Victorian England had a tradition of "The Beautiful Child." Artists of the era loved haunted, haunting portraits of children awash in their innocence. Lewis Carroll, author of "Alice in Wonderland," took such photographs. Dozens of novels, including Charles Kingsley's "Water Babies," portrayed Victorian children that way.
Twentieth-century artists and authors have pushed hard against such a notion, however, opting instead for the child in reality. Judy Blume and others are intent on showing us kids warts and all. But as information about child sexual abuse, drugs and neglect fills the news, a look back at the concept of the beautiful child seems refreshing - even necessary.And for that, we have the calendar of Sarah Young and Dawn Baker Brimley, a calendar that recently won the prestigious Strathmore Award. Young did the illustrations, Brimley the poems, and the result is a sweet meditation on childhood. A look at eternal children that have both awe and awareness in their eyes.
"When I was a child I felt I had a lot of important thoughts of my own," says artist Young, a native Utahn. "I wanted that to come across in my drawings. I want adults to see these pieces and return to those times in their lives."
Young's drawings for the calendar were of her sisters. Her mother, Rebecca Bloxham, is a photographer and artist in her own right, and many of the drawings were re-created from family photos taken through the years.
"In fact, Mother and I have a mother-daughter show coming up here in California," says Young.
As for Dawn Baker Brimley, her poetic insights into childhood come from her own formative years in Monroe, Utah, and her years as an instructor in children's literature. She has won several awards for her poetry, and her new book, "Waking Moments," is now available.
For the past month their calendar has been part of an Anaheim Museum exhibit. The original drawings will be displayed and sold at a show later this year.
The calendar itself can be found at several local locations. For information about it, call Midge Critchfield at 756-8177.