"Racing" reminds me of a family camping trip where I met a bunch of Algonquin boys running in a field. They ran back and forth and back and forth all afternoon. They insisted I had to run barefoot, and I got spiked in the foot with some woody weed. I pulled it out and kept running, and they praised me for being tough.
I envied their freedom. Everybody got along, everyone laughed, and somehow running was something they were driven to do. They didn't care if I was a girl as long as I could keep up, and I think it was the first time I felt like my sex didn't matter. It was also before I wanted to be noticed as a girl. When they started tackling each other, I got tackled too. When I tried to tackle a big boy, he snatched me up and threw me to another kid who carried me like a football to the end of the field. I guess I should be glad that was before football players started spiking the ball in the end zone.
My first thought when I saw the word of the week is that nobody can make me draw race cars in my free time. My second thought was Winslow Homer's "Crack the Whip". It wasn't much of a jump to remember the Algonquin boys from there.
I love Homer's action and the balance of realism with loose, impressionistic brush strokes. Flowers are quick dabs of color, faces are smeared blobs, but the anatomy is correct and real. The painting is much smaller than I imagined before seeing it at the Butler Museum in Youngstown, Ohio. There is a lot of info about Homer online, and if you aren't familiar with him, I'd recommend looking him up. He did a lot of powerful work during the American Civil War, and spent his old age in New England painting the ocean. Much of his work has hidden social messages, and I admire his spirit.
Crack the Whip is a kids' game where they all hold hands and run together until the kid at the end stops and yanks the chain of children. As shown in the painting, the kid on the end falls off. I played this with my siblings when I was small, and it kept us occupied until we were all a sweaty heap of laughter.
When I started this blog, I had such different ideas in mind. I didn't realize it would so often become a diary of happy little memories of childhood, but the words of the week take me back, and I'm glad when my stories hit a note with other people. Grownups get too bound up with thoughts of bills, and what we want, or what we can't have. We forget what it's like to play, to feel free, and to see the future as endless as a perfect summer day running with healthy, friendly boys.
Homer's work speaks for itself. I wasn't about to paint a similar subject for comparison, so the top pic is something I did in PhotoShop, and the other is a pencil doodle to fit the theme.
Thanks to everyone for their comments about my "spooky" post. I'm sorry I wasn't able to return everyone's visit. I've been having headaches, which I guess is just another reason to think about happy summer days of childhood :)