Holidays and schooldays always held me over. It was the arrival of Christmas and weekdays that I looked forward to. I hardly knew how to wait for it. Every hint or suggestion about it was significant.
And so it was that I started reading at Wayside Elementary School in North Carolina. Mrs. Yates, my neighbor and kindergarten teacher, gifted me each morning with a pencil to draw stick figures with other coping kids. In the afternoons, she would send me across the hall to the 3rd grade class for reading and writing. I did not like it. There in the reading room I was catching up to speed in my phonics workbook, when I poked that pencil in orbit of my eye, leaving behind a permanent piece of graphite in my right cheek.
My reasoning of concern is that I’m not fond of reading, nor do I read well. I can read the words, but somehow they whiz by me and seldom even land. It is art that impresses my mind. The passionate painter, Winslow Homer, left behind such a long paper trail that anyone should be ashamed if his name draws a blank.
This season I will post a handful of his unvarnished watercolors and oil paintings for fun. Reading into his paintings is illuminating as the unknown God is known to me. The scope of his discernment was on the particular, the individual. The range of his enthusiasms were wide and familiar landscapes. Most important of all, he favored expressive contrast and showcased complimentary colors.
If painting can be done as instructively and artfully as it is here, I don’t see why the program shouldn’t be repeated in any schoolhouse or museum.
~ §tacy §weeney