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Tiger by Morris Hirschfield, 1940. On display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

A note from Emma Wood

It is still 2019, but by the time you read this, it will be 2020—so happy new year! I have spent the holiday visiting with my family—my parents as well as my brother, his wife, and my newborn nephew—in my hometown, New York City. This morning, my husband and I braved the freezing rain for a trip to see the recently renovated Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). We saw many old favorites as well as some new pieces that the renovation had created room for.

I am not sure whether this painting, Tiger, by Morris Hirshfield, was previously on display or not, but this time I was really struck by it (as well as by his other paintings). I love the tiger’s expressive, strangely human face, which seems simultaneously fierce and curious, as well as his long, plump body. I love the cloud-striped sky that echoes the black stripes on the tiger’s coat. And I especially love the three birds perched in the tree in the bottom-left corner. This is obviously not a realistic depiction of a tiger in a landscape, and I love it for that reason; it is playful and funny while also being complex and serious. I love it for another reason: it reminds me of some of the art we see submitted to Stone Soup.

Morris Hirshfield, the painter, was what is known as an “outsider artist.” This means that he had no formal training as an artist. In fact, before he began to paint, Hirshfield owned a business that manufactured women’s clothing and another company that made slippers! Outsider artists have a special kinship with child artists as many children begin making art without any formal training or at least without much knowledge about the history of art. It is helpful and very valuable to eventually learn the history of your field, but working without that knowledge can also be freeing—and mean your own work is more unusual and distinctive.

I hope this painting will inspire you to go create something similarly strange, striking, and beautiful.

Until next week,

Highlights from the past week online

Don't miss the latest content from our Book Reviewers and Young Bloggers at Stonesoup.com!

Calliope, 10, reviews Alex Gino's book George. Read how Calliope immediately fell in love with the book and how the story features similarities to E.B. White's classic Charlotte's Web.

A video on the blog this week! Caitlin Goh, 13, created a movie from the photos and videos she took while on vacation to the beaches in Normandy, France, where D-Day took place during World War II. Watch the video on the blog here or on our YouTube channel here.

Contest, partnership, & project news

We are excited to read through your submissions to our personal narrative contest and are gearing up for a photography contest as well as our second annual book contest in 2020. Stay tuned!

Mazzi Maycotte

From Stone Soup January 2020

The life of a ghost

By Mazzi Maycotte, 10 (Austin TX)

to go to school I cross
2 rivers,
1 lake,
a pond,
1 mountain, and
2 hills
I raise my hand
but no one calls on me
I ask a question
no one answers me
Why oh why
do I have the life
of a

Read this poem (and more from the January issue)  here.

Stone Soup is published by Children’s Art Foundation-Stone Soup Inc., a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit organization registered
in the United States of America, EIN: 23-7317498.

Stone Soup's Advisors: Abby Austin, Mike Axelrod, Annabelle Baird, Jem Burch, Evelyn Chen, Juliet Fraser, Zoe Hall, Montanna Harling, Alicia & Joe Havilland, Lara Katz, Rebecca Kilroy, Christine Leishman, Julie Minnis, Jessica Opolko, Tara Prakash, Denise Prata, Logan Roberts, Emily Tarco, Rebecca Ramos Velasquez, Susan Wilky.


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