‘You know what, Momma?’ Isadora informed me yesterday in the car. ‘You’re spending way too much time with Errol. Always snuggling him and hugging him – it’s too much time.’ Oh. ‘Are you saying that you need more snuggle time with me?’ Yes, in short, and how wonderful that she’s both articulate enough and self-aware enough to tell me so. We quickly made a date for that evening, after Daddio was home, after Errol (that snuggle-hogging sweetie) was tucked in bed. We made a date for some special watercolor painting time together. With Momma’s special, grown-up watercolors, no less.
There was a bit of a delay in starting as I cut the watercolor paper to size, punched holes in it, and bound it into two spiral-bound Special Painting Books. I carefully showed her the special nature of the watercolor paper, and we noted how nice and thick it was, how one side was much rougher, much bumpier than the other, to better grab the paint. ‘That’s the paper’s tooth,’ I explained, offering a nugget of information for careful filing in The Girl’s memory vault, to no doubt be retrieved at a most appropriate time.
We made no remarkable paintings last night, mostly working on keeping the colors from muddying in the tin wells and painting samples of each color. But it was enough. Enough to elicit a ‘We should do this EVERY night’ comment from a contented Girl. We just might.
Ah, it’s been years since I’ve wet a brush with watercolor paint. I discarded the whole medium pretty early on in the Art School Years, dismissing it as too bland and timid and b-o-r-i-n-g. Is it a sign of artistic maturity that I’ve been yearning to paint with water? Of an aesthetic quietness that’s taken residence in my psyche, residing comfortably with the larger-than-life Fabric Aesthetic and even the Pair-Bold-Colors-and-Be-Exciting! Aesthetic? Might be. It must also be noted, that while I’ve had the yearning to break out the paints for quite some time, the real catalyzing factor in choosing Now was the movie “Miss Potter,” which only days ago gave me an interesting insight into the ethereal watercolor paintings of Beatrix Potter. Watching the scenes of her satisfaction at the runaway success of her first book, I noted our own copies of her books strewn about the living room and decided she’s be most pleased, if not a little scandalized by the mess, of her presence in our home.