Picasso said, “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” It’s the perfect quote to go with these four paintings I started with the left-hand alphabet (I’m right handed). I was inspired by my young granddaughters whose sheets of practice-writing hang on their parents’ refrigerators. I wanted to swipe some for collage but loved the pages too much to sacrifice. Instead, I started four clean white panels by writing the alphabet four times on each, in four different sizes, and in all four directions. I had no idea where I’d go from there, I just did it hoping to bring out the child in me. And it did!
It triggered all kinds of thoughts from childhood. Not deep or troubling thoughts, just things I’d forgotten like the time my third grade teacher explained we’d be starting each day by passing our homework to the front of the classroom. If we didn’t do our homework we were to write our name on the worksheet and put a zero at the top. That was a no-brainer. Why trouble with homework when drawing a zero was so much easier? She never explained that a zero was a bad thing. Unpleasant surprise when a month later we had to take home the papers to be signed by our parents. And so began my first foray into forgery. But that’s another story.
Of course the alphabet was just a way to start the paintings, but it pointed me in the direction of using bright, primary colors, helped me choose notebook paper as a collage element, and made naming the pieces easy. This one is Big Fat Zero.