grown ups are like that....

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

the feel of color part 2

There is nothing as wonderful as a brand new box of crayons. I bought the big ninety-six pack last summer, and it came complete with a built-in sharpener.

"They are for the kids," I told myself.

Yet I couldn't help but feel a little excited as I brought them home. I longed to open them, breathe in their scent, and make that first waxy mark on a blank sheet of paper.

My son was fascinated by the sharpener. We had to dig around in the junk drawer and the back of the craft box for some old worn down nubs of crayons to test out the new contraption. We soon had several very tiny, perfectly sharp and paperless little bits of color in front of us.

Next it was time to look over the new crayons themselves. "Mauvelous" was his favorite. I searched to make sure "Burnt Umber" was still there like when I was a child. It was.

When our examination was complete, we moved on to the coloring books. Once empty spaces of black and white began to burst with color. My daughter came in and joined us, and we spent the next few hours working on our pages.

When everyone finished I dove into a new task: color organizing. As a child I would arrange all the crayons, markers, and drawing pencils by color. I spent an inordinate amount of time sorting, categorizing, and subcategorizing by hue. Of course it didn't last. Within a week the organization I so meticulously created would crumble, almost literally. Crayons would break and their wrappers tear. The pencils would be out of order and the tips of the markers would fray and dry out. So of course, it wasn't long before the new box of crayons I had purchased for the kids became a mess of broken pieces scattered at the bottom of the craft box.

I was bothered to no end by this disarray, so a few weeks ago I purchased a set of colored pencils to use in my mandala coloring books. I guarded them carefully from the little fingers who would, I knew, beg to use them the minute they got wind of a new art supply in their midst.

I think the perfectly sharpened tips and organized color scheme lasted about one week.

"Please, please let me use them! I'll be careful I swear."

And so the seal was broken and now my lovely, colored pencils are scattered all over the dinning room table next to a stack of construction paper and a roll (my last) of Scotch tape. At first I felt angry.

"Those are mine! Can't I have ONE thing in this house that no one else touches?"

I felt like I needed to snatch them away, hide them, and protect them from those little people grasping at everything I have.

But the feeling passed quickly, because, really, who can horde color? How selfish would it be to keep "Cerulean" hidden away from those I love? What right do I really have to shove"Lime Green" or "Orchid" in drawer for no one to experience but myself?

After all, color is a shared joy. No one should be allowed to smother a rainbow.

You can read the original "feel of color" here.


Anna said...

I nearly wept... well I feel a tear.... so I did weep reading this. I actually keep an "anniversary set" of crayons in the tin to take out and breathe the scent deeply.(crayola did this tin with a crayola ornament one year- maybe 1993? Look on Amazon for the 90th anniversary set)I have a set of Prismacolor colored pencils that actually are mine. Being an artist I do feel the need to have these colors all to myself for "real" paying artistic purposes, in other words "jobs". Once my children were teenagers I allowed them to use them. By then they had learned to be respectful of my supplies. Thank you for putting something so dear to my heart in words........

CraffingOutLoud said...

I didn't realize that the pristineness of a new box of crayons was treasured by others as it is by me. Thanks for sharing this lovely piece, C.

Aliki2006 said...

Oh, I so know what you mean, and feel your pain. It used to drive me nuts that neither one of my kids seems to care about keeping the crayons organized and neat and unbroken. I also can't stand when the kids mix the play-doh colors--this drives me a particular kind of nuts.

leigh said...

I can smell crayons now. My aunties used to get flat sided crayons in a tin and this piece reminded me of them for the first time in a long time. Just the other day I pondered the crayola section at the toy store, considering a guilty little purchase for just me. I should have done it. Even if they would have been mine for only 15 minutes.

InTheFastLane said...

I love the smell of crayons too...neatly and in order...

Thanks for the reminder to share.

Mary G said...

I have a set of artist's markers carefully hidden from the grandkid (and her grandfather) and sorted by rainbow colour. Sometimes I feel ashamed, but not enough to share them.
I do let Miss Seven Year Old use my good watercolour brushes and paints, though.
What a wonderful post. You said it so very well!

flutter said...

that last line is golden

Steve! said...

what flutter said....but what everyone said about your way drawing the inner out of each of us---with well crayola-ed words C...
Never underestimate the power of the crayon....or your deep artistry.

PS--I don't relate at ALL with keeping order. Artist here that has no order to his color...maybe its a male thing; maybe I'm too outside every line. No matter...
write on C.... Please. We need your color

Bon said...

my kids break crayons for the sheer joy of it and it sends me into private tailspins.

this was fabulous.

Spidermom said...

I could smell crayons while I read this- beautiful. My mom recently made a "crayon" quilt. Each quilt block is a different color crayon. She made it because of all the wonderful memories she had of her grandfather buying her boxes of crayons when she was a child.

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