Saturday, March 5, 2011

When does a child's visual perception of the Mona Lisa become your own? Here's what some of you wrote.............

Why did I shell out 3 Euros to a Spanish child for his/her "Mona Lisa?" (A-3 acrylic on paper.)

I still don't know why.

I wasn't joking about Macalester College colours or the Uwe Poth bright blue and orange tiger-striped 1959 VW bug we painted in 1967 and promptly drove from Darmstadt, Germany to Copenhagen.

He designed it; I picked the palette, same as the Spanish kid's Mona Lisa.

The child's picture just grabbed me and wouldn't let go.

Here's what some of you commented after reading the Mona Lisa post:

Wouter Stips: The Mona Lisa is really beautiful. The honesty is pure, and the colours indeed are great. My work is inspired by children. I always try to forget about being an old man and try to be the child again I was. Last winter, I was in Ghana and worked with mentally and physically disturbed children. I did an "angel" project, and painted - together with the children - angels. One of the most beautiful paintings was made by a blind boy. I just held his hand and painted what he had in mind.

Jeremy Van der Want: That sounds awesome, Wouter. I can't agree more. 'In search of the child like,' yes? the inner rhythm and first principles of creativity and being. I love it. Don't think I'm there yet, though or even that it's really possible to a true 'child-mind' but I'll certainly keep trying.

Susanna Anna Redaeli: I think that the child who painted this put into the painting both perception of Mona Lisa and something of her/him if it was a mirror. Everyone of us reproducing a portrait cannot help but putting only a part of our feelings and of the image we have inside into the image we are painting. I personally conducted painting workshops with children (ages 6 - 10), and it is a wonderful, expressive experience. They are so spontaneous. Wonderful painting. (I believe she is referring to the one by the Spanish child.)

Natasha Wilczak: A pure, innocent interpretation by a young child of a woman in a painting, not of what we consider a masterpiece. The boy (I did not state the gender.), it seems, for a moment was able to express himself with no outside influence, and that purity of a vision is what many artists lose along the way, as we are more and more exposed to our surroundings.

Carolyn Bedford: Just finished being interviewed by a young doctor for her thesis on the influence of art making on those living through cancer treatment. Apparently they hope to extend the same study (see first Da Vinci post) to include various diversity groups nationwide. I still teach a few children and I appreciate the way they interpret and try to keep the "child's eye" when I work on a piece.

Dan McCormack: I do not agree. I spent four years in undergraduate school and two years in graduate school learning the techniques of my medium and the history of what has been done in my medium as well as what the marks that a cave man made to the history of 1,000 years of people trying to make marks and expressions. And for 40 years after schooling, I have kept an active mind to see and understand what I have not seen before. I prefer to think that I have sought out an informed eye. To me, that is more important than a naive vision.

Stefan van Drake:  Dan, I appreciate your insight after so many years of schooling and experience. Naive vision may be something for children and people like me, novice painters and sculptors, but nonetheless, there's legitimate intrigue in trying to understand how we perceive and appreciate art. Thank you.

Dan McCormack: Thanks for your reply. And I do not mean to negate naive art.

Natasha Wilczak: Of course, educating oneself is an important and ongoing process, but it is that "natural instinct" we all have which begins at a young age, and if one can hold onto it, it is like gold. It is not "naive," it is unique to all individuqls. No matter how educated one becomes, a great artist may still be "naive" deep inside. Don't let education change your style or perception, simply let it enhance that. 

Some great artists of the world were fairly uneducated, they had education through living, but seemed to always want to express what is deep in their soul, something untouched by "education."

If I missed some of your comments, and I probably did, I apologize. Send them to me at: Thanks to all who got turned on by this post. I really love the painting and need to find the artist so he or she can sign it. Who knows?

Vincent van Gogh called painters "creatures with feelings." Your comments reveal this common denominator. Thank you!

Rock on and practice peace and love.

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will be at peace." Jimmy Hendrix.

P.S. Wouter, please e-mail me the painting by the blind child you assisted in Ghana.

Joost & Moira Schepel

It's that time of the year when many of you Brits and northern Europeans (think snow and cold) may want to sun your buns in our beautiful mountains of Andalusia, only 30 minutes from the Med (think beach) adjacent a national park.

Check out sculpture and mosaics workshops or walking vacations at and

I've known Joost and Moira Schepel for 7 years and highly recommend them for an ala carte menu of non-budget-busting art traveling and walking holidays as spring rolls around.

Sunday afternoon in the mountains above Salares, Andalusia. Photo by Stefan van Drake.

New ArtTraveler video ( 3 min. +-): Into the eyes of a cat and its animalist painter, Kate Morris.

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