa's house. I needed them too. Another factor, was that Art Club started in two days time, and I didn't want to miss the first club of the year. After my husband was diagnosed at the end of May, the teacher who oversees the clubs asked me several times if I was sure about remaining the Art Club Volunteer for the coming school year. I assured her, I was very sure. That, selfishly, I needed it for me. As an outlet for all the emotion of being a caregiver with a loved one fighting cancer. I needed the joy of it and the fun of it in my life, the challenge too. Something else to think about and motivation to keep creating. Even in the midst of this storm. She understood, and was quite relieved when I texted her that Tuesday evening to say I was home, and ask were the supplies here, and could I see her and collect them on Wednesday, the day before the first Art Club. It was a whirlwind. But it all came together. We meet again this coming Thursday! I. Can't. Wait. It's going to be so fun! Even though I'm not sure what our project is yet, because it depends on the mood I'm in, on the day we meet. You can bet It'll Be A Good One, because my husband was sprung from the hospital yesterday, after three weeks and two days away from home. He surprised us, by showing up at the door, around six o'clock in the evening. Last night my whole family slept under the same roof, and half the family is sleeping in, still. Life is very good. Right now. In this moment.

ยฉ 2011 Janean Baird, Turquoise Tangles

The Pink Rooster
http://my.opera.com/jbaird/blog/2011/10/19/the-pink-rooster

When Art Calls You Home (Part 1)
http://my.opera.com/jbaird/blog/2011/05/18/when-art-calls-you-home-part-1

Too Young For This
http://my.opera.com/jbaird/blog/2011/06/03/too-young-for-this

he gets it from you (A.T.B.)
http://my.opera.com/jbaird/blog/2011/05/23/he-gets-it-from-you-a-t-b

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20 thoughts on “a new sketchbook

  1. Originally posted by anonymous:

    Mary K writes:Janean,Beautifully written, both the poem and the following prose. You are such an inspiration!!!

    Thank YOU, Mary K., for continuing to encourage me in my writing. Thank you for your friendship and the many prayers you've said for my husband in recent months. I am the lucky one. ~ Janean

  2. Mary K writes:Janean,Beautifully written, both the poem and the following prose. You are such an inspiration!!!

  3. Originally posted by riehlife:

    I'm sending you a Turquoise Tangles Sketchbook. Didn't have the chance to copy out the inscription for the front of it.

    How lovely, Aunt Janet! Thank you in advance! I'm smiling at the inscription, as it sounds a bit familiar. I have a source, and am sure I can get my hands on it already typed in, printed and ready to glue. In the meantime I will continue to doodle, draw and dream in the sketchbook I've been workin' on since last year in early December. Love, Janean

  4. I'm sending you a Turquoise Tangles Sketchbook. Didn't have the chance to copy out the inscription for the front of it. So, dearest, here it is:Welcome to Art Club!This sketchbook is yours to keep.A place to doodle, draw and dream.It is yours.Experiment.Have fun!Try new things!Imagine.Stretch your wings and soar.Remember, YOU are the artist!What you create is going to be yours.No one elseโ€™s.It is unique to you.That makes it special.Just like you.There is no right or wrong in art.Think outside the box.Color outside the lines.Do your best!Give it your all!Try.Try again.Repeat.Again and again.Never stop creating.Shine your Light.For His Glory.

  5. Originally posted by greatZenaida:

    Wow…Nice blog and Interesting, yes it is we can learned from our own children certaily true…and by the way I am so glad to met you …actually I do volunteer work in the school …helping 4 reading and just do part time work during their break time at the school, so in my experienced yes it is, I learned so much how to handeling difficulties behavior some other kids…I'm doing it already for few yrs…also very good to my kids too, but my daughter she's now in high school and my son still in elementary in 5 grade they are doing fine…at this moment yes indeed children don't have to remind them but we are as adults simply forgotten so many beautiful things in life….I'm glad I saw this page of you…yes I have FB too…I will try to see you there too…have a nice day and see you soon maybe…Greetings ๐Ÿ˜€ :up: :heart:

    greatZenaida, Thanks for clickin' around and readin' more of what I've written. It means the world to me to know my words resonated with you in some way too. Children are special. No doubt about it! It's fun to know the ages and grades of yours. I have two boys. My oldest is in 6th grade and my youngest is in 3rd. They are growing up so fast! Originally posted by greatZenaida:

    yes..I saw your blog in FB…I even share one of your poems abt. " Fragile Handle With Care " …I did not read yet but I will… ๐Ÿ˜€

    Thank you for finding me on Facebook and for sharing one of my poems. :)~ Janean

  6. Originally posted by greatZenaida:

    I read a comment frm Ben by John's blog, actually I did great you already… but I think is very nice to great you here with your blog…so once again happy birthday and I wish you have nice celebration with your family…Blessings and regards :cheers: Your Wlcm! and have a nice weekend!!! ๐Ÿ˜€

