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State of the Art

Filed in:Alexandra

State of the Art

January 19th, 2008  · stk

Alex's art has changed dramatically, over the past year. The growth in her artwork from 3 years to 4 years is amazing. Have a look back at her accomplishments, in this retrospective: "Alex: A Year of Art" (which also includes a pure-CSS 'popInfo' slide show).

Alex: A Year of Art

A simple typo would change the title to "A Year o fArt"! LOL! You've got to love English, eh?

Hey, teasing aside, I love my little girl! It's more challenging some times than others, however. I'm thinking of this morning, when, at 6:15 AM, I woke up with her face 2 millimeters from mine.

"Daddy, Daddy," she said. The sound was muffled through my ear plugs, but I heard her say, "You need to wake up."

"Why?" I asked, still very groggy, "What's the matter?"

"I have to watch T.V.," she said, matter-of-factly.

"Ah, no you don't," I replied, "For one, it's too early and for two, you're going to day-care today."

"Whaaaa!" she cried, running out of the room and leaving me with an unexpected, loud and way-too-early wake-up call.

Even with the temper tantrums and the repetitive questions, Alex (also known as "the Oop", a family nickname) is generally a pretty good kid. If she's not pestering the cat, watching television, playing computer games, turning her room into a disaster zone or "helping" us with tasks, Alex can be found doing artwork. She LOVES art! (What kid doesn't?)

It's been interesting to watch her artwork change, over the course of the past year. She's now almost four and a half years old. She's becoming a "big girl" and it's starting to show in her art.

For one thing, Crayola crayons are less often broken into bits and used as "soup" or "kids" or "whatever" in her play. They're less often found lying about the house, as they're now utilized for their intended purpose - art - and kept in her plastic crayola tub.

This has been a nice change, but it's not as remarkable as what she's doing with the crayons. A year ago, she was learning to color BETWEEN the lines. After she mastered that, it was time to learn color-appropriate drawing. (You know ... elephants are grey, not purple ... plant leaves are green, not multi-colored, etc.) During the year, she began to experiment with free-form drawings. Then, this fall, she drew her first "object" (a "portrait" of Tuxedo, our cat). Soon after, other things began to follow. She went through a "flower" stage. Now she's starting to draw PEOPLE!

In fact, I'm now the proud owner of a self portrait she did, where she drew herself and then me! An "Dad 'n Oop" picture! (Be still my beating heart)!

These developments are amazing to behold and I know that sooner than we can blink, she'll be all grown up and out of the house. I'm already ruing that day, but I try to make each of these moments last, because they are so precious.

As much as I love my little girl and her art, we don't save any of it. I don't want to end up with drawers full of old art. Instead, I scan them into digital files and save them (along with our monthly photos). We think it's a great way to keep her art without taking up physical storage and then we've got a chronologically stored history of her artistic development!

It was after looking back at her art, over the course of the year, that her development became apparent. In an effort to demonstrate her accomplishments and to showcase her work, I've put together a "popInfo" "popInfo" CSS Technique. popInfo is a pure XHTML/CSS method that makes this pop-up information box. It's cross-browser and standards-compliant code (no javascript). It saves page real estate, adds information, interactivity and is search engine optimized. princess oop art Learn more about "popInfo" by clicking the link (or anywhere inside the popInfo box). <-- More "Alex Art"! This drawing is from the "princess series" (she was - still is - enamored by princesses of all kinds). I've probably scanned 20 or so "princess" drawings! show. It includes 13-months of her artwork, from January 2007 to today. There's a representative picture from each month, plus a brief description of each piece.

In fact, the background on this page is one of her recent works. It's titled, "Sidney" (she's the 13-year-old girl that lives next door, who often babysits Alex). You can see that she's now combining her "flowers" with "people"! I wonder what will be next?

To see the "Year of Art" slideshow (or another way of using the "popInfo" pure-CSS technique) .... carry on ....


