"I can't sing," Doot says when I ask if he'd like to join in our circle for Wawa. He sees me move to interject. I don't even need to say, "Everyone can sing." We've rehearsed this one. "You're right, I should clarify," he adds quickly, "I can't sing WELL." "You're missing the point," I tell him. He's not convinced.
Make a joyful noise, I say. Write, sing, play an instrument or two or three, draw, paint, cook, sew, knit. Create. Laugh. Love. It's all the stuff of life. The molecules that form life's heart are full of chaotic noise and dropped stitches and a green crayon cat whose whiskers are so long they flow off the sides of the page. As a society, we are very good at letting children know, as they stand vulnerable on the cusp of adulthood, that if they don't show conventional talent in an area, they should desist or open themselves up to ridicule. You might just as well tell them to eat only foods that please their palates, those that offer instant gratification, at the expense of others that they need to nourish them.
My children and I belong to a homeschool choir. There are no very confident singers amongst the adults (all women), but my goodness we can make a beautiful noise when we all join our faltering voices together and sing from our hearts.
All this is my way of telling you that number 24 on my list of 52 habits is "Draw with Ni once a week." Both of my children are passionate artists. Wawa seemed born to it. Ni has grown into it a little more with every passing year. I, of course, am far too busy with important adult things like laundry and cutting up cardboard with a utility knife so that it will fit nicely in the recycling bin, except once a week, when I aim to draw with my children. Not because I am good at it, but because it is good for me.
Having admired traditional and modern Aboriginal artworks and artifacts at Bunjilaka at the Melbourne Museum, we searched online and found images of a diverse range of works identifying as Aboriginal art. We discussed what we saw; the colours, techniques that might have been used, what we liked about our favourites and what inspiration we might draw from them. The idea was not to emulate what we saw, but to see what response the works elicited in us.
Ni tried pointillism for this dibby (truck) that she drew for Wawa.
She developed her technique for this beautiful tree.
Wawa, influenced by her favourite artist (Ni) used the same technique for this drawing, along with some artfully rendered squiggles.
Mine is a rather flat-looking, but likeable echidna.
Doot politely declined to participate. :)