"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." --Pablo Picasso

Today is Picasso's birthday,
and since he is one of the most recognized figures in 20th century art,
it seemed completely appropriate that we should give him
a Small Works Birthday salute.

Pablo Picasso, 1962

One of the things I most admire about Picasso's art is 
that he seems to have tried just about everything.

Experimentation must have been an important component in his working style.  And so much of his work survives!  He was kind enough to leave us a substantial art trail, bits of work like breadcrumbs tracing his artistic evolution as he moved from medium to medium and style to style.

It is estimated that Picasso completed 50,000 works of art during his lifetime. No surprise then that he is quoted as saying, "Action is the foundational key to all success."

(Would he have been a blogger?  Probably not, if it kept him from producing work.  But his would have been a fascinating blog and I'd have been a follower.) 

When I realized that today was Picasso's birthday, 
I was for some reason immediately transported to third grade.

Third grade was a particularly difficult year for me.  My mother was recuperating from a serious and extended illness, and the world seemed an unpredictable place.  Although there should have been great comfort for me in her recovery, I was instead seized by the fear of a recurrence, and this uneasiness is the thing I most recall from that year.

So words became my solace and my consolation. That was the year in which I started to explore my love of language in depth, reading everything I could find and turning out reams of trite third-grade poetry. 

My teacher had a file of works by great artists, and when we had free time one of the approved activities was to take a picture from the file and use it as a prompt to write something.  This was almost always my activity of choice, and I spent many free periods happily becoming acquainted with not only great works of art but also my own love of rhyme and rhythm.

Because my mother is a marvelous personal historian, she had the foresight to save many things for us, and therefore quite a bit of my early writing survives.  And the piece that popped into my mind today came as a result of my pulling this picture from Mrs. Christensen's classroom file:

Three Musicians, Picasso, 1921

Three Musicians

Three funny looking men
Came walking through our town
With roses in their button holes
And hats upon their crown.

Big bow ties were peeking
From their funny, bulky coats,
And they all carried instruments
As big as boats . . . 

--smh, 1972

I won't subject you to the additional three stanzas, but I can't think of Picasso without thinking of his Three Musicians fondly as one of the breadcrumbs in my personal trail.

And he was, of course, absolutely right --
the problem IS how to remain an artist once one has grown up.  But that's a puzzle I continue to enjoy struggling to piece together, through my words and my stitches . . . and yes, even my blog.

Happy Birthday, 
Pablo . . .

(and thanks for the continued inspiration.)




Allie said...

Happy Birthday to Pablo - that's one of my favorite quotes. Susan, I love your poem! See? You've been able to keep your talent and remain an artist! Bless mums everywhere who keep children's treasures.

Leenie said...

I, for one, would love to see the rest of the poem. It has such a fun beginning, not trite, and comes from such a wonderful piece of inspiration.

Fifty thousand works of art! Wow. Imagine what his mother had saved in boxes in HER attic. Happy birthday Mr. Picasso.

And how fortunate to have a good third grade teacher and mom who both encouraged you to develop your gifts so you can remain an artist.

luanne said...

I think you're solving Pablo's puzzle very nicely as a grown up artist.

Amazing to me that your mother saved so much & that you can still locate your third grade poetry. The pre-Magpie tales! You had your gift with words even way back then.

susan m hinckley said...

Thanks, ladies -- only true friends read your third grade poetry. Don't think your kindness goes unappreciated.

Judy said...

You have definitely "remained an artist." How fun to see a bit of the origins of your talents!

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