Staying Inside the Lines

We just had a wonderful three-day visit from Dennis’s son Ryan and our five-year-old granddaughter Leah. One of her favorite activities is to color, so I had bought her a mandala coloring book which turned out to be a really fun thing for us to do together. I had this realization that basically I have been coloring for four years, ever since I started drawing mandalas. What is strange is that I never really figured it out before.

Anyway, at one point, Leah said, “I like the way you color. All I know how to do is scribble.”

It was such an endearing thing to say, and I asked her if she would like to learn an easy way to help her stay within the lines and she said “yes.” I explained how she could use the black lines and first outline a shape in the desired color and after that begin to fill in the space. She tried it out and caught on really quickly, and I was so pleased that I had been able to teach her something.  She was very diligent about it for a while, but after a few minutes, she reverted to scribbling again.  I asked her why and she said, “I just like to scribble.”

That really made me think about how a child makes the transition from scribbling to being able to stay between the lines, and about what is gained and what is lost when that happens.  Leah knows.  Scribbling is fun.  It is free, wild, daring.  It isn’t afraid to go outside the lines.  It makes a bold statement.  I wonder why did we ever have to learn to stay inside the lines?  Who taught me?  When?  Why did I let it happen?  Is it too late to go back?

Pictured above is one of our best collaborations, with me trying to be looser, and Leah trying to stay inside the lines.

Beginning Again

I made this drawing a while ago and found it this morning while looking through one of my sketchbooks.  In the bottom right corner, I had written the words, “and so it begins again.”  Because of this it felt appropriate to use it here, as one year is ending and another is about to begin.  The colors seemed to also reflect the spirit of the holidays.  And the imagery felt celebratory as well.

It has long been a practice of mine to use words in conjunction with form.  Sometimes the words come first and then they determine what the imagery will be.  Sometimes it’s the other way around.  Using words helps me to understand my feelings and why I am creating that particular piece.  Sometimes the words remain visible, and at other times the imagery obscures, or partly obscures, the words.  It’s all good.  Using the words is more for me than the viewer.  I don’t really want to pin anything down too much.

Of Tulips and ipads

I love all the color in this photo.  Especially all the red.  The brand new ipad with its special red cover was waiting for me when I got back from PA this time.   The vibrant red tulips and daffodils picked from our garden.  The ipad happened to get set down next to the flowers and it really hit my eye.  The promise of Spring and the challenge of learning about something new.  When I took the photo, I didn’t expect that the red-patterned cover on the bench in the background would show so much.

Why do I love red so much in the world, but not so much to wear and rarely to paint with?