Friday, December 11, 2009

Coloring Inside and Outside the Lines

I was a perfectionist as a child (as much as one can be at a young age, anyway). The slip of my crayon outside the lines would cause me great consternation. I developed a fool-proof method to keep from making this grievous error - I would outline inside the line, and color inside that line, thus leaving a small margin for hiccups. I didn't develop this brilliant adaptation until I was 6 or so, and there is no remaining evidence of my crayon genius. There is one coloring book, though, (my favoritist of favorites!) from when I was about four years old:

My grandmother saved it, along with my sister's copy, and tucked them away, unbeknownst to her grandchildren, in a closet for someday. That someday came when I was in my mid-twenties, called home from overseas duty by my grandfather. Some months after the funeral, when I was home again on leave, my grandfather asked my mother and I to sort out his house and my grandmother's belongings. When we found the coloring books - did I mention favoritist of favorites? - I wept with joy over discovering them, over renewed grief that someone who had loved me so much was gone.

I was working on a digital collage today, scratching away at the image in colorful aqua lines, thinking how much like coloring with crayons it was...

...and I went hunting for that old coloring book. I remembered that I gave my late sister, Angel, her copy for Christmas that year it was found, and that she too wept with happiness and sadness.

Another Christmas is fast approaching; it's been a month and a half since my sister's death. I flipped through the pages of my old coloring book, and lingered on memories of childhood with my sister, and I wept - with joy from the memories, and with renewed grief that someone I love so much is gone.


PussDaddy said...

I enjoyed this post. I was always like that, too. If I went outside the lines while coloring it was just ruined as far as I was concerned. I once lost an eyeball, or rather my brother did, to my Mr. Potato head and I obsessed about it forever and to me the darn thing was just no good anymore because it had a missing piece, never mind it had a hundred other ones. I am still like that a lot and have problems with accepting things that I make or own that are not "perfect" in my eyes. A chip, a crack, a dent, a paint line out of place, and to me the item is just no good and I can't wait to get rid of it. It is one reason that as a buyer if I am buying earrings for instance that I can't stand when one earring has two wire wraps and it's mate has 3 or 4. It just drives me nuts. Mostly tho I have this "perfect/non perfect" thing with inanimate objects, so that I am able to accept flaws in say animals that I adopt and own for instance. I can also accept flaws in people, though I can accept physical and mental flaws better than I can those where I think a person has expressed something that I guess I think they are smarter than that or that I can't believe they would say, express, think, or believe such a thing. All I do know is that I have had this perfect/non perfect ideaology all my life. I also know full well that I myself am not perfect so you would think I could be more forgiving some times.

I liked seeing your coloring books, and I really liked your collage, and I am sorry you lost your sister Angel.


Kathy-Catnip Studio said...

Puss, we are very much alike, aren't we? Thank you for your thoughts on perfection - the earring thing drives me nuts, too - which is why I don't make jewelry more often!

I'm glad you enjoyed this post, and that you told me so.

Magpie said...

I'm so sorry about the loss of your sister. It must seem even worse, if possible, so near the holidays.

Aren't grandmothers great? Of course she could see your artistic talent at such a young age! I love your collage with the tulips. Sometimes it's great to be a perfectionist ~ it definitely keeps you busy, since perfection is so hard to find in the world!

Sea Witch said...

OMG, Puss, that is how I used to color. I czn't remember when and why I did that...I just always did. As I got older, I would then vary the weight of the crayon to give a gradient look (who knew I was a gradient fill gal back in the early 1960s). Love this post. Sea Witch

Kathy-Catnip Studio said...

Sea Witch - ooohhh, gradience with crayons - I love it!

Brenda said...

awww your post really touched me and made me cry reading about you finding those precious coloring books and about your sister.Thank you for sharing that memory.

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