My Son and Van Gogh

Shortly before one of my regular Sunday drawing classes, I took out a puzzle I have of Van Gogh self-portraits that I had wanted to use. It’s a cube puzzle with 12 pieces, the kind that is made up of blocks the same size that one puts together to create an image. Each side of the cube has a section of a different painting on it, and in total it has six different paintings, one for each side of the cube.   The difficulty is in picking the correct piece of the painting to put together with the corresponding cubes.

I’d left the puzzle box out on our art table. That’s our dinning room table that my family uses for art making or homework. One of my sons picked it up and started drawing the painting that was face up. He was in second grade at the time. After about twenty minutes of drawing he told me he was doing a bad job. He was frustrated and said he wasn’t getting it right.

-How do you know you’re not getting it right?

He said it was because what he drew and what Van Gogh painted looked different.

And we started a conversation about seeing more as one looks more, seeing more over time. If he could see that he hadn’t gotten it “right” didn’t that mean that he was seeing better after the first attempt? And isn’t that a good thing? He became much happier and started looking again.

Melissa Weiss