Coloring it’s so therapeutic, or at least I always thought so. I remember when I was in the third grade, my teacher spent an entire recess teaching the class how to color “the right way.” I didn’t know that there was a wrong way to color, but nonetheless, she found fault in my artwork. According to my teacher, “you always have a dark outline to begin with, followed by light shading on the inside. When shading one must only go in one direction, because it will confuse the viewer if you go all over the place, and nobody likes to be confused. ”
To prove her point she asked us to draw an apple. She only gave us three colors; red, green, and brown, and with the knowledge she had given us, she gave us a few minutes to draw the best apple we could. As we all worked, she would walk around the classroom and point out all of our mistakes… degrading one person’s work at a time.
I remember being the last to have their art viewed because I was the last in the row of desks. I remember this like it was yesterday. I remember her bending over my desk, and smelling the tuna fish on her breath. She was utterly and completely disgusted with my art work.
Because I produce something like this.
I remember my mom had given me an apple for snack that day, and to me, that’s what an apple looked like. It wasn’t perfectly round or perfectly shaded. It wasn’t shiny, and there were more green spots on it than red. But of course she held my picture in front of the class, and proceeded to tell everybody that I didn’t follow her directions, because “silly Jill did what she wanted to do, not what she was told to do.”
I proceeded to cry in front of the class. This was nothing new, because my third-grade teacher took GREAT pride in embarrassing everybody in front of the class, at least twice a year. Apparently it was my turn that day.
Apparently, she was looking for something more like this
An impossible feat if you ask me. But since none of our artwork was up to her standards, she made us all stay inside for the second recess and sit with our heads down at our desks. And none of us questioned it either, because we knew we were being punished.
Now it’s my sons turn to color. He LOVES taking a big handful of crayons, fisting them together, and swirling his fist of crayons round and round to make different colors and designs. And I love it!!!!!!! To me, art is doing what you want, and seeing what ever it is that you want to see. There is no right or wrong way to color, even though coloring in the lines is an age-appropriate activity, I love that my son sees outside the box, and constantly pushing the envelope. I LOVE that he perceives art on his own way, and does it in a way that makes him feel comfortable and happy.
I have no idea my third-grade teacher is alive or dead, but I hope that where ever she is, she’s lightened up a little. She’s lowered her standards and accepts fault in all of its glory. I hope she’s realized that nobody is perfect and even objects like apples have fault in them as well.