Did Picasso have boundaries?

To cross or not to cross the line

Re is on a coloring spree. It makes me happy that he has discovered the effortless strokes with oil pastels as opposed to the stubborn, unyielding rocks he had for hand-me-downs which seriously, I’d like to know which child can colour with, until he reaches the age of twelve or gets triceps (whichever is earlier).

The thing with oil pastels though, is that they are too effortless. They just have to barely make contact with you or just about touch you, and your clothes get all kinds of brush strokes, purples, pinks and greens, all mingling in glee, making a new style statement.”Yes, I am mommy to a two-year-old. I have been colored,” it seems to say.

I didn’t have this problem with those stupid earlier crayons which probably produced color if Genghis Khan held them, and poor Re always wondered if mamma would ever live up to her promise of producing a color from something that was meant to color, each time staring at his poor stubby fingers after having given them a workout with said crayons.

Now, of course, the OPU and I have pyjamas marked by Re’s artistic strokes, not to mention thighs and other body parts, and Re is spilling out of his prescribed “coloring books” and sheets onto the floor, the wall, our bodies, his, and those of the cats. The only one who doesn’t show signs of much wreckage is Nadia, since she is already all-black, and so, can camouflage.

I felt strangely ambivalent. Part of me wanted to revel in my child’s new-found interplay with color, texture and surfaces. A cheeky part of me wanted to tell him that I was not the easel or the medium. The disciplinarian in me wanted to tell him that ‘Coloring is for books,” the way they tell you in those silly books that talk about how to talk so your kids will listen. The artist in me wanted to just watch him and see where it goes.

I am still not sure who to listen to. Re on the other hand has built his own defence in support of his artistic exploits. Everytime he colors a surface that conventionally, is not ‘meant to be’, he stares long and hard and it and says, “Who did this?”


6 thoughts on “Did Picasso have boundaries?

  1. How beautifully you put your feeling in words…I just love it….but i dont agree leaving child open to scribble anywhere..I believe in setting few rules for him for avoiding future trouble…Surely know that those prescribed drawing books are no good …..so plain sheets/washable surfaces will work for him

    • Yes, I do realise. I was speaking metaphorically of course; how frustrating it is to allow a child to express his creativity and then set boundaries for him. But yes, I have graduated to large white sheets, and thrown away the drawing books

  2. You know I thought this post was extremely well written and while Re is only 2 you will realize how you will be forced to set boundaries as he progresses in the fiercely competitively world outside. Where everything needs to be done the way it is. Childrens creativity is restricted and those colours are not a figment of their imagination but more accurate for them to get through their school exams or rather get them through schools. You will have to, as a mom buffer the pressure immensely for your child to ensure that he has