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“THE WHALE” – drawn at school, age 10 (grade 4, Albert State School, Queensland, Australia – 1962).

Well, I have just called this drawing “The Whale” only today. I found my old school pastels book yesterday, as I was going through my flood containers. Yes, I am still sorting through storage containers from the 2013 Bundaberg flood. So it is rather like finding lost treasure when I find a gem like this one.

I think Picasso once commented that “we have learned nothing” after seeing the cave art in Lascaux, France. Well, I feel the same, after seeing this pic I did at age ten. I am surprised at the energy, emotion and naïve honesty of it all; nothing try-hard as we often do as adults. After all these years, I too feel that I have learned nothing. Out of the pastels of babes, so to speak.

Picasso also loved, and collected children’s art. And no wonder. I am so privileged. Privileged that my dear Mum (now with full-blown Alzheimer’s, in nursing care), kept so much of my childhood art works. Being an artist herself, she had the foresight to hang onto it all for me, dating back to age six.

Now, it is like looking through some other person’s childhood eyes. It is not me. Yet it is  me nonetheless. I think in Grade 4 we had to draw what was given as a topic. There is no title on the drawing, but I suspect if is of “Moby Dick.”

I got a few laughs from seeing the “little dudes” swimming and drowning in the stormy sea. But not really funny, drowning. It makes me wonder if this drawing reflects some angst and stresses I was experiencing at the time. It was, after all, the year after arriving in Australia, as an immigrant with my family, from England (in 1961). I was experiencing a lot of bullying at the time, not to mention feeling that I had landed on the moon. I had left all my friends behind in England, and all my English life. It was a great shock. No counselling for kids in those days (or anyone), so thank the gods I had an outlet in art. More on that in a later post – as many of my childhood drawings post-migration are a tad disturbing.

That said, there might be nothing in it. Boys often (even these days) seem attracted to the cruel, the macabre and the grotesque. Maybe that is all that is happening in this case. “Boys will be . . . horrible little rotters.

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