Cough Cough
By Charlie Fisher


Charlie's first artwork


We got the loveliest note from Charlie's art teacher today.

I repeat, from Charlie's art teacher---first time that has ever happened, Charlie's experiences with art having generally been more of the 'please just let me get through this activity with the smelly gooey stuff as fast as possible see I'm done!' sort. I do still have the first painting crafty sort of creation he made when he wasn't even two years old in daycare---in fact, that's it at the top of this post, orange marker on tinfoil covering cardboard.

Well of course I'm the sort of mother who thinks every scribble and scrawling her child makes is worth carrying around for over twelve years!

Though as I think of it, I'm rather amazed that Charlie's first-ever artwork is in quite intact shape. And, that I still know exactly where it is.

But you are wanting to know about this magnificent note. I'll quote a bit of it and paraphrase:

Charlie, the art teacher wrote, did a 'FABULOUS' job in art: They were making collages 'in the style of Mondrian'; the art teacher wrote that she was 'very impressed with how he chose and planned his squares.' 

On the one hand, I was not surprised: Charlie has had always had a thing for colors and shapes---these were among the first words he learned to understand. Indeed, he learned his colors because his first lead ABA therapist made laminated construction paper squares in different colors and oh did Charlie love those squares!  We kept them for years; one therapist used them to teach him to pedal his trike when he was 3. And Charlie definitely has a thing about order and has been creating arrangements like the one below with my shoes and other household items quite a bit of late.

On the other hand, it's something to hear that Charlie's ordering and arranging has led to the creation of an artwork. 

I am rather inclined to see his arrangements around our house little transient 'installations' in their own right. I do suspect that some would see me reading too much into a row of lined-up shoes (how autistic, right?); into OCD behavior.

But colored squares, colored shapes, arranged in some sort of what is recognizable as an aesthetic order---rather like the colored lines and bands in the paintings of Jessica Park---I am more than looking forward to seeing Charlie's collage, you can be sure.

I will indeed see it later today as it's parent-teacher conference time. I'll post a photo tomorrow.

I also have to say, it was extra-pleasing to get the art teacher's note as Wednesday was one of those days when Charlie awoke before 5am. Sometimes such an early wake-up portends a difficult day at school but Charlie's Wednesday was good. He changed into a yellow shirt (!) before we left home. He went swimming shortly after arriving at school and had a 'great day,' art class and all. He was mournful that Jim was gone all evening as Jim teaches a class on Wednesday night (and didn't end up getting home till past 1am due to more New Jersey Transit train-anigans). Charlie was asleep long before JIm came home; rightfully tired after a quite full day, he was out before 10pm.

It had been quite a day.

Someone likes order around here



The cushion and athletic shoes are placed in an interesting/strange way compared to the lined up shoes. I could join up a whole bunch of Mondrian lines between the objects!

you know I studied art - reading too much into things is an art form in itself in the art world:)

Looking forward to seeing Charlies collage.


The late Clara Park wrote about her autistic daughter Jessie's groupings of objects around the house. At first Jessie stridently resisted having them moved but later she got used to it and later still she became a successful painter.
Jessie Park likes painting objects like electric space heaters.

Kristina Chew

I love Clara Park's books and have long been fascinated by Jessy Park's paintings with their rectangles and lines of color, especially as described in Exiting Nirvana.

@Emma, you should have heard the art teacher, Charlie's teacher and other staff, and me analyzing Charlie's composition at his conference on Thursday night!

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