This past March, Cole was invited to paint a bird house for the art show, The Return of “Birds I Have Known.” He took on the project with gusto.
Cole has been gifted with Joe’s artistic imagination and talent. In this respect, there is no doubt he is his father’s son. Cole has also been extremely fortunate to attend a school where art, imagination, and creating beautiful work have been integrated into every subject brought to the classroom by his teachers.
Would it surprise you to learn that every eighth grader in Cole’s class at the Chicago Waldorf School creates their own handwritten lesson book? The books overflow with beautiful geometry designs, watercolors, and colored pencil drawings.
Students at a Waldorf school do not divide themselves into those that can draw and those that can’t. Creating beautiful work is a part of the everyday curriculum and of each subject studied. It always amazes me how matter-of-fact Waldorf educated students are about their beautiful drawings. What I call “artistic talent,” Cole calls “his school work.”
Cole began the creation of his birdhouse with confidence. I could see his dad and his teachers nodding as he thought about the design, chose his colors, and planned his work. I watched his hands swiftly sketch his rough draft. I smiled at his frustration of not being able to position the birds the way he wanted. The frustration that brought him to tears as a seven-year-old was handled more gracefully as a fourteen-year-old.
When the birdhouse was finished and the last stroke painted, I watched Cole pick it up and turn it smiling. It turned out as planned, he was done and he was happy. To quote Joe, “Cole nailed it.”
All that was left was to deliver the birdhouse to the August House Studio where the show would be held. Unable to find a parking spot, I sent Cole in alone to deliver his birdhouse. When he returned to the car the conversation went something like this:
“Mom, I didn’t know I had to name the birdhouse.”
“Me either. What did you come up with?”
“Mom, there were some really amazing bird houses on the shelf.”
For a brief moment I worried Cole’s birdhouse had been diminished in his eyes when he compared it against more experienced and grown up artist’s work. Only for a brief moment …
“But mom,” Cole continued, “my birdhouse is the kind of house a bird would really like to live in.”
True again to his education, Cole had learned to create work that was beautiful and to finish work that was useful.
This blog post is dedicated to Cole’s teachers and The Chicago Waldorf School, Thank you! Eight years down, four more to go.
August House Studio
2113 W Roscoe
Chicago, Il 60618
The Return of “Birds I Have Known”
Exhibition runs from May 9th-29th, 2010
Artist Reception: Sunday, May 9th, 3-6pm
For more information, call: 773-327-5644
Cardinal Sunset painted by Cole in memory of Joe, Cole’s dad who love to watch him paint and Joe’s mom (Cole’s Grandmother), who loved to watch the Cardinals.