There’s something about the way my three year old daughter paints that reflects so much of what I’d love to be, or reminds me so much of what I’ve forgotten.
Her paintings arrive back from Pre School in piles – usually accompanied by paint in her hair and over her clothes, and often with signs of it on her feet from where it’s been washed off. For some reason she seems to enjoy painting her feet as well as the paper. Pre School don’t seem to mind this. It is one of the reasons that I send her to Pre School – so she can put painty footprints all over their floor and not mine!
Whatever the mess, I love receiving the armloads of paintings, but I cannot keep them all. I find it hard to put lots in the Recycling Box. So, like looking through a box of chocolates, I choose my favourites and discard the rest. The caramels I keep, the strawberry and coffee ones I lose.
There is an energy, purpose and abandonment to her paintings. No sense of fear, rule or boundary in how her paint touches the paper. She does not fear the edges or the choice of colours. Somedays one big stroke of paint on the paper is enough; other days the whole canvas is covered, thick and heavy with paint.
I love that she does not mind.
She is not hindered.
She has no picture in her head of what looks right or wrong. There is no pressure to create for an audience, to create a masterpiece, or to create something that other people will like.
I envy her creative freedom. It is a freedom of headspace. A freedom from
Why do we lose this colour palette of expression as we grow up? I am reminded of Picasso’s quote:
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist as he grows up”.
As I wash the paint out of her hair again, I treasure what this little three year old teaches me, and pray it will not be trodden out of her.