Apr 10 2012

#346 “Roots”

From a stranger in Nashville, Tennessee

To some this illustration may look like just another example of a child’s simple yet imaginative rendering of a wolf in the wild: green grass; yellow sun; fluffy trees;┬ásmiling lupine subject. In many ways the simplest analysis of this illustration may very well be the best one, but at the same time I can’t help but be drawn to those thick-rooted trees when I look at this picture and feel that there is some symbolism there. Just as these roots reach deeply into the soil, this simple WBS project has also become firmly rooted into the hearts, minds, and souls of strangers the world over. At first the collection started as a lone sapling, but now- nearly a year later- a veritable forest has sprung up amongst us. And with Springtime in full bloom, the growth of this woodland shows no signs of slowing…


Dec 11 2011

#225 “Magical Forest”

From Elowyn in Chattanooga, Tennessee

The notion that wolves often reside in forests is nothing new to most of us, but something about this particular patch of woods depicted by 10-year-old Elowyn speaks to me in a way that is more powerful than I would have anticipated. There’s something almost Tolkien about the woods in which this complacent wolf finds itself, something magical, almost supernatural in certain ways. The trees and branches intertwine in a beautiful macrame of twisted wonder. Green shrubs sprout freely from the fertile soil of the enchanted ground. Birds and squirrels twitter and chirp in an innocent chorus of natural beauty. And in the midst of it all sits the majestic king of this charmed woodland, the lupine lord of the forest.

This is world so magical and so full of wonder that it could only be the brainchild of a young lady. Even her name, Elowyn, seems to represent her enchanted themes. Even though they are not pictured here, her work brings to mind scenes of knights and castles, elves and goblins, wizards and warriors. Ultimately, there is an endearing juxtaposition between the artist’s relative inexperience in life and her enduring themes of mystery and wonder. Although she is young, Elowyn has artistically produced a mystifying forest that seems older than time itself. In the end it all goes to show that perhaps those who have just recently entered this world have a more innate connection with the supernatural wonder of it. It makes one wonder where we came from, where our souls resided before they entered this material world. And all of this from the hand of a child, a hand that held Crayola crayons…


Oct 19 2011

#172 “Innocence”

From Meagan in Chattanooga, TN (8-years-old)

The wonder of childhood artistry can become a bit mysterious at times. It seems that when we assess or analyze an illustration born from the mind and hand of a child that we tend to polarize our reactions. We either gloss over the details of the work rather quickly and don’t give the piece much conscious thought at all or we peer deeply into the supposed meaning of the work and turn each detail over in our brains with painstaking detail. The problem with the first scenario is that doesn’t adequately address any part of the work, and the problem with the second is that meaning is searched for so fervently that the nature of the art itself often becomes completely lost.

In my opinion, the proper analysis of childhood art is one that is both external as well as deep, and ultimately I feel that the best way to accomplish this is to sets our sights first and foremost on an appreciation of the innocence of the childhood imagination. I fully believe that adults can be just as imaginative and creative as children, if not more so. But over time there seems to be a certain level of innocence that is lost in the imaginative power of adults. Our creative ideas often seem tainted with a hint of depravity or perversion. As we grow older we somehow think that in order to be imaginative we must be twisted, creepy, and perverse. But the beauty of the childhood imagination is that it is creative but also pure and clean.

So in conclusion, when I lay my eyes upon these wonderful illustrations by young Meagan, I don’t gloss over them without a second thought, nor do I try to break down the significance of every line and mark. I simply appreciate it for what it is: imaginative, fun, creative and refreshingly wholesome.

Keep up the good work, Meagan. You’re going to be a great artist someday!