The Family Artist

It’s been a tiring strange time with work and work-related anxieties consuming far too much of my time.

Evan – my gentle giant – brought respite, with his beautiful, meticulous artwork.

He’s just pulled together all the elements for his final exam – this is the ‘expressive’ unit folio of the Scottish Higher Grade.

Humour me. Here are some imperfect pictures of his now-submitted work. The theme is ‘Decay’. He tells me that he wanted to convey his sense of ‘decay’ as just another metamorphosis – that things break down and rot – but that the transformation can be (and is) beautiful. There is a cycle – death is just another ‘becoming’.

I loved that.

I also love his beautiful detail. His perfectly realised vision.

I’m also his Mother… and I love him dearly regardless.

The pieces are largely charcoal, pencil and watercolour.

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18 thoughts on “The Family Artist

  1. Wow! Those are fantastic, Yvonne – wonderful drawing and observation and a distinctively individual vision. Do wish him well from me. Talent deserves to be rewarded.

  2. It is, isn't it. Delicate. Gorgeous. I wish you knew him Erik. He's this laidback hunk of 6'5″ gorgeousness. Sensitive and funny and a bit dippy daft. Caring but the one who'll take the risks… The art is very like him. It's also very very like my cousin's work – Una Shanks. She's a water colourist and famous in her own right her in Scotland. Married to Duncan Shanks – also an artist. Evan's work is very meticulous – like her work. The similarity is so marked I was wondering if there was some kind of genetic element to artistic talent. (Evan loves the phrase 'organic expressionism' – made him smile bashfully). x

  3. These are really good. He's obviously got talent – and just as important – the patience to spend time on his work and execute it properly. Not familiar with the Scottish exam system, so what stage is he at? Is he hoping to make it his career? My lad has been accepted into art college. I'm glad that he has found something that he loves although all the surveys paint a grim picture for the economic life of visual artists. But better to do something you are passionate about than to have all passion die due to doing something you hate.

  4. These are exquisite, so full of lovely textures and tones. A great subject to explore – I find the process of 'decay' very beautiful and fascinating too. I wish Evan great success in his art.

  5. Those are marvellous. He's very, very talented. Not just the skilfull execution but the thoughtfulness behind it.

    Has he read Kathleen Jamie's books “Findings” and “Soundings”? The use of bone here reminds me of things she has to say, for instance about whale skeletons in the museum in Bergen in the second book and about trying to preserve a bird skull in Findings.

  6. Thanks Jenny. I wish the photographs could do them justice – the colours are even better in real life 🙂 I'm planning to frame them all when he gets them back.

  7. Thanks Mairead. Evan had his last official school day last week. Aside from a remaining 4 final exams that is him finished with school… Argh! Highers are the Scottish standard exam – used for entry to Uni etc. Evan already has 4 (from his 5th year at school last year) and is sitting another 5 this year. He's young for his year as he was 'accelerated'. His peers are 18 – he was 17 on March 8th. But that means he's also at that stage where he hasn't a clue what he wants to do. He loves his art – but experiences the creative process as 'painful'… He's a caring lad and is leaning towards Social Work – currently planning a year of volunteering abroad. We'll see… Well done to your son. You are right – far far better to do something you love. Life is too short to be spent doing something you've no affection for. Good luck to him. x

  8. Thanks Helen. I hope he continues too. But at the moment he's looking at working/volunteering abroad. I think the experience will be good for him – though I'll worry like mad the moment he is out of my sight. There isn't anything in Costa Rica, is there? 🙂 x

  9. Thanks C. 'Exquisite' – that's the word I was searching for! They are, though, aren't they. He and I had a fascinating discussion about 'decay' last night after I'd posted this. Sometimes kids take your breath away. You blink and suddenly they've turned into the most amazing adults. Death, decay, change – I've been a bit obsessed by those subjects too, but mainly in a philosophical writerly way. He's given me another visual way of comprehending. That's a gift. x

  10. Thanks kenanddot – I've passed on your praise and comments. He hasn't read the books you mention – but I've been asked to 'locate' them for him (shorthand for 'Mum…can you get them for me…'!). Hope all well with you. I am still in love with Uni and my MSc and turning my thoughts to a Phd… am I mad?? 🙂

  11. Loads, but most of it is crap…these kids pay up and either work to improve some exploitative hippy's eco farm or provide residents of old peoples' homes with unintentional entertainment between going off to terrify any wild life daft enough to live within earshot of a zipline and visiting the usual round of mega tourist sites.

    There is a woman working with shanty town kids in San Jose who is honest…I'll see if she takes volunteers.

  12. He has an eye for detail that I did not have at that age. And a strong command of the brush. The last image is rather intense with “simple” arrangement. Hope he keeps up with the talent.

  13. Thanks Glen. He's got his final 'Art theory' exam tomorrow – the daft loon turned up at the exam hall today for it only to be told it's tomorrow… yip, he's that type of lad! Better a day early than a day late, mind you! I'm caught up in interviews and essays at the moment – it's made writing anything that's not about technical employment issues difficult. But the holidays will be upon me soon.
    I'll pass on your hopes to Evan. Hope all's well! Yx

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