Blog: Childhood Magic

Christine Alfery

Posted on April 12 2018

Blog: Childhood Magic

Featured image: Circus Lions and Acrobats

When people ask me how do I come up with my ideas in my work, I describe to them the feeling I get when I stand before a large body of water, I am so small, and tell them that the ideas come from the connection between me and this vastness. I paint possibilities. I paint with as much childlike freedom as I can gather as an adult, encumbered in an adult world. I think – how can I think differently from what is out there and already been done, how can I think like myself, how can I think like the freedom of a child, unencumbered, playing in the mud or a sandbox or going to the magical place like a circus where impossible things happen.

As a child there was always a sand box in our back yard for me to play in. Never a small sand box, mine was at least 4 feet square. I could spend hours playing there. Building castles and roads, using twigs and branches for trees and bushes. The garden hose always nearby to fill my rivers and lakes in my imaginary village.

When the sandbox became too small for my imaginary places, I would create rivers and valleys of mud in the back corner of our yard. I gathered rocks and stones and build houses and shops. Green moss would cover the yards around the houses.

We had a rather large back yard filled with woods and trees so there was never a shortage of places to create my villages. And the garden hose was always long enough to fill my rivers. I would keep it on for as long as I was out playing. I would float my imaginary boats down my streams always captivated by the movement as the boat traveled with the water.

The sand box was just one of the many wonderful places I would play as a child. I would also make imaginary houses out of fallen colored leaves in the fall. Or I would find a clump of trees and create string houses with imaginary rooms.

The joy for me always came in the making and imaging the rooms and walls of a house or the imaginary people that lived in my villages. The joy was always in the creating.

Today my sandbox doesn’t have walls, and my imaginaries are as big or small as I wish them to be. Just as the concepts tucked into my works are as big or small as I wish them to be. My sandbox is a forever expanse of white sand on a beach. My garden hose, the ocean, the gulf or Lake Superior. And I think as I stand before their vastness just how small I am against their vastness. But like when I was a child I am able to just imagine, there are no barriers, just open space where limitless possibilities can happen.

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