Collaboration with Emily

December 14, 2012


My daughter Emily and I have sometimes talked about collaboration. Not collaboration when it comes to doing homework or dishes–for those issues she’s on her own–but instead working together when it comes to collaborating as artists. And as an artist, Emily reminds me a lot of my mom.

ImageAs a kid, I remember watching my mother talk on the phone with her mother or her friends, not so much because of what she said or how she laughed at whatever they said back, but instead because of the pictures I saw the next day. My father was careful about leaving a pencil and paper next to all the phones in our house so that anyone who answered could take messages if necessary, and when my mother talked on the phone, she used that paper to doodle and sketch.

ImageThe images she left were more often than not close-ups–a face, a profile, a single lushly lashed eye. I was amazed at what she left behind, if only because I was completely incapable of drawing myself. Sure I was only in elementary school, but I instinctively knew my artistic abilities were limited, no matter what the medium–Crayolas to Cray-Pas to Charcoal and beyond. Every week, I thought about filling out those art school tests that were tucked into the Sunday Boston Globe, and every week I knew I didn’t cut the mustard while I suspected my mother surely would.

When Emily was three, I had to bring her to work one day–my boss was amazingly understanding as well as delighted that I considered her Emily’s “grandma away from home.” I had crayons and Hilda had index cards, and soon enough Emily had scribbled a red crayon onto a pink index card. “Bird,” she said to both of us, and Hilda and I took a look at what she’d done. “You need to save that,” Hilda said. “That’s precisely what it looks like.”

ImageAnd as always, Hilda was right. And now I think I’m right to say Emily is a crack illustrator, if only because I see pencil doodles and sketches–and here and there an artfully-rendered close-up of an eye–all over her math and social studies and English notes–and one day I hope for the privilege of collaborating with her on a book. Emily and I have discussed it, but right now we can’t really decide. An ABC book of lost or unloved cars–for example B is for the Subaru Brat, one of the most beautiful and ugliest cars on the planet? Or perhaps a visual history of the Marsh Mallow, the plant Egyptians first used to create a delightfully sweet confection? Or perhaps just an illustrated fairy tale in which the mother isn’t required to die before the story even begins, and the step-mother doesn’t necessarily have to be THE most evil character in the book? We’re not sure yet–we’re still brainstorming.

As I wait for Emily to decide I think a picture is worth a thousands words, which means Emily is clearly in charge. So I will post her newest creations. This year, her holiday gifts to her friends are illustrations–a unique illustration for each friend. Because I begged and pleaded and agreed to help with the above-mentioned dishes chore she’s responsible for, she said I could post her pictures. Enjoy!






2 Responses to “Collaboration with Emily”

  1. MOM/Meme said

    Did Em do these illustrations? I am in awe. Love, MOM/Meme
    (PS I am glad to take one off her hands)

  2. You and Regis have both commissioned her work!

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