My blog mission revisited:
A word about the mission of my blog and the relevance of recent postings. My mission statement (found in the ‘About’ section) indicates that my blog is primarily about autism and its effect on me, the sibling of an individual with autism. For the first year or so, this was the case. I recapped nearly all my memories about my autistic brother, Michael; germane experiences; many of my strategies of trying to communicate with him; interpretation of some of the books I read taking the autistic mind into account (Autism and the Stranger, Kandinsky and Autism); autism in the scheme of things (Glial Cells, Junk DNA, Dark Matter and Autism). To a lesser degree, I made an attempt to cover some of the other statements of my mission: neuroscience and its relevance to autism (Mental Blindness); ethics (Do Not Be Surprised) and mental health history (Diagnosis & Mental Health, Autism Diagnosis – Early History).
In terms of my personal experience with my Michael, I have taken the subject as far as it will go. In addition to my realization that I will never be able to communicate with him, it is very difficult to see him, as we live on opposite sides of the country; my last visit yielded no recognition at all on his part (The Visit). For a while, after that visit I tried to turn my creativity to expression of how I felt about my relationship with him (Autism Sibling & Expression).
Where am I now regarding my mission?
My experience growing up with an autistic, severely low-functioning, non verbal brother, enabled me to develop certain character traits: 1) attentiveness to problems of others; 2) a desire to know the causes of things; 3) the need to use my natural creativity to gain deeper understanding of things.
I have concentrated my efforts over the past year or so on the final point: using my creativity. I have been trying to improve my painting skills in representational and abstract styles. These efforts, in my mind, use some of the same ‘muscles’ I used to try to understand Mike.
One of the items in the subtitle of my blog, ‘family relationships’ will continue, with one important change of perspective. Instead of delving more into the family in which I was the son and the brother, I will explore family relations from my perspective as a grandfather (aka Zayde).
In conclusion, yes I should modify my mission statement, but I think my blog adheres to the spirit of the original in a significant way.
Today’s watercolor experiment:
William, my nearly 20-month old grandson, has extraordinary balance. When he is interested in something on the floor, he just squats down and takes a look. When he wants to get up, he gets up. There is no hydrostatic problem of the kind I have when I get up from a squatting position, where all the blood rushes away from my head, and I have to pause for a moment. He’s just up and on to the next thing.
In this portrait, Will is looking at one of his toys that has buttons. He loves buttons, even if they are just pictures of buttons. The iPad is no problem for him, Neither is the iPhone. The other day I got half a dozen calls as a result of his random button pushing (at least I think it was random).
I did my light sketch and chose my colors: English yellow, yellow ochre, a bit of sepia, for the shirt; phthalo blue for his pants; phthalo green for the stripes of his shirt and of course, my formula for skin tones, cadmium red, titanium white and yellow ochre.
Although I copied this from a photo (forget trying to paint him from life – he is not still for too long), I captured his concentration on the toy, and his balance as well. I paid careful attention to the proportions of his face this time. The down-looking attitude (foreshortening) of his face made it easier for me to capture his likeness.
I like this sketch.