12 Drawings from my Childhood, age 5–6

by Alden Cole on December 7, 2014 · 0 comments

1949.Drawing3&4GSWP1949.Drawings1&2GSWPThe drawings that my aunt Charlotte saved from my childhood, and returned to me back in the 80s, were a revelation when I came across them two weeks ago, after years of their being filed away, forgotten. I was fascinated to see the development within the time frame of just a year and a half; from the four childish pre-school scrawlings like those featured above – 1949 age 5 – to pieces done in the spring of 1950 shortly before turning six, pieces that showed focus and increasing complexity. Interesting to note, despite the rather limited evidence of only a handful of drawings, that I used crayon very briefly, pencil quickly becoming my marking instrument of choice early on.

5.1949Oct.HorseWatercolor-5x8WP#5. 5″ x 8″ watercolor dated “Oct.’49” of a horse. The watercolor medium was a total anomaly, but the horse was not.
#6: Pencil drawing on 7″ x 11″ paper – a repurposed advertising flyer – with aunt Charlotte’s handwritten annotation: “Farmers & Horses – 5 years Alden Fall or winter 1949”
#7: Church and School, annotated “Alden Winter 45-50″, on 7″ x 11” paper, the first combination of pencil and crayon, with some rather odd arrows pointing off the right side.
#8: The Farm on the Hill, annotated “Alden April ’50”, all crayon on 7″ x 11″ repurposed paper.
#9: DayDreaming, annotated “April 50″, crayon and pencil on 7″ x 11” repurposed paper. Here my imagination seems to take off, and choose pencil as my major medium hereafter with few exceptions…
#10 & 11: On the left: HouseBoat aka The Ark, annotated “Alden Aug. 23,’50” all pencil on a repurposed calendar page 10.5″ x 9″. On the right: Horse Chomping on Grass in the Meadow, undated, but on the back of a repurposed calendar page for Dec. 6,’50, 10.5″ x 9″.
#12: Run Betty Run, the last of the dozen pieces featured this posting, is an undated anomaly, possibly an early attempt at cartooning. Its size – 9″ x 12″ – is unique among the eighteen drawings rediscovered. I can only guess its chronology – possibly the end of first grade shortly before turning seven, once I had learned to print; it’s the only piece using letters. The stick figures portrayed are unlike either earlier pre-school figures (i.e. the day-dreaming figure on the manure spreader riding downhill, from a couple days ago, in which the medium switched from green crayon to pencil) or later drawings of figures from age 8 going on 9 that I’ll be featuring soon. Other anomalies are the sporadic placement of the few elements on the page, plus their diminutive size, which are not in keeping with the other drawings, each of which claim all the available space on the sheet. When I showed this original to friend Frank Burkhauser, he noticed that the sheet bore invisible marks, as if embossed. I realized that another drawing that had been done rather heavy-handedly on a sheet above, embossing its outlines onto this sheet. Through careful scanning I was able to detect enough of those embossed lines to redraw in Photoshop the long-gone original which had left those invisible marks – a rather surreal lighthouse scene with a stairway to heaven and the statue of liberty on top. Now that’s an image of aspiration!

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