Before leaving to take some students on a trip to Paris, I was enjoying watching two generations of my family (my son and my father) graffiti the newspaper with a black marker pen. They chose the sports section and spent about forty minutes drawing facial hair, speech bubbles, glasses, nasal eruptions, bottom explosions and virtually every other kind of ‘hilarious’ additions to the photographs one could imagine. It was such fun to watch as they entertained each other with silly ideas and witty – though often tasteless – doodles. My Dad whistles whilst he sketches. It is something I have always loved and it has made me feel from the very youngest age that drawing was really a WONDERFUL activity. One which I hope my son enjoys equally as much.
We asked this man to take a group photo of us in Paris and he took three really lovely shots and then used the front facing camera to take a selfie. We had been marvelling on our trip at how many people were sticking their faces in FRONT of the art works and trying to capture themselves with the image of the Mona Lisa or Rodin’s Thinker. It baffled me as to why it feels so essential to ‘become one’ with the art work and places, as though capturing the moment in time to prove that you were there; that you connected with the place. It asks whether we want so desperately to show the world that we are here, we shout it from the rooftops in our newsfeeds and blogs and profiles. I’M HERE! AND I’M NEXT TO AN AMAZING PAINTING – LOOK AT US. I MEAN THE PAINTING IS OK…BUT I’M PRETTY WONDERFUL TOO! As it happens this man was completely wonderful and took lovely shots of us and was terribly kind. I loved that he ‘signed’ his work with his selfie signature – very fitting and a sign of the times. Whoever you are, thank you very much – just please don’t get a selfie-stick! 🙂
This just could not have made me happier. During the journey back to London I was sitting with three teenage boys. I know they were probably delighted that I sat with them, promising not to listen to their conversation and assuring them that I felt lucky to be in such good company (I’m pretty sure that’s about as bad as it gets when you’re a teenager and the teacher sits with you….but I had no choice, there were no other seats!). So I took out my sketch book and started to draw. Ten minutes later after a bit of mobile phone excitement, the boys were all watching my sketching out of their peripheral vision. One said “I really fancy drawing too!” and was immediately offered some paper. Then the other two asked for some paper too and suddenly we were a table of four of us, all sketching, These guys were Art History students who felt they had left behind their own drawing days. They saw me drawing and felt the need to join in. They were sketching eyes and buildings and then drawing doodles. It was lovely. It made my day. I was able to reassure them that it’s not about drawing to make something ‘perfect’, it’s just good to create and express yourself. And, I saved them some phone battery power!