My 48 Minutes by Jo Yaish-Shooman, Tel Aviv, Israel

Art dominates my life: I see shades of green in winter leaves, hear bass and treble in the morning traffic, see Fonteyn en-Pointe in birds on a wire. But my one true love – the smell of turps, the feel of a freshly opened tube of burnt sienna, the meeting of brush on canvas – has alluded me for some time. In fact, the last time I painted was the day I found out I was carrying my precious son – almost 7 years ago.

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Since then, life has taken over and this precious son’s needs have become my reason and motivation for this new world of mummyhood. My desire to draw, paint, sketch, hum and strum has stayed with me but on a slow simmer, while I filled my days with the art of changing nappies, making bottles and inventing fairytales.

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Dreams of more children came and were dashed, so in my ache, I turned back to my art – this time with an inquisitive and excited 4 year old boy in tow. Each time I brought a new drawing pad home, he would grab his crayons and scribble furiously and enthusiastically, mad swathes of childish lines and circles. Under my gentle guidance, these turned into heads with legs, then as he matured, bodies, necks, eyes, feet. Now at age 5 and a half, my son draws a person in reasonable proportion and with a small understanding of form and colour.


Last week, after reading The Road Gallery’s blog on taking 48 minutes for yourself, I found a rare quiet moment one evening when the house was sleeping, to begin a study of Spring tulips languishing by the window in my sitting room using the closest thing to me – his colouring pencils. For about 30 minutes, in the still of the night – just me, my paper, my eyes and my heart – sketching, enjoying the light on the crimson petals and shading the tones of orange, red and purple. I left it half-finished on the table and went to bed.

Jo’s initial drawing of tulips

The next afternoon, after work, school, dog walking, and cooking, I came into the sitting room and saw my little boy, intense in concentration, continuing my sketch on his own. I saw his sweet little face as he looked at flowers, then down at the picture and scribbled and drew. I sat quietly beside him, watching. He noticed how I had combined yellow and green, how I had used crossed-hatching, how I had pressed down harder to create a stronger colour. He turned to me and ask me how he was doing. I looked at his work and said, in complete honesty, “It’s beautiful my darling, just beautiful.”

Her son’s continuation of the drawing

48 minutes of utter joy.

Jo is the owner of IdoArt, a boutique, online store selling unique baby and wedding gifts and silver fingerprint jewelry. Check out her beautiful products here