Saturday, November 27, 2010

The promise in the shavings

There are the crayons that the girls can reach on their own and that they use every day. But when we want to make a special occasion of drawing we pull out my old set of Prismacolors, these fancy-pants colored pencils that I have leftover from art classes in high school. I think they sat and colored for almost an hour. And I sat and read the newspaper's weekly magazine and sharpened on demand.
L drew a short line with every color in the box, declared it a beautiful scribble-scrabble, and wandered off to find a snack. E colored for a while and then told me she didn't know what she wanted to draw.

I told her that I used to do color studies to get started, when I used to draw a lot. She asked what I meant and I showed her. I made a little bar of the color spectrum. It was interesting to watch her copy my technique. At first she took the pencils directly from my hand in turn but she expanded the color study on her own, creating a gray spectrum, and then freeforming a new kind of rainbow.

While she colored, we talked about new things to her: tints and shades, values and tones. We talked about what makes a rainbow and how colors can layer and things I know but never utilize; things she sops up and knew without vocabulary. It was art class and science lesson and creative play and great conversation with one of my favorite people.

And after our little stacks of hash marks, she found her inspiration and was able to draw a picture. She made a family portrait, vivid and saturated and very essence-of-E.

The post with ears on the right side, she says, is a big music box. The five of us are dancing, and so are the birds and butteflies. It's called Sunday because she says she's going to draw every day of the week.

I think what she sees is true, but it's nice to be reminded: life really is this bright. Pin It