Like most 3 year olds, Levi likes to paint. In the studio, he has his own area set up on two tables where he can go to paint or color or build or cut…whatever he’s in the mood for. To my delight, he’s lately been interested in watercolors. A few months back I gave him a box of some of my old watercolor tubes, which he quickly used up. So, for Christmas he got his very own collection of tubes. “Just for me, Mommy?”, he said. “Yes, just for you.”
I try to let him initiate the practice of painting. I figure if all the supplies are there, he just needs to follow his muse. Of course this theory is much easier for a 3 yr old to put into practice then it is for most adults. I have hundreds of tubes of paint and brushes calling my name everyday, but I’m ignoring them…for now.
While Calvin is napping (or should I say, “On the days when Calvin is napping”…grr), Levi and I head to the studio to play. When he gets going on a painting, I step over to my side of the room and start to work on my own projects…for a few minutes. Then I hear, “Mommy, come see this!!” or “Mommy, I need more water.” Before long, I am standing next to him just watching. As much as I would love to be able to work side by side with him in the studio, it’s just not yet a reality for us. Sometimes I get frustrated by this, but when I stop and really pay attention to what he’s doing, I learn great lessons. It slows me down and makes me take notice of how he holds a brush, of what colors he chooses, of how he makes the water blend them all together. It gives me a chance to be an observer into his creative process and it teaches me NOT to critique. I have to work hard at not jumping in and giving advice. The artist inside me wants to scream when I see him about to dip his brush in a blob of black paint to muddy up all the beautiful yellows and oranges on the page. The Virgo in me wants to tell him to keep his brushes clean or else the paint just gets all murky…and what about those spills? The mother in me is learning to guide with suggestion, to watch with wonder and to let him learn from his own experiences.
One of my fondest mothering moments was from a day such as this. While he was painting I heard, “Mommy…did you know that blue and red make PURPLE????” I almost cried.
Yes, Levi, I do know that blue and red make purple. I’m so glad you discovered it.