Saturday, March 16, 2024

The Return of Baby Days for Cousin Faith


Baby Days

Baby Days was drawn over the course of three years during the 1990s. By the time a dozen drawings were complete I started to write the story that had been driving the process. Now 20 years later I still like what it has to say and so, apparently, do a few friends. Since it's unlikely to see publication in any format other than this one I hope you'll enjoy it as it is. 

Thank you for coming by.
Susan 2013 now again 2024

We wonder how we came here
We wonder why we're born
In dreaming slept an answer
That woke one Summer morn

A voice is softly calling
Unheard by grownup ears

It whispers love and kindness
Yet never speaks of tears

It calls us all together
And sings a haunting song

A journey must be taken
We haven't very long

The plans are made in secret
In babbling baby talk

The journey is a long one
It's much too far to walk

We need some true companions
To help us in our flight

We travel into darkness
That comes with every night

We gather under starlit skies
(For children have no fear)

The magic time has come at last
To speed away from here

We fly into the morning light
From every distant land

To meet out there a mystery
Perhaps to understand

Even dragons have their children
Who also ought to learn

The world is made for singing
As through the stars we turn

It's time to travel home now
As morning comes to earth

The light of love rekindles
With every baby's birth

Baby days, sweet baby days
We've all been there you know
Hearts are filled with sweet delight
As children learn and grow

We hold them for a moment
As their childhood slips away
We only catch brief glimpses
Of wondrous baby days.


  1. Fabulous work, Susan! I've really enjoyed the revisit, especially all together on one page. Have you thought of printing it yourself, and putting it together as a little gift book for a lucky child (grandchild, niece, nephew or friend. Your work is so exquisite.

    1. I'm happy you enjoyed seeing it again in its new format, Marja-Leena. I looked into having it printed once but decided that a nicely done book would be too expensive.

  2. A heartwarming piece of art.
    Thank you for sharing it, Susan.

    1. I'm glad you liked it (again), Sean.

    2. 37 days later:
      Coming back again and again, and each time I like it a bit more. Just lovely.

  3. Like last time, these stopped me in my tracks.

    Bathtub - The spigots are a wonder (they made me lean in for a closer look with a big grin on my face). And the light on the floor tiles reminds me how much I love the rare showers and baths I take in daylight. I am so glad this is in black and white so your usual magic with textures is the main event. I'm reminded again of Vallotton's "La Paresse"

    "A voice is softly calling / Unheard by grownup ears" - That is the place I am trying to return to in the walled garden. Where my art is trying to take me (unsuccessfully so far). I love this image - the dolphins in the fountain, the gentle interaction around the pram.

    Sand castle - I can feel sand on baby skin.

    The big cats at the zoo - I love looking for the atmospheric details, like the grass in the cracks in the pavers. They slow time.

    The library - the Buddha and Yin/Yang... And the way that baby face peers out from the side of the big boldly patterned chair... brings back memories of when a chair like that could be a whole world to crawl over.

    The kitchen - I love the view of the table from the vantage of baby eyes and the pattern on the dog! The ball that is a globe continues the theme of the meeting of large and small - the world sized importance of play.

    "The journey is a long one / It's much to far to walk" - I'm reminded again of Vallotton, who also had prints with a sense of lunging movement like your dog. And the sun in the door!!! Baby with keys, baby climbing the grand stairs, the big clock... so much here about all that lies ahead of these tiny people.

    The car!!! The lean into the steering wheel! Navigator in the booster seat! The baby shoes from the rear view mirror are insired. And no glimpse of the mirror - no looking back!

    The gate is like a garden and a spider web, and where the babies emerged... I love the postures of the babies throughout these drawings; they show such a loving attention to the balance and proportions of baby figures, and the placement of little hands and feet. And in this drawing I love the dog's tail merging with the frame.

    "We gather under starlit skies / (For children have no fear)" - Yes, I think fear is learned or taught. And I didn't miss the lovely echo of baby carrying bear, and bear carrying baby.

    The merry-go-round - I love the way you open up shapes and perspectives to make patterns follow your whim. You create your own sense of close space - another way your images seem to slow time.

    And the rest of the story and images... I stop breathing as the animals take flight, the dragons emerge, and the images go cosmic. I love this entire series, but the two with the dragon smiles might be my favorites. The way you use the different sizes of scale patterns, the division of the pages, the freedom of the figures, the patterns and silhouettes in the sky all have an even more unbridled sense of frolic than the rest. I think you managed to build the scale and wonder of this romp with each drawing - not easy to do for so many images in a row!

    I marvel at the patience to ink the Milky Way, and I love the echo of dragon tail and dog tail.

    The blowing curtains catch the fleeting nature of the whole thing...

    Thank you for reposting these!


    1. Steve, I can't tell you just how amazed and delighted I was made by reading your generous compliments about Baby Days. When I drew these pictures (size 3 Radidograph) I spent a lot of time in a very different space from my usual artistic haunts and, like poets and musicians sometimes say, I felt as though I was a conduit for something far bigger. Too much time has passed to ask myself if I was competent enough to take on such a project. At the time I'd never done pen and ink drawings previously so had no clue (nor preconceived notions either) so your comparing my work to Vallotton's is very kind. Also, it's too late for me to wonder if the whole thing has any value to anyone other than myself. During the more than 5 years Baby Days had it's own site fewer than 20 people left comments, but all of them were very favorable and I'll always be grateful for that. We live in harsh times spiritually, making it no wonder to me that although many more may have read it, Baby Days was just a little too sentimental for most tastes. It's more a story to inspire contemplation of a period that moves far too swiftly when we're parenting little ones in this modern age.
      I'm very grateful to you for taking the time to write such an appreciative account of how you've responded to the individual pictures and the accompanying verse. No review anywhere could make me more pleased.

  4. I came by for a bedtime story.... What great timing!! I'm hearing the text set to music....... Happy Easter..... Happy dreams.

    1. Oh, that would be very nice. I'm glad you came back to see it all together.

      I hope you had a good holiday.

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