Don’t Pout

January 18, 2013

pouting child

Children seldom attempt to hide their displeasure when things don’t work out the way they want them to.   Some will resort to pouting, an expression that reveals itself in an upturned bottom lip as well as tension in the areas of the chin, nose and brow.   Children who find success at changing outcomes in their favor whenever they practice this expression will inevitably resort to using it more frequently.

But whether you’re a child or an adult, it’s best not to pout.  And if you must, do it quickly, then forgive, forget and move on.  Pouting may look cute on a child, but it’s never so on an adult.

~  Text and image copyright Amy-Lynn Bell 2013


That Silent Place

June 13, 2009


… deep inside, in that silent place where a child’s fears crouch…

~ Lillian Smith

This drawing was made with Tuscan red charcoal pencil on paper.

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small-conch-shellIf you truly would wish to learn about any thing in nature, one excellent way to go about it would be to attempt a drawing of it in pencil.  Paints and watercolors can be forgiving of detail in a way that pencils cannot.  A pencil drawing demands an exact understanding of the subject.

These three images are all part of one large drawing I made when I was an art student.  Looking at them now, many years later, I see where I substituted exactness with fogginess in some areas, in order to save time and effort.   

My instructor at the time told the class that in order to become master draughtsmen, we’d have to create a minimum of 10,000 drawings first.  This idea is very similar to Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 Hour Rule in ‘Outliers,’ his recent book about the factors that contribute to high levels of success. 

shell-studyGladwell’s discovery is a disappointment to anyone who thinks that there is a shortcut to success.  Persistence and hard work are more important than talent.  I think people who are gifted acquire satisfaction with less effort in the beginning, and so are encouraged to do more.  But it is their ongoing practice that helps them achieve success.

As a child I spent countless hours drawing.  Compared to my peers, I did a lot less of other things.  But it was time well spent because I learned so much about nature in the process. 

shells-studyDrawing is a quiet activity that gives both children and adults an opportunity to observe and study nature up close.  Nothing more is needed other than a piece of blank paper, a pencil and… patience, something that is only learned through practice.

These drawings were made with a terra cotta charcoal pencil on manila paper.

The Chess Players

April 4, 2009


Chess tournaments provide excellent opportunities for children to engage in a quiet social activity while exercising their young minds. With so many people sitting relatively still for long periods of time, they’re also an excellent place for artists to sketch subjects in thoughtful poses.

This drawing was created during such a tournament at Chocolate Lake Recreation Centre when my sons were younger. 

It’s drawn in black pen on manila paper.

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A Child’s Eyes

March 21, 2009


There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million.
Walt Streightiff

Our eyes reveal more about us than any other facial feature.  Though every child’s eyes are unique, they reveal an innocence and wonder for the world that makes them especially beautiful.

These eyes were drawn with black ink pen and coloured pencil.

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Children’s Portraits

March 5, 2009


The above children’s portraits are a few of the many I did last year.  Each little face carries within its features the unique qualities that the child will take with him or her into adulthood. 

A child grows up in the twinkling of an eye.  Though the time may seem longer on certain days, before you know it, they’ve grown into teenagers and then adults.  You wonder where the time went.  Once you’re a grandparent, the time seems to move even more quickly. 

We’ve had bad luck with children;  they’ve all grown up.

~Christopher Morley


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