Sunday, November 8, 2015
Observations of Venice
By Christy Corey
In the streets of Venice near the St.Lucia train station there sat a man drumming on pots and pans. Rather he appeared to be half elephant, half man due to the plastic mask he wore complete with a trunk.We tipped him and stayed for another round of contagious rhythm. My heart melted as children approached him yelling, "Ciao elefante!" At first he seemed to disregard them but then he handed out a few pairs of extra drumsticks. The parents urged their reluctant children to play and after a moment more of hesitation, they began nonsensically banging on the makeshift drum set. The man; half elephant, half human, joined in with an energetic beat. They performed together; the children's faces glowing. Once finished, the drummer leaned back and gave the children a round of applause. The crowd that had gathered began to join in on what I assume to be the first applause received by these tiny musicians.
Witnessing this was beautiful. It reminded me how important it is to show children support and to encourage creativity. The moment also reminded me of all the support I've received from childhood until now that resulted in me studying art in Florence. Even though it seems like a small gesture to hand out drumsticks and let kids play for a few minutes, it's so important and could have a huge impact in their lives. Small moments of support such as this add up. I hoped for a chance to give a moment like that to a young artist.
So we walked away in awe of the moment we had witnessed and sat by the water. We had a few hours until our train so we began sketching and painting Venice as night fell towards the glistening waters. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the family next to us struggling to take a selfie. On their third attempt I offered to take it for them and they happily agreed. As I sat back down, the little girl exclaimed, "una artista!" then pointed to the paints and continued to speak in Spanish. The mother explained, "She is a little artist herself, she has a set of watercolor at home."I responded enthusiastically and talked to them for a bit.
I returned to sketching the green dome across the water with the darkening blue sky surrounding it. I could faintly hear the drummer continuing his catchy beat. After a few minutes I turned back to the family and I asked the girl if she would like to paint. Once her mother translated, the girl looked at me a little scared like she had been put on the spot but then looked at the paint set. I asked what her favorite color was and handed her my sketchbook as I put blue paint on the pallet. She took the brush and painted swirls across the page as the mother happily took photos of her daughter painting by the water in Venice. Once she finished, she handed me the brush and smiled. I asked her name and for her to sign the painting.
Blanca's painting happily sits on the last page of my sketchbook as a reminder for me to be grateful for everyone who has put a paintbrush in my hand.