Just recently I had the good fortune to travel to France. While I was there, one of the top places on my list to visit was the Palace of Versailles. The Palace of Versailles was the principal royal residence of France from 1682 until the start of the French Revolution in 1789. It was during this time that the royals who lived there helped make the palace a work of art. And as far as I'm concerned, they did a great job.
A palace, as a work of art? Yes!! Not only the paintings and sculptures that adorn the rooms are art, the actual walls, furniture and even ceilings are art. Walking into each room I was hit with something even more beautiful to look at. There were murals on the ceilings. There were huge sculptures and bust forms that decorated the rooms. Wooden furniture had carvings in them with crazy cool designs. There is even a room called the Hall of Mirrors which sounds like it wouldn't be that great but it so is! Google it!
When I was walking through this amazing palace, I was not just struck by how beautiful the monarchs who lived there had designed and decorated it, but I also thought, "How did these artist think of these things?" I'm sure that the artists were given guidelines or told what to do exactly but to have decorated every inch of a palace takes a lot of creative juice! So many different skilled artist must have been needed. Painters, sculptors, weavers, furniture makers, you name it, they had to have contributed to the awesomeness of this place. My eyes just can't get enough of the over the top beauty and my mind just reals and then, out of nowhere, I think of my oldest son.
Gavin, the oldest of my three boys, is most assuredly an artist. His artistic skills are strongest in writing, story telling and acting. Drawing, coloring and most of what you do in art class just wasn't and still aren't, his thing. Cool. I always tried to impress on my sons that everyone is different and has different skills. Thank goodness. How boring it would be in life if that weren't the case. Everything and everyone the same? No thanks. But still, even if art class wasn't where your passion was, you still need to participate and do your best. Easy peasy.
One morning I was picking Gavin up from pre-school. It was spring and by the looks of all the projects that his classmates were carrying they had been given the outline of a flower to decorate. “How fun”, was my first thought. I would love to do that. My mind starts thinking of all the cool things you can do with the simple outline of a flower. Color, paint, add pom poms, the sky’s the limit. And then I saw Gavin. In his hand was the outline of a white flower with a single piece of torn purple construction paper haphazardly glued across it. I think my eyes bugged out of my head. This didn't look like “participating and trying” to me. Mrs. Brown, Gavin's teacher, must have seen my reaction and said with kindness, "He's a minimalist."
I took a deep breath. "You're right. He is," was my response. Of course I knew that. The art that I saw in the Palace of Versailles, the Impressionist artwork that I can't get enough of is not the art that stirs Gavin's soul. It's mine. I have no doubt that Gavin went home after school, had his lunch and then played with his toys and created story a world more elaborate than I could ever imagine. The way Gavin and I creatively express ourselves is different, and if I listen to what I preached to my sons, perfect. I also now take time to appreciate different types of art that might not appeal to me at first glance. I want to get to know those amazing creative souls. I found out that they are pretty special too.
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