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The world is their canvas

SOULFUL ART By little hands. Photo: Shyam V. Krishnamurthy   | Photo Credit: mail pic

There’s nothing quite as appealing as toddler art. A big part of it is the earnestness with which they create, and the sheer enjoyment they derive from it. Give a toddler crayons or colour pencils or sketch pens and any old piece of paper, and she’ll just radiate contentment as she draws or colours away. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the kitchen or waiting at the doctor’s office — you’re guaranteed a few moments of peaceful creativity. Unless, of course, there’s more than one kid around, in which case you’ll end up playing referee as they fight over the same reds, greens and blues. This is why there’s no such thing as too many colours in the house. The more duplicates you have, the better. Not just so you can split them between warring toddlers, but also because you can keep one lot in your bag, one lot in grandma’s house, one lot in the drawing room, and an entire invisible array under sofa cushions and behind random shelves, which will only come to light one after another when you’re desperately looking for your car keys…

At no time is more fun had than with paints. Oh, the messy joy of it all. The spilling of water. The slopping about of blobs of red and purple onto all nearby surfaces. The random mixing together of colours to create a murky bog-brown. The addition of jet black to everything. (Why are they so fond of black?) The smearing of paint onto every inch of the paper (and of legs, arms and face). There’s nothing quite like it. If you can forget temporarily about the mess (newspaper is your best friend) and not get too OCD about the wanton colour mixing (I’m trying!), it can be a liberating experience for parents too, not to mention a great bonding activity with your paint-splattered toddler.

The best part is that the end result will be some of the most exuberant art you’ve ever seen in your life. Unfettered by expectations of what art should look like or by conditioning to create a particular sort of picture, toddlers create artwork that is the purest expression of happiness and energy. Tape it onto the wall or the fridge, and that burst of colour will perk you up every time you pass it by. Not to mention they make fantastic gifts for doting grandparents who are convinced their precious little one is the second coming of Picasso.

No matter how many colours you buy them, however, toddlers are always looking for new implements for their art. And by that, I mean any pen you use. The moment they see you pick one up, it’ll suddenly become more interesting than any sketch pen they own and they have to possess it immediately. With the result that you will never be able to find a pen to use, and even if you do, you won’t be able to use it in peace. The good thing is that their little random pen squiggles are as cheerful as their other art. Whether they’re adorning your recipe book or obscuring your things-to-do lists, those childish drawings, all big faces, spidery legs and enormous smiles are sure to elicit answering smiles from you. Especially when gifted to you with a hug and a “For you amma!” There’s no such thing as too many art options. Easel and brushes? Check. Whiteboards and kid-friendly markers? Check. Good ol’ blackboards and chalk? Check. My daughter and her little friends even do kid-grade graffiti on the building parking lot with multi-coloured chalk. That, of course, brings a different sort of joy with it — scrambling about on hands and knees, their fingers and faces covered in equal amounts of dirt and chalk dust...Whatever the medium, you can be sure of three things: bright, joyful art will be created, a mess will be made for you to clean up, and colourful art implements will be found in every nook and cranny of the house. It’s not a bad way to live, on the whole.


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Printable version | Oct 25, 2021 5:30:20 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/the-world-is-their-canvas/article7219919.ece

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