Adventures in the Arts

Kids are instinctively playful - unless a cruel economy and cruel parents crush the creativity out of kids before it can ever take root. I recall making little animals out of clay soil in Nottingham, England, when I was very young. They were obviously not exactly like this little bunny because nobody took pictures of what we made in those days. "Oh, you clever little boy. Hold on while I get my Brownie box camera to record this for posterity. Drat! I've got no film." You get the idea.

I was a shepherd in the Sunday School nativity play at age about 6, and was filled with embarrassment, standing there with a tea towel over my head to simulate an arab headdress. Christmas pageants, as they call them in the States, are very likely the first experience most children ever have of drama!

When I was even younger - maybe 3 years - we all lived with my Granny in a huge stone built house in Cirencester. She took me to dance classes somewhere, me toting a great mushroom made of raffia, around which I was to dance. Awkward! Some years later at an interschool country dancing event I was in our school dance team but could never remember whether I was meant to start spinning first to the left or to the right. That sort of left/right dyslexia (as I call it) never deserted me - still messing up in line-dancing or trying to dance a gavotte in The Gondoliers. Much as I love dance, my feet never seemed to get the nessage!

I could always draw, and paint. I copied birds out of books when I was 10, and painted in oils and watercolor when on vacation. My Dad was keen on painting, so I followed his lead. He was actually rubbish at art all his life, but even in his dotage he never lost the desire to paint. I think it came down in the family - in the genes. My great-great-grandfather, Robert William Buss, was a very fine nineteenth century artist. His son Septimus was also a dab hand, but found a living in the church more congenial. Grandpa expressed his art with engraving on copper and brass. Obviously my Dad was not to be outdone! The genes were recessive. But if art passed him by I did not drop the ball.

To be continued.