We are proud parents of two artists!!!

We have received email from the Colorado coordinator, Seth Beres, that our son Kal is among the twelve young Colorado artists that are first-place winners at the 2009 Junior Duck Stamp contest. Winners are one for each age category (1-12 grade).

Kal is the 9-grade winner and, being the only one from Colorado Springs among these 12 winners, we consider this prize an honor not only for himself and his family but also for his city. The other winners are from other places all over Colorado (Boulder, Golden, Wheatridge, Greeley, Niwot, Eaton, Littleton and Ft. Collins).  But Colorado Springs has its own first place too!

Congratulations to all the winners of 1st, 2nd and 3rd places, and also to the honorable mention winners (our own daughter has an HM for a second year now :)) Congratulations to the 2009 Best of Show winner from Boulder, who will represent our state at the National competition in Washington, DC, later this month. We hope she wins there!


Now, back to Kal. He has been drawing ever since we can remember. He started at about age of two and has never stopped. He cannot live without drawing, which means drawing all the time. When he was 2, and still in a stroller, he could draw in it, using paper napkins in restaurants or any notebook I might have in my purse. When he grew and had no stroller anymore, he just sat under the tables and used chairs as a table to draw. Wherever we went: business meetings, dining out, visiting friends’ homes – he used to sit around and draw. He drew and drew and the piles of notebooks grew larger and larger. He used pencils, pens, markers, crayons, water colors, whatever piece of drawing media he could lay his hands on….

He started attending art courses and taking drawing classes as a first grader. He loved it; he could not wait school to finish  the days he had classes. As he told us – “he felt being himself there”; he has never felt better. We have always encouraged him but sometimes I get harsher with him as I fear that moms are too subjective and might give wrong feedback to artist kids…

I also fear that the older he gets the more “okay” his drawings look. Nothing exceptional.  Just good drawings. When he was 4 he seemed like a genius; his drawings at 7 were incredible - not compared to others of his age – but incredible for themselves, for any age. Now he is 14 (on his way to 15 in a few months) and he knows that competition is everywhere around him and also far ahead of him. So, he works hard to keep up but he also takes immense pleasure in doing it. He carefully prepares his path to a college and his dreams of career in arts/visual arts. We can only support him. Drawing is his ultimate passion. We expected it to kind of fade away with age but he is persistent.  He considers it part of his life.

Trayana, on the other hand, is totally different.  She is into math and science and reading.  She is fast with the computer, she can download, upload, and do things her brother took little interest or talents doing at all. She has never liked to make drawings, except when she is sitting next to her brother.
Her best drawings ever are only the ones done when her brother prepares for participation in the Duck Stamp Contest. Then, the two of them turn our dining room into art workshop facilities for days in a row. The dining room table, clad in nylon, is covered with dozens of acrylic paint tubes, reference books, photos. I hate brushes most but keep my mouth shut. Rivers of colors run down my kitchen sink and hundreds of brushes are being washed, say, every ten minutes. Plastic bags full of used paper towels are hanging from our dining room chairs. Art takes its toll....

The siblings are sitting around the table drawing; or rather: the brother is silently drawing while the sister is noisily walking around overexcited, asking questions, getting in her brother’s way, then painting something wrong, crying a lot, starting it all over – just like he does, then stopping and playing around, then grabbing some of the reference books to read from, then crying again …  The communication is full of emotions and I have to step up in my muti-armed Shiva shoes:  “Kal is yelling at me, Mom!”, “Mom, will you please tell her to stop or else…”, “Mom, all I want is to draw next to him and he would not let me!”, “Mom, if she says one more word I am leaving it all..”, “Mom, why are you taking me out now? I need to stay back here and draw!”…”Mom…!” “Mom…!”

I really do not know how he is able to concentrate with all the talking and walking and working that takes place around him. Probably he is too young or maybe he loves doing that too much. He also loves drawing on his computer. He considers his Stilus tablet one of his most precious presents and he spends hours using it. You can see his online drawings at RateMyDrawings.com.  

This is Kal’s fourth year of participation in the Junior Duck Stamp contest. He has learned so much about wild life with that contest. He has read so much and has drawn so many preliminary tests drawings that now each member of the family can recognize more than two dozens of foul species almost instantaneously...  He takes his participation each spring in that contest so seriously – it is a part of his annual schedule.

This is Kal's  "King Eider" entry for this year:

Trayana also did a good job, although not an artist by nature. Her artwork might not feature a substantial talent or give all the required details but the very fact that she has read a lot about her Wood Duck this year and has gone through numerous photos online, and has collected so much information, is an achievement of its own.

Here is Trayana's entry:

So, we feel proud parents of two artists (I have a joke that it is in fact “an artist and a half” but I would not let Trayana hear that…).