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March 19, 2005

Painting A Dream

When Jennifer woke up this morning, she told me she’d dreamed of a painting. A stallion on his hind legs, forelegs flailing in the air. Mane blowing in the breeze, with a red sunset. Green fields with streaks of blue and yellow.

“You dreamed this painting, sweetie??

“Yes, sir.?

So, she sat down in front of the easel. We cleaned out the paint trays and started squirting out paint blobs of red, blue, and yellow. (She mixes all of her colors from the primaries.) One thing I learned from Ken Kesey is that kids like to paint, and it’s your job to provide them with the raw materials. That means, easel, paper, paint, paint brushes, apron, the whole nine yards. If your kid doesn’t have these things, then you need to get in your car and drive to the nearest MJ Designs or Michaels and stock up.

So, she told me to leave the room as it would be a surprise, started painting this scene. Painted a beautiful sunset, then began to sketch a horse standing on his hind legs. The horse had his mouth open, looking straight up into the sky. But, she erased it and started over. Then, she erased it again, and somehow the eraser got paint on it and the paper started to tear. In a panic, she called me in to help salvage the painting.

She rejected my solutions as impossible and collapsed into a little puddle of girl on the couch, sobbing silently. Eventually, she went upstairs to torment the guinea pigs.

Eventually, I convince her that this is what happens to artists. They make mistakes and then pick up and move on. Character and talent are formed by mistakes in the crucible of life. You always learn more through failure than through success.

And, eventually, she was back at work, sketching out the horse before starting to put paint on the paper.

"Remember to paint the background first, baby. Always paint from the back of the painting forward. Got it?"

"Yes sir."

Posted by Peenie Wallie on March 19, 2005 at 11:07 AM

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