    Thank you, great Zenaida! I did have a very nice birthday indeed. I will reply to your note on John's blog as well…makin' my way there next… May you have a wonderful weekend as well! ~ Janean ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Originally posted by greatZenaida:

    Ps…I am so sorry to read this news about your husband, it must be very diffecult for you…my compassion and prayer to you and your husband and kids…I just read it now, and I'm shocked a little but it's really brave of you to share this real story about your family…I wish you all the best that you can enduring the hardest time…. :up:

    Thank you for your prayers, Zena. That's what we need most of all. The pathology has been encouraging along the way. The treatments and surgeries have gotten the cancer we know about out of my husband's body. Now, six months of chemotherapy await to eradicate any microscopic molecules that are thinkin' about growing. We're going for the cure. WHEN he lives five years past the last treatment, then we'll breathe a sigh of relief that he was one of the lucky ones who beat stage four cancer. It's helped me to write about it. As hard as it is at times, it's helped me to have an outlet for the emotion of weight of his diagnosis. Most of the day by day writing we're doing at Caring Bridge. And there is so much more to say. Perhaps one day we will. Until then, The Journey is shared in snippets, in the quiet of early morning and late at night when my family sleeps and I can write uninterrupted. Pure Bliss for me. ~ Janean

  8. Originally posted by greatZenaida:

    …still working on it, but it's hard sometimes to stay in balance…making me nuts sometimes! Enjoy your day with your kids

    Oh, greatZenaida, Such WIse Words You Speak. This is a Universal Part of Motherhood. We ARE always workin' on it. Balance feels near impossible and always out of reach. And goin' nuts and a day spent with children go hand in hand. In A Good Way. We love 'em. We do. But sometimes, I tell my oldest son (age 11), I just need To Think My Own Thoughts for awhile. When he was little I used to say, "You're makin' me crazy!" But I'd say it with a grin and laugh. Then we found a t-shirt with that saying while on vacation. It's still a favorite of mine. The first time he heard my sister say, "You're driving me up the wall" he laughed, because he was picturing it, literally, in his mind. Likewise when she said, "You're making me nuts!" Neither were expressions he was familiar with because, "Crazy!" was what he heard from his Mama, Me. Still meandering over to John's blog…nearly to the post you commented on. I'm a few days behind in Opera correspondence. It's 6:15 a.m. here now. My family is still sleeping. How I love this Quiet Time. Time to write and dream and have lovely conversations with new friends who live across the world in miles, but whose heart I know, just the same. ~ Janean

  9. Originally posted by greatZenaida:

    ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† my son is playing Korfball and my husband bring him, so it's so very quiet at this moment, it's 13:25 in afternoon here…and my daughter taking shower and me do some shopping …okay I see you again…nice your reply…you making me more nuts! :yes: ๐Ÿ˜† :jester: Yeah about your husband….your wlcm! :bye:

    Enjoy your quiet and your shopping. I sure don't want to make you nuts, that's what family is for. ๐Ÿ˜‰ ~ Janean

  10. I hope this counts … maybe my daughter increased the chances for your husband to be one of the lucky ones … good luck, to him and to you, and to the Offspring.FWIW, I find this to help me a great deal in calming my mind; I don't know the words, and I'm not a Hindu, but just this magnificent voice chanting in my ears is wonderfully calming. The download is ridiculously short:http://www.archive.org/details/DalaiLamasHealingMantraIt is NOT the Dalai Lama, nor is it Buddhist … my daughter had it, and now I do, too. I understand it can be bought on CD, in better quality, but I have not done so.

  11. Originally posted by derWandersmann:

    I hope this counts … maybe my daughter increased the chances for your husband to be one of the lucky ones … good luck, to him and to you, and to the Offspring.FWIW, I find this to help me a great deal in calming my mind; I don't know the words, and I'm not a Hindu, but just this magnificent voice chanting in my ears is wonderfully calming. The download is ridiculously short:http://www.archive.org/details/DalaiLamasHealingMantraIt is NOT the Dalai Lama, nor is it Buddhist … my daughter had it, and now I do, too. I understand it can be bought on CD, in better quality, but I have not done so.

    Thank you for the kindness of sharing this soothing chant. I am listening to it now as I type this reply to you. The quality seems A OK to me. I saw the information with the review said, "Also the chant is from the Veda, which is Hindu not Buddhist. Tri-ambaka-m is the three-eyed one e.g. Lord Shiva." Cancer has taken so many too soon. We are hoping he can beat it, and praying with all we got. So far so good. About half way there. He has six weeks of simultaneous chemotherapy and radiation, and two surgeries behind him. With six months of twice a week, every other week chemotherapy ahead of him. Ahead of all of us, as you know by including luck for our boys and me. I've said from the beginning, "I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy." Not that have any enemies, but the sentiment is understood. ~ Janean

  12. Glad I could be of some help … You might look in at Unni's pages … a Norwegian lady and a writer, who is going through a similar ordeal at present, though her chances of a positive outcome are, I understand, virtually nil. Still, she goes on, having just got her book published.http://my.opera.com/Berith1/about/

  13. No, the grief stays, and it's a funny thing, in a way, because I have had several messages from her since she left, and she's perfectly all right. (Yeah, I'm one of those … my Cherokee call me a shaman, one who walks in two worlds at once, and maybe I am. Certainly enough queer things happen to me and around me. I always call myself a card-carrying member of The Lunatic Fringe. LOL) The grief is MINE, I reckon, and is not for her … it's my pain at being deprived of her and missing her, and is not for her suffering at being gone from this plane.

