Wednesday, October 10, 2012

My Sister, Coloring Books, and "Snake in the Desert"

I wish I could paint. Oh, I don't mean walls and window sills. I mean create a work of art on canvas. I have always wanted to be able to do that, but alas, I wasn't gifted with that talent. My sister was, though. She is a marvelous artist. I have some of her paintings in my home. I have some of her earliest works of art.

When we were kids, she drew marvelous pictures of horses. She loved horses. Still does. One of my favorites was of a horse rearing up with a moon behind him. It was a pencil drawing, I believe. I have pictures she drew when we lived in Morocco. I used to try to draw horses like her. They never looked like horses. They looked like dogs with big noses or long legged pigs. Sometimes their manes or tails looked vaguely horse like, but I could never get it right.

She even colored with crayons better than me. Her coloring book pages looked like beautiful works of art. The trees weren't just one shade of green. They were several shades and blended somehow to look almost real. She even had creations that enabled her to color outside the lines. I loved them. I thought they should be framed.

My sister was and still is a unique individual. She was and still is absolutely brilliant and also beautiful. She is tall and I am short. I always wanted to be tall, so that's why I wore 4 inch heels a lot when I got a bit older. In retrospect, I think I just looked like a short person trying to look tall. Sigh...

She taught me how to spell "electricity" and "hibernation" when I was five years old. I have never forgotten that. I felt like I had accomplished something big. I felt smart...almost as smart as her, but not quite.

My sister never made anything below an A in school. I just told my mom and dad that my grades weren't monotonous like hers. And they weren't. They ran the gamut from A to rock bottom.

I kind of wish there had been schools like the old television show "Fame" when I was a kid. I liked to...perform.  But none of the 13 schools I attended (we were Air Force) throughout my formal school years had kids that simultaneously broke into song and dance routines whenever they chose. Any kid that would do that in any of the schools I attended would surely have been sent to detention.I believe the kids on "Glee" do that now, but none of them are ever sent to detention either. Go figure.

 I remember attending a junior high school when we lived in Salina, Kansas. Art was offered and I took it, hoping that maybe I would learn something about combining water colors and creating something akin to Starry Night by Van Gogh, my favorite painting of all time. It just didn't happen. For my final work of art, I took a big white sheet of paper and painted it a bright yellow. I painted a few green things that were meant to be cacti and as the piece de resistance, I painted a brown squiggly thing in the middle of the paper. I called this masterpiece "Snake in the Desert."

I got a D on it. The teacher wasn't amused. My mother laughed herself silly, and I think she still has it somewhere.

So I followed in my sister's shadow, her brilliant, beautiful shadow. And I'm a better person for it. I learned that she could paint and I couldn't. And that was okay.

My sister's coming for a visit in a few weeks. I only get to see her once a year now. She lives clear across the country.  I think I'll buy us a coloring book and a brand new box of crayons.  We'll see what we can create.


Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Nothing wrong with coloring books and crayons. When I color with the grandchildren, I sometimes think I enjoy it more than they do. And ya know what? If you always wanted to paint, do it. Just for the fun of it. (If you don't feel up to doing something realistic, go for the Picasso look...)

Howling Caterpillars said...

Great post.
I too, still love to colour! And I don't have any grandkids.