Art galleries and me haven't always been the best of friends. Last year I blogged about how I'd learnt to love art galleries - a process of time, maturity, and most especially, having an art expert as a travel companion (but thankfully, not the kind of art expert who drones on and on - rather, one who tells you just a couple of important things which help you see the art in an entirely new way).
Now that I really appreciate the art that I can see when I visit different countries, I'm determined to make sure my little boy can enjoy it right from the start, rather than following my path. He loves to draw and paint, which is a great start, and one of his favourite books for a long time now has been the story of Miffy going to the art gallery. All good so far.
Perhaps a year ago - I guess he would have been not quite two - I took him for his first visit to the Art Gallery of Western Australia. It's got quite a few interesting permanent collections (and in recent times some really fantastic visiting exhibitions in conjunction with New York's MoMA) and I took my little boy for a stroll through some of the galleries.
He liked to talk about the colours, and some of the shapes, but then something stopped him in his tracks: the painting you can see in the postcard above. It's a painting by Guy Grey-Smith called Skull Springs Country, painted in the 1960s, and I probably wouldn't have paid it much attention - but my son decided it looked like a rubbish truck. (Or garbage truck, for my American readers.) He has a particular obsession with rubbish trucks, so once he decided this painting looked like one, he wanted to stay all day. After quite some time he let me lead him away to other parts of the gallery, but we had to return twice more to see "his" painting. I was quite relieved when I found a postcard of it in the shop to take home (and you can see from the photo that it's been a much-loved postcard).
So this gallery experience was a good start. When we spend a couple of days in Vienna later this year, I'm very much hoping to take him to Hundertwasser's main gallery, Kunst Haus Wien, both because it's easily one of my favourite galleries and because the colourful and fun nature of Hundertwasser's work, not to mention the bizarre rolling floor of the gallery, should entertain him very well. And in the coming years I hope that he'll really enjoy visiting all kinds of art galleries on our travels. That's the plan, anyway.