Are you saving colors for a day that will never come?
As a kid, there was nothing more wonderful than getting a brand new 64-color box of Crayolas, taking them out, lining them up, reading their fantastic names, and finally, coloring. Inevitably, the crayons would get broken or lost and the built-in sharpener would clog. Soon there would be only dull stubs of grays and browns, all the “good colors” gone.
Still, I could always find a pencil by raiding my brother’s desk drawer. So I drew and doodled and even had some drawings published in local papers. But I lost my confidence in using color. I didn’t own paints (except the watercolor set, in worse shape than the 64-Crayola-box, each color a congealed pool muddied to brown.)
As an adult, I could supply myself with that wonderful box of crayons whenever I needed to. I would browse the art store and collect markers and paints. This time, the colors remained pristine, untouched, each tip sharp, each paint oval gleaming in its white tray. Some day I might use them, I told myself. I never did, but I hoarded them all the same.
And then came a day when I stopped thinking of myself as an artist altogether. I was avoiding color. I still didn’t know what to do with it. I didn’t know how to paint. I wasn’t really good enough to be an artist.
So it happens that we often avoid what we long for—-because we think we’re not good enough.
What kind of sense is this?
About fifteen years ago, I started taking art classes with Lee Baughman, a watercolor instructor and lover of color whose enthusiasm, talent, attention and skills changed everything. Wow! With Lee’s encouragement, my work burst into color, and I was later drawn to the most vivid medium I’d used yet, pastels. I learned about pastels from the fabulous Jane Aukshunas. Today, I love both mediums as well as both teachers. I’ll forever be grateful to Lee and Jane for transforming my relationship with color from one of fear and avoidance to joy and delight and proficiency.
There’s no greater joy than finding your colors, the things you love, and experiencing them without self-consciousness. Words, stories, poems, memories—these pop with color as surely as these mountains.
Rediscover your colors as the light returns, in: