Family passes creativity through generations

Published 12:00 pm Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The personal expression of creativity seems to me to be a very magical thing.

What could be more wonderful than being born into a family where, from very early on, you are surrounded with the encouragement to explore and learn from those who have already chosen and walked that path.

Of course, we are quick to put a crayon into the hand of every child early on, but then, most adults continue on about more pressing business, perhaps only pausing later to admire the scribbley doggie or smiling face of mommy.

Ian Edwards, although only 15 months old, has already taken brushes in hand and begun applying paint to canvas. With the nurturing and knowledgeable assistance of his grandmother, artist Phyllis Thomas Gibson, Ian creates small abstract works that are currently featured alongside the paintings of his grandmother in a December gallery show at Four Seasons Antiques, Art & Botanicals.

Phyllis has approached Ian’s artistic training in a playful way — in a patient way that may well be the trademark of grandmothers. Now, when she says, “do you want to paint?” Ian will wave his hands in painting motions excitedly over his high-chair tray and then wait to be scooped up to the studio where he enjoys spending time.

They begin by playing patty-cake with the paint and Ian understands that they must stop before the results turn into a brown, gooey puddle.

In the beginning, when he was 14 months old, Phyllis says she held and guided his hand. She is now teaching him his colors as well as instructing him on how to rinse his brushes and care for them.

Ian has developed a preference for a specific big brush and he signs each finished piece with a paint dot. He is fond, Phyllis observes, of working with metallic gold paint, which he exuberantly flings onto the canvas.

This technique has inspired the name of the series, Moon and Stars. The 5″x5″ canvases are additionally signed on the back, Ian and Nana.