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patterns of ink

How fruitless to be ever thinking yet never embrace a thought... to have the power to believe and believe it's all for naught. I, too, have reckoned time and truth (content to wonder if not think) in metaphors and meaning and endless patterns of ink. Perhaps a few may find their way to the world where others live, sharing not just thoughts I've gathered but those I wish to give. Tom Kapanka

Saturday, April 28, 2007

"But, Dad, I Wasn't Going for Abstract!"

Last night we spent the evening in the home of some Korean friends whom we've become close to this year. Then today we had a wedding all afternoon and the Jr-Sr Prom this evening. After our duties were over at that event, we went by to pick up our daughter who'd spent the day at a friend's house.

Whenever these two girls are together for more than a few hours, they do creative things like tie-dye shirts, string bracelets, sand art in glass bottles, pot-holder flip flops (tie the loops into multi-color bows all over the straps), miniature snowmen (that fit all across the window sill outside) just to name a few. Today they bought little 8" x 10" canvases at Hobby Lobby and painted pictures.

As we came in the door, Nat approached me with something behind her back and said, "Do you want to see a really awful painting?"

"I'm sure it's not awful. Let's have a look."

"I call it 'The Storm.'" She said, holding it up.

"Cool, an abstract!" I said in earnest.

"But, Dad, I wasn't going for abstract," she sighed.

"Do you even know what 'abstract' is?" I asked my eleven-year-old.

"Yeah, it's when what you painted doesn't look like what you say it is, but this does look like what it is. The purple is a cloud and this blue is the rain coming down and the dark gray is a rock. Don't you see it?"

"Yes, I see it perfectly. I like it, and it's even more beautiful through your eyes, but you should know that 'abstract' is not an insult. It lets me imagine why you called it that, why a storm cloud might be majestic purple, and how rain can fall so hard that nothing can be seen but the solid rock. That's actually very meaningful. Do you know what a metaphor is?"

"A word picture? Like 'You are my sunshine'?"

"Right, and what might the rock in the picture be?"

"A foundation. Like in the song, 'The wise man built his house upon the rock.'"

"Exactly! So here you have three elements in a picture that show us who brings the storms of life and what gets us through them. We would not have seen this meaning if it were a photographic image showing everything as it really is. Not everyone will see what we're talking about, but you and I do. That's the beauty of abstract. Now do you see?"

"Yes, but it still looks real to me."

"It is, Nat, it is...."
[I hope to post Part IV Sunday night.]


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey dad!!
Thanks for writing this post for me!
It means ALOT!!!
By the way,I gave my dad permission to use my picture (that I thought was awful.) :-)

Dad,I see what you mean about abstract...but I think abstract artists know that they are doing abstract things before they paint it!! :-)

I Love you soo much!!

28/4/07 10:15 PM  
Blogger JR's Thumbprints said...

I have a certain fondness for artwork generated by our youth. There's an unlimited amount of potential coming through abstract paintings and I can only imagine what it may be.

29/4/07 2:19 AM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

When this little conversation happened last night, I wanted to share it. At first, Nat was kind of shy about it, but then she said, "If you do can I leave a comment?" Of course she could. (She has left comments before, but she is starting to get interested in this whole blogging thing. From reading over my shoulder, she knows most of you by your nick names, etc.)
I love "teachable moments" and in this case I think "the teacher" learned more than "the student"--that happens often with "teachable moments."

29/4/07 7:30 AM  
Blogger Josie said...

Picasso once said, "For all of my life I have been learning to paint like a child." It's so true. Please tell you daughter this is a wonderful little painting, and I love it. (And I can see the cloud and the rain falling on the solid rock.)


29/4/07 12:45 PM  
Blogger Jody said...

Beautiful. The painting, the 'meaning behind it', the lessons taught and learned through this piece, and the comments here. =) I understand the metaphors perfectly. Tell Nat I am inspired to go get a canvas and paint. I think I'll grab some extras for my kids too. Thank you for this post- both of you!

29/4/07 1:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MY dad said that someone might see the same painting and think it was "purple rain" or someone from kentucky might call it "Blue Grass"
BUT trust me it is a storm.

thanks for liking my picture!
BY the way i am the girl with my dad in the photo my his profile thingy!

my dad is taking a nap so won't he be surprised that i have "taken over" his blog.:-)
ohhh the friend who painted with me was Kayla.

29/4/07 2:04 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

I tell you what... a dad takes a nap and look what happens! =)
(Actually I've been up for a few hours but had a "honey do" list of small things that didn't get done on this busy weekend.)
I'll just say "ditto" to what Nat said. She is not here right now, but I think she had fun with this.

29/4/07 5:47 PM  
Blogger the walking man said...

The funny thing about abstract art is the title comes last. So the artist can actually mess up what they started to do and then title it to fit the image yet in the case of the cloud the rain and the rock, the title came first in the minnd of the artist and she made an honorable representation of what she wanted the world to see.

In my mind after hearing the artists explanation of the iconography of the painting I think I would have to put it more in the category of minimalist realism.

Yet either or one way or the other categories make no difference as long as what the artist says with their work touches the heart of the viewer and this little piece to touch the heart for there are so many torrents that a person foes through and while looking to clouds praying for a break in the rain a rock is a good place to be...generally they don't attract lightning.

Very well done kid...as your old man would say...keep painting (sic writing)



29/4/07 9:41 PM  
Blogger the walking man said...

"and this little piece to touch"

should read and this little piece does touch the heart...

my bad

peace twice kiddo


29/4/07 9:44 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

I think your right about the minimalist realism, but I would have really thrown her for a loop with that one--although come to think of it, she may have been able to explain it to me. She has had some good teachers.
Thanks for stopping by. I sense your thoughts are spoken from one who knows about the storms of life...

29/4/07 10:28 PM  

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