The Useful Side of Wrinkles

I have spent much of my summer teaching at music camps/festivals with husband and baby boy. (This weekend's Harmony of Song and Dance camp promises to be a real sweet one!)

A quick tale from the road: at last week's Irish Arts Week, my friend and fellow staffer Vincent Crotty told me a bit about his painting class. He explained that as his students chose subjects, he would also paint these same subjects for instructional purposes. One teenage student, smitten with his 14-year old girlfriend, set out to paint her from a shot on his iPhone.

Of course it makes sense that it would be challenging to paint a portrait using an iPhone photo as source material. But the big surprise for me is that it is really tough to paint a girl, "without a wrinkle or a blemish." Vincent explained that painting my 10-month-old son, for example, would be one of the hardest things he could imagine.

Wrinkles, lines, and uneven features/shadows create definition! Experiences leave their marks and impressions on our faces, making us multi-dimensional characters. What a lovely thing to think of wrinkles as visual definition--it helps to explain why it is so eerie to see a woman in her 60s who has had surgery to erase these markers.

New skin makes sense on a baby. I am going to drink in the smooth sweetness of Nigel's little cheek, and give thanks for my husband's rugged one!

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