The FWMoA Fridge: Feelings

Alyssa Dumire, Director of Children’s Education

On the FWMoA Fridge…Feelings!

Today we’re exploring how visitors to the Early Learning Center have expressed emotion in their drawings. We often discuss the concept of mood on our school tours—how does a work make you feel? What types of lines, shapes, and colors did the artist include to evoke that feeling? Sometimes, the emotion behind an artwork is obvious. Maybe there’s a figure in the work with a clear expression on their face. Other times, it can be much more abstract and dependent on the viewer’s interpretation. Most of today’s works fall into the former category, but all have strong expressive qualities that go beyond just the imagery. We don’t always like to look at art that is angry or scary, but part of the importance of art is its value as a healthy mode of self-expression and vehicle for empathy. I also must make a disclaimer that although most of the works we’re sharing today portray darker or more complex emotions, our visitors leave behind plenty of happy drawings, too!

Let’s look!

A child's drawing reminiscent of a figure out of Edvard Munch's "The Scream".

This is an office favorite reminiscent of Edvard Munch’s iconic painting, The Scream. Is this figure screaming in anguish or excitement? For me, it depends on the day!

A child's drawing of a pink, amoeba like creature with three legs and three eyes saying "Woah". Across from it is a bare tree.

This wobbly character has taken up residence on my bulletin board. He looks vulnerable or overwhelmed, as if he could be blown over by the slightest breeze from the nearby tree, which would otherwise be serene.

A child's drawing of a black composition with a spiral in the center in red and a blue bulls-eye.

This one is a bit on the abstract side. It appears to be a nighttime scene, with a house in the upper right corner and a target near the center of the page. Is it a literal bull’s eye or symbolic of something? The black scribbles suggest the dark of night, but also lend an eeriness to the image. It reminds me of Jasper Johns’ Target paintings.

A child's drawing of a green, angry spider over what looks like a body of blue water.

Certain colors are strongly associated with different moods, green often indicating jealousy or illness. Think of Disgust in the Disney/Pixar movie Inside Out! This grumpy face reminds me of Oscar the Grouch—can you imagine the Sesame Street character being any color but his slimy, grungy green? Apparently, he was originally conceived as magenta and first appeared yellow-orange, but I think he’d look much too cheery and way less, well, grouchy in either of those vibrant hues.

A child's drawing of an angry, hulk-like creature...or maybe an ogre...screaming at a dark black pole.

Here’s a more Hulk-esque use of green. This red-eyed face screams into a field of dark, black scribbles, his anger unheard.

This scene of rainbows, sunshine, and smiling faces should feel happy! But does it? The aggressive, rushed drawing style seems to belie darker emotions.

If this drawing could talk, it would say, “Meh.”

What do your drawings say about you? Got some feelings to get off your chest? Explore the galleries for inspiration, then swing by the Learning Center to draw it out.

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