I recently did a free-paint art project with my students. The only requirement was to paint something on the paper using the paint colors they had mixed during our color mixing activity. They love to paint, and being able to use colors they created intensified their enjoyment.
I moved around the room snapping photos, chatting with the girls, and putting finished works on the drying rack. On one of my passes I captured this.
I was intrigued by the horizontal lines. I loved the structure and the contrast between the flowers organic shape and the horizontal lines.
After a bit of time I returned to this same artist. She was focused. She didn’t raise her head but continued to look and add, look and add.
Her work was so different than when I last saw it. I was intrigued. I loved it even more now then before. I wasn’t sure what was behind the flower, but I liked. I snapped a photo, and told her how cool I thought it was.
She stopped painting, gave it one more look. and then with a gigantic smile and complete clarity, she looked up and said. “It’s a flower growing in a library.”
Me: “Oh, wow … it is!!! That’s fantabulous!”
I snapped another photo, and continued the controlled chaos that art clean up sometimes is.
Afterwards I realize I missed an opportunity. I missed an opportunity to take a breath and a moment to let her tell me more.
Did she have that idea from the beginning?
Did it just happen?
Did her work remind her of a library?
Does she have a library with a flower in it?
So many questions. So many opportunities for connection, affirmation, wonder, relationship, joy, learning.
For some time, I fretted about not giving her that time.
Now I see it as a lesson and an opportunity for me to learn and grow as an educator and human being. And, I breathe easy remembering her focus, intensity, experience and smile. She was content.
Indeed, which came first, the original thought or the final expression