  14. Originally posted by derWandersmann:

    Glad I could be of some help … You might look in at Unni's pages … a Norwegian lady and a writer, who is going through a similar ordeal at present, though her chances of a positive outcome are, I understand, virtually nil. Still, she goes on, having just got her book published.http://my.opera.com/Berith1/about/

    der Wandersmann, Her blog is lovely! I look forward to diving in and reading more of what she's written. Thank you for pointing her in my direction. How wonderful about her book being published and a signing party I see from her most recent post. Such gorgeous photographs, even at a quick glance. I always knew my husband was strong, but I knew knew how strong physically and spiritually until he was diagnosed at the end of May. His body has been put through it, and when he was diagnosed he was a picture of health…on the outside. He amazes me. I am so thankful for the support system we have, of family and friends. I can't imagine going through it alone and am glad we don't have to. So sorry about your daughter's death. We spoke of it once before. Grief continues though. For years after their physical body is laid to rest. It's not an easy thing to navigate either. Thank you for your thoughtfulness. ~ Janean

  15. Originally posted by derWandersmann:

    No, the grief stays, and it's a funny thing, in a way, because I have had several messages from her since she left, and she's perfectly all right. (Yeah, I'm one of those … my Cherokee call me a shaman, one who walks in two worlds at once, and maybe I am. Certainly enough queer things happen to me and around me. I always call myself a card-carrying member of The Lunatic Fringe. LOL) The grief is MINE, I reckon, and is not for her … it's my pain at being deprived of her and missing her, and is not for her suffering at being gone from this plane.

    How wonderful to have the peace of knowing she is all right. I had that after my Grandma's death a year ago. It was the first time I experienced peace like that. A calmness. A quiet within. The assurance she was in a better place and reunited with my grandfather in Heaven. He had died seven years before. The Lunatic Fringe is a new term to me. Probably because it's been said of me, but not to my face or in ear shot. Here is a piece by John, that may resonate with you as well. Read the comments about my experience with The Universe. http://my.opera.com/lokutus-prime/blog/2011/11/27/the-universe-has-ebb-and-flowI learned about grief when my aunt died suddenly in a car accident in August 2004, and I watched my family process the loss of her. It was five years before we could gather without tears and visible hurt at her absence. Now we can speak of her with laughter and love, more than tears. ~ Janean

  16. Wow…Nice blog and Interesting, yes it is we can learned from our own children certaily true…and by the way I am so glad to met you …actually I do volunteer work in the school …helping 4 reading and just do part time work during their break time at the school, so in my experienced yes it is, I learned so much how to handeling difficulties behavior some other kids…I'm doing it already for few yrs…also very good to my kids too, but my daughter she's now in high school and my son still in elementary in 5 grade they are doing fine…at this moment yes indeed children don't have to remind them but we are as adults simply forgotten so many beautiful things in life….I'm glad I saw this page of you…yes I have FB too…I will try to see you there too…have a nice day and see you soon maybe…Greetings ๐Ÿ˜€ :up: :heart:

  17. yes..I saw your blog in FB…I even share one of your poems abt. " Fragile Handle With Care " …I did not read yet but I will… ๐Ÿ˜€

  18. I read a comment frm Ben by John's blog, actually I did great you already… but I think is very nice to great you here with your blog…so once again happy birthday and I wish you have nice celebration with your family…Blessings and regards :cheers: Your Wlcm! and have a nice weekend!!! ๐Ÿ˜€

  19. :up: ๐Ÿ˜€ :yes: it can wait :wait: nothing to be hurry! ๐Ÿ˜† I think in our stage of our life…I can't be at the same time animore…getting less and less ~my flexibility do you get this for me…coz I experienced oftenly and still working on it, but it's hard sometimes to stay in balance…making me nuts sometimes! ๐Ÿ˜† see you :coffee: Enjoy your day with your kids :jester: ๐Ÿ˜Ž Ps…I am so sorry to read this news about your husband, it must be very diffecult for you…my compassion and prayer to you and your husband and kids…I just read it now, and I'm shocked a little but it's really brave of you to share this real story about your family…I wish you all the best that you can enduring the hardest time…. :up: :heart: :love: A song for you…Someone Who Believes In You!!!! :heart:

  20. ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† my son is playing Korfball and my husband bring him, so it's so very quiet at this moment, it's 13:25 in afternoon here…and my daughter taking shower and me do some shopping …okay I see you again…nice your reply…you making me more nuts! :yes: ๐Ÿ˜† :jester: Yeah about your husband….your wlcm! :bye:

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