Back to School

Blair Bradshaw, Crayons 11

Blair Bradshaw, Crayons 11

School supplies. Love ‘em. Nothing like the smell of a virgin box of crayons to excite the wondrous potential in us all. I’m a binge spender on school supplies. Somehow I think the more markers, crayons, paper etc. I have in the drawer, the greater the likelihood of something spectacular bounding out.

Rev the yellow school bus. Squeak new sneakers on the polished hall floor. Doodle down the sharp point of a new pencil. Clash the locker door just because you like the metal bang. The bright Before, before it gets hard or messy or glorious.

The vivid boxes in this painting remind me of years of structured pedagogy. Colors capture the coolhot energy of back to school. Yellows and oranges advance toward us, offering anticipation and the bold hope of a fresh start. The shy blues and teals recede, nervous.

Lost. “You’re in the wrong class.”

Anxious. “Do I really have to sit by him?”

The crayons march on boldly; march to the schedule, to the class bell. The hallways burgeon, flowing with chaotic feet then empty, ebbing into silence. Echo long corridors. March on syllabus! March on lesson plans. The pre-test, post-test, pop quiz.

To keep us from dying of structure, various circles dot the grid. Adding a bubbly visual relief. They float inside boxes, span boxes, wander truant. Creative free. Wishing for summer or at least 3:45.


3 Comments on “Back to School”

  1. SigO says:

    “The bright Before, before it gets hard or messy or glorious.”

    love that line – in elementary school it was the fresh smell of the new pencil box, or a well organized inside of my desk with unused markers, glue, etc. In middle school, it was a cool and organized locker, in high school it was new clothes and seeing that girl I liked again…

    “Lost. “You’re in the wrong class.” ”

    and then the trauma began… late to class, in the wrong class, forgot my locker combination, that girl didn’t give me the time of day, blah blah blah… at least the pop quizzes, silly tests, and random questions from the teacher to catch me not paying attention were easy-breezy.

    ahh, what I would(n’t) give to go back in time and be an awkward kid, subject to the constant barrage of assimilation strategies of do-gooder adults, trying to teach me the basic stuff, assuming I’m a rotten apple while I floated along inattentive and distracted.

    as for the art, I think the brush strokes and patterns of paint within each square are lovely (pleasing to the eye) and impressive (differences between each square and time intensive too). each is like a painting within a painting, maybe like the different layers of school, from the pure studies, to classroom dynamics, the lessons of the playground, self-discovery, art, music, and all that occurs within the walls of a school. there are lines, many of them, and it’s probably best to stay within the lines being creative within the confines unless straying outside is a calculated risk with understood consequences. Ah, the true lesson of school, how to work the g*d d*amned system so that when you can be a rule maker or a rule breaker (some 20 years later), you are adept enough and skilled enough to experience success and accolades, not ridicule and marginalization.

    Happy learning everybody…

    • heatherit says:

      Whew! Glad you got that off your chest. And you succeeded despite the system. Aren’t we all going for that?

      You can be in the box if you need be, you can make the box if need be, you can float like a bubble if you need to, you can create a bubble when you need to. That’s the key friend. You choose the colors then restrict the palette for visual impact. It’s the ability to pendulate between. It’s managing the extremes of structure and freedom that makes the grade in life.

  2. SigO says:

    yes, igetitart is like a therapy session for me…


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