Friday, November 9, 2007

A Portrait of the Artist as an Eighteen-Month-Old

For all of you closely following Alex’s budding career as an artist, I’d like to share with you for the first time anywhere his first self portraits (above and below), taken when he got a hold of Mommy and Daddy’s camera and found the button that snaps the picture. Relentlessly staring into the bright light of the flash time after time, Alex suffered for his art as only an eighteen-month-old with a powerful kung fu grip can. Alex snapped these right around the time that I was reading and reviewing The Art of the American Snapshot 1888-1978, so they struck a chord even more with me. The final picture is slightly older but has the added appeal of letting you actually see how cute the little guy is.

Just this morning, Alex got up early enough for us to watch the sunrise from his window. “Rosy-fingered dawn” as Homer called it eons ago gave way gently to soft violet and then deep ultramarine, all mingled with the crosshatching of the treetops in deep, black silhouette, as if from a painting by Friedrich. I sat there watching all this transpire while simultaneously measuring Alex’s reactions. All the Wordsworthian Neo-Platonism of children “trailing clouds of glory” and those “intimations of immortality” rushed into my mind. My spirits rose as Alex turned to me and pointed out the window. Ah, he would reintroduce me to that magical world that decades of living in the mundane had muddied in my memory. Finally, wide-eyed, he spoke: “Car!” Yes, “car,” his favorite word, part of his obsession with all things that go “vroom.” Oh, well. It was still a great sunrise, for both of us. Alex is still my “best philosopher.”

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