The background on this page shows an outline of Alex's hand. (For a while, last year, she was keen on having Mom or Dad pencil an outline of her hand, which she would then color). The drawing has been muted a bit, to work as a background, but the real version makes for very colorful refrigerator art!

Of course, that's where all the great art of the world is showcased. (Just ask Picasso's Mom) What would be the state of children's art be without fridge magnets, eh?

Because we don't save Alex's art, I often mail her works out to grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins ... either as a "thank you" for some gift, or as a "hey, we're thinking about you and here's some new 'fridge art' to brighten your day" kind-of thing.

Not all of Alex's artwork is flat and so not all of it can be scanned. I take digital photos of those pieces. Last year, those have been mostly play-doh creations. I suspect, however, when she begins kindergarten (next autumn), they'll be more and more of those types of art projects.

Alex wants to be a "big girl" so badly, that she's gotten very serious about her artwork. For a brief while, Alex referred to drawing as "doing homework". This came about because Sidney, the 13-year-old girl next door, who sometimes play with Alex, has real homework. In an effort to emulate this important activity, Alex began to say, "I can't Daddy ... (go get the mail, or whatever) ... I have to do 'homework'".

jan oop art santa "Santa Claus" At age 3, Alex discovered color! Though she was still struggling to 'stay between the lines', her art evolved past her former mono-colored scribbling and went technicolor! This made for some GREAT fridge art! | feb oop art pooh "Drawing with Pooh" Alex went beyond Crayola crayons, experimenting with other drawing tools. Felt tipped pen is what was used for portions of this drawing. Though colorful, there was a still a lack of consistency with color (red arm, green nose, purple ear, etc). | mar oop art easter bunny "Easter Bunny" Alex demonstrated that she could stay between the lines, with this drawing, which was a "contest" drawing put on by the local grocery store. (Alex didn't 'win', but her bunny was hung up for display). | apr oop art easter basket "Easter Basket" Back to the multi-colored, line-challenged drawings that seem to dominate Alex's work. It bothered Dad (a lot more than Mom) that Alex just couldn't stay between the lines. :p | may oop art may Princess Series In late spring, Alex took a fancy to "princesses". She'd ask me to find a princess drawing on the Internet, for her to color. Here's one (green with envy?) from that series. Click to read "The World According to Oop" | jun oop art technicolor "Lady Bugs" At the height of Alex's technicolor phase, she made a series of free-form abstract drawings. The goal seemed to be to fill every available inch of paper with color. (She's now more consistently stying between the lines though). :D | jul oop art finger painting "Finger Paint" Using some acrylic paints, Alex had fun daubing primary colors onto glossy paper. In total "the Oop" technicolor style, she covered every inch with paint. Some turned out very nice! (Several of Rachel's co-workers commented on the beauty of Alex's finger-painting creations). | aug oop art aug Princess Series - "Ariel" Finally, to Dad's over-emphasized, obsessive, compulsive delight ... Alex masters "the lines"! As an added bonus, the Oop began to display some color-appropriate artistic skills as well, though it's noted that Ariel appears to have put on a tad too much white powder (or ... only her arms and shoulders are tan). ;) | sep oop art butterfly "Butterfly" At the pinnacle of Alex's "between the lines" phase, she began to create intricate and quite colorful drawings. Lucky is the grandparent that was sent "Butterfly", which is the piece that best represents this phase! | oct oop art tuxedo cat "Tuxedo" The role that our cat, Tuxedo, plays in Alex's life cannot be understated. He was the first thing her eyes tracked, the first word she spat out, the first thing she chased and now ... the very first portrait she made. The colors may be off a bit, he may be missing front legs, his whiskers may look more like insect legs ... but Dad was bloody proud when the Oop came up with this surprise drawing! | nov oop art flower "Flower" Alex's free-form portraiture abilities continue to grow. She went through a flower phase, where she made a number of similar drawings. The sky and ground are always thin lines at the top and bottom. The large flower is missing leaves, but it's clearly a colorful representation of a flower. Maybe the Oop has fond memories of her "Sunflower Project"? ;) Click to read about her "Sunflower Project". | dec oop art santa "Santa Claus" Wow! Alex is now drawing PEOPLE! (And she's doing about as well as Dad can do, too!) I was informed that this was Santa Claus, by the artist herself. "See Daddy, those are his big boots!" It's not her best people drawing, but it's a remarkable difference with last year's Santa picture! | jan oop art dad "Dad 'n Oop" Okay. Call me a proud papa, but when Alex drew this self-portrait and then added me, I was over the moon happy about it! She even wrote the "Dad" bit, all on her own! I thought it was spatially appropriate too, as she comes up to my waist, in real life. (Mind you, her mitts are much larger, but then again ... Dad isn't known for his "big hands".) :( I noticed she had more "fingers" too! So ... there you go ... a whole year of Oop Art!

This was cute, at first, but then became frustrating, because it became SO important that essential activities (such as coming to the dinner table), began ranking below finishing her homework. There have been many tears because we've insisted that she come to the dinner table (go to bed, go to day-care or other things) which has interrupted her "homework".

She's come up with a stock reply, which now annoys us.

I'll say, "Alex, it's time to go to bed. Go get your pajamas on, please."

Alex will say, "Yeah, but, Dad. You know what? I can't because ... (the response varies and sometimes it's a real thing and sometimes it's a made-up thing) ... finish my drawing (dress my doll, my 'kids' - stuffed animals - are sleeping and I have to take care of them)."

"Alex, I'm not going to ask again ... go get your PJ's on, please."

"Whaaaaa!" she yells, running out of the room, dutifully doing as I ask, but none too happy about it. "I'll NEVER get to finish my drawing!"

A few minutes later, she'll come down the stairs, with her PJ's on (the top button in the 2nd buttonhole), chirping happily, the tirade behind her and forgotten.

She's a cutie, there's no doubt. She doesn't dwell on the negative and is easily distracted into some other activity. We then brush her teeth, she'll drink a bit of water, then it's off to bed for a bedtime story (princess stories are her favorite). She generally goes right to sleep, but sometimes she'll play in her room for a bit.

Several hours later, we'll check up on her before we go to bed. She always makes it back into her bed, though the covers might be off. (The other night, we were surprised to find her plastic table and chair on the bed, with her sleeping underneath). We cover her and are amazed at how peaceful and cute she looks, eyes closed, a smooth, worry-free face. We bend down to kiss her. She's fast asleep, but sometimes, she wakes.

"I love you," I'll say.

"I love you too," she replies.

I give her a hug and she says in sleepy tones, "Daddy, I'm trying to sleep right now. Please you leave me a alone right now?"

(The Oop can get a tad militant about her beauty rest). Mind you, her payback comes at 6:30 the next morning, when she's 5 millimeters from my face, telling me I have to get up.

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Updated: 19-Jan-2008
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1.flag Gary Comment
Scott, You must be (and I can tell you are) a very proud Dad. They grow up so quickly these days.

I blinked and my two girls are now teenagers. They only seem to want me for two things:

1/ what they can get out of me ££££££
2/ A lift here and there in the Car.

Alex is getting good with her drawings now, I liked the portait of her and you (a much younger looking you I might say) ;)

That way of displaying the photo's is awesome, what a cracking good use of CSS popInfo :D

Did you get your new boat yet ? or are you still looking?

Toodle pip for now

Gz (at work)
2.flag stk Comment
Gary - Howdy!

I am mighty proud of my daughter, but she could sure use some help in the "keeping things tidy" department!

Fortunately for me, there's not much $$$ she can squeeze ... so I give her what I have (time)!

No on the boat, though we're still looking at the one Bayliner (still need to arrange to take it out for a test spin).

3.flag Gary Comment
Good look with the boat Scott, keep us informed if you buy her !

I know what you mean with the $$$$ v time, its always $$$$ (or £££££ in our case) that loses out. I guess we will keep having to play the lottery huh :) Until then time is the most precious thing.

What with all the CSS and coding that A.M produces, this time next year you and Yabba will be Millionaires my son :p