Colouring Within the Lines

I attended a lecture on the signs of selflessness. It was a women’s only event, so naturally, some brought their children with them. I sat next to a mother and daughter duo. To keep her daughter busy for the next hour or so, the mother took an A4 children’s colouring book out of her bag, along with a handful of felt-tips. Like many, she had come prepared. Whilst listening to the speech, I looked down at the colouring book and watched the little girl colour in all directions but one. Who cares, right? There’s no rule to say you only colour in a certain direction. What’s important is that she enjoyed what she was doing. She coloured a flower stem in horizontal stripes of light and dark green. And it made me think If I were given the same page would I also have been that experimental? Probably not, is my honest answer. As Picasso once said 

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

As adults, we’re surrounded by rules and regulations. Emotions of failing and being rejected. Time lost to hours of planning, while half those ideas get screwed up into paper balls. Whereas for children everything is feasible.

I continued to glance at the colouring book as she progressed on to the petals. Each petal had been shaded in different colours. Mutely I applauded her creativity. As an artist, I need to put a line through negative thoughts. To stop worrying about things that don’t exist, like failures. And, start colouring in more than one direction.

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