Monday, February 25, 2013

And that one Talent which is death to hide . . . (from John Milton’s sonnet, On His Blindness)

A post from Melissa
Last fall I entered the drawings below in a hand craft competition in a tiny local fair. This was not an art fair, but a sweet little country fair with carnival rides and funnel cakes. First prizes in handcrafts were blue ribbons and eight dollars. I earnestly hoped for two firsts to exactly cover the cost of the matting and clip-on glass frames I bought at Hobby Lobby. I got two seconds. So it goes when your tender babe takes on sharply detailed  tractors—and modest clip-ons don’t stand a chance next to layered matting and fancy gold frames. (The handcraft competition is part of the so-called Ladies’ Fair, a subset of the entire fair. Do you really have to be a lady to enter, I wonder? Will my husband, the crack doily knitter, have to enter as me when he finally gets around to it, or will he be limited to horse shoe tossing and hay bale rolling? And did a lady really draw that tractor? I must say I enjoyed being so out of step with our culture’s gender-role skittishness.)

This is a sketch of my now three-year old daughter back when she took a lot of naps. I used a dark brown Prismacolor pencil.

This is also Prismacolor colored pencil. It was my entry choice mainly because it fit into a standard  Hobby Lobby frame. I drew it at a time when I was designing directly onto good paper without  graphite or erasers, a helpful attempt to short circuit a stifling concern about getting it right.      
Submitting these pieces was an important step for me as an artist, even critical. Seeing my work in tidy little frames was surprisingly motivating, and entering the Ladies’ Fair was an easy and obvious way to take my lonely little talent of silver out of its backyard grave (see Matthew 25:14-30 in the New Testament) and invest it somehow. Starting up this art blog seemed like another step.
My husband is actually not a crack doily knitter. Sadly, none of his talents line up with Ladies’ Fair categories.
Tune in tomorrow to meet the other half of the anthemsweet team, my lovely daughter Lucy.

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