Yesterday we took Ruby and Sadie down to the Art Gallery of Ontario, known locally as the AGO. Our goal was not to walk through and view portraits or landscapes or sculptures but to have an interactive visit. Joe and I had picked up each girl a drawing pad and some coloured markers. When we got in, we told them if they wanted to draw one of the pictures or if they were inspired to draw something that came from seeing one of the pictures, they could.
Sadie took us at our word and after a quick view Emily Carr and some of the Group of Seven, she chose a landscape and plopped down beside it. Ruby made a quick sketch of the only Van Gogh in the museum and was ready to head into another room. Joe went with her and I waited quietly offering neither encouragement nor direction as she needed neither. She was in a world that existed of only the art and her drawing.
She stopped several times and sat up really straight and looked at the picture for a bit and then leaned back like I do when my back gets sore. She was sitting on the floor and I wondered if she were comfortable. So the next time she did it, I asked her, "Sadie, are you okay?"
Glancing at me, she said, "I need to see it, I mean I need to see all of it."
Then she went back to work drawing with intensity and as she drew she saw things in the picture that were there but that I hadn't seen. We left only when she said she was finished.
On the way home I thought about what she had said, "I need to see it, I mean I need to see all of it." That's such a wise thing to say and applies in so many situations.
Twice in my career, I was offered the opportunity to become an Executive Director of an agency. I always refused much to people's surprise. But this is the reason why I'm not good at seeing all of it. I have always needed a boss that had the capacity to see more than I did, 'the bigger picture' they call it but now I think they should call it 'the clearer picture.'
Sadie, right now in the world, may be a bit of a prophet.
We all need to see the bigger picture, we all need to lean back and just take it in. We need to see really see, beyond the boundaries of our own prejudices and own parameters. One little girl, sitting in front of a painting, with a drawing pad in front of her, understands that if she wants to get the picture right, she has to see it, all of it.