Friday, December 28, 2012

Let's Paint the Town Red

My oldest rarely does art. Sometimes I can talk him into dumping some glue and glitter on the page but that is over in minutes. The other day, he announced that he wanted to paint like Molly does. Molly was (and is!) an amazing sitter that moved to Indiana this summer. She is wonderfully creative and, each week, would teach him how to mix colors to make new colors. They would use water to rinse brushes and also to change the strength of the color. I hadn't realized that he remembered, but he did.

We started inside and this was my first mistake. I was watching my youngest then turned to see that my oldest had strayed from the paper and had begun painting his arm. "Isn't that so cool," he shouted with the enthusiasm of an artist. "Yes!" I said doing my best to keep the images of a completely red house out of my mind. "We should go outside so you can paint without worrying about the mess!" He hesitated, seeing right through my forced cheerfulness, then decided my ulterior motive would not stand in the way of his creation.

We laid our art sheet down on the driveway and he commenced his painting. Some stayed on the page but most of it ended up all over his legs and arms. "What will Daddy say," he asked, "when he finds out I have painted myself a very bright color?" I replied that he will be very surprised. "He'll probably make me take a bath," he said with a conspirator's smile. He was right - That's exactly what my husband would say.

My little red man played while my youngest blew bubbles. They took turns on the scooter until my son said he was getting, "very very itchy." We cleaned up then took a red bath (which only delighted him more).

The whole experience reminded me of those artists that throw paint at the canvas and, by the end, are covered in paint from head to toe. Art and creativity are not meant to be clean. They are meant to be liberating and wild and free. My friend gave me a quote by Pablo Picasso that is so fitting, "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."

How can you give yourself and your children the freedom to create with abandon?

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