Enjoying presents

 I forgot how much fun it is to paint. Actually, I don't think I ever knew how much fun it is. I have no memories of really enjoying painting when I was a kid; I have a lot of memories of looking around the art classroom at the few girls who were good at drawing animals and faces, and thinking, "Well, I'm no good at that stuff, so I must not be good at art." All of my art experience as a kid seemed to be about objective representation, making a painting or drawing that looked exactly like whatever the object was. I don't remember a teacher ever encouraging me to just paint something, make a mess of color, and *enjoy* myself. Happily, I've figured out how to do that as an adult — I've learned to let objectivity slide when I need to, to make a mess when I want to, and to throw some stuff around and see what happens — but I didn't know I could apply it to painting until today. I've applied these lessons to cooking, knitting, parenting, and creative writing, and I think I'm better for it, but I think I needed to know great art and understand the many ways in which it can be created in order to let myself go. They just don't teach enough impressionism, abstraction, and modernism in elementary school classrooms, I've decided.

We got Kent some watercolor paper, new brushes, and big bottles of paint for Christmas, and after he painted a lovely piece of art (seen to the left here) on his awesome red table from Jack's parents, Jack took him to the bathtub to get cleaned up, and I started messing around. Just mixing colors in the egg carton cups was phenomenally exciting, and then dabbing it on the paper, mushing the brush in different shapes and blending colors on the paper... it's all just such a breath of fresh air, replacing my bad memories of elementary and middle school art class with something calming and fun.

And here's what we're working on tonight. The last present to assemble. These are all the parts for his play kitchen from my mom and Bill, who are coming for a visit on Tuesday. I told my mom that we'd wait to give it to him until they're here, so we're assembling it in secret while he sleeps, then looking for a place to hide it until their arrival Tuesday around lunchtime. I can't wait to see his face, and I knew they'd enjoy seeing his reaction, too. He goes crazy over the play kitchens at other kids' houses, especially the microwaves, which are like his favorite thing ever. We went to a holiday party at a professor's house, and the whole time we were there, Kent kept running back to the microwave in the kitchen, pointing excitedly and shouting, "Mah!!" at which point our kind host would lift him up again so that he could push the buttons and open and close the door. We'd take him into another room for a little while, and then he'd do it all over.

This is really a lot of parts, isn't it? When we were opening the box, I joked that I hoped it was in 117 parts, which turned out not to be too far off. It's coming together pretty quickly, despite (or perhaps encouraged by?) the wine we're working on. Wine and toy assembly go quite well together, we're learning.

I know Kent is just going to love this kitchen, though. I love it already, and it's only halfway built. Christmas is still alive and well here, between all the new things we're playing with and the one gift yet to be enjoyed. If only it weren't so dang hot, it'd be perfectly Christmasy.

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I meant to post this the other day but we are having some internet issues here at the Campbell House!

Along with having the came crib, baby monitor, and causal china, we are going to steal another one of your traditions! The bottle of red wine (or glass) during Christmas Eve Setup sounds like an awesome idea that we can't wait to replicate.

Enjoy putting the kitchen together and prolonging Christmas just a little more!

word verification - moucies, sounds like, munches and smooches combined
Regarding ART - From a community college on the plains in the fall of 1970 "quantity makes quality" ... be sure to practice frequently, often, and at every opportunity and in mutiple mediums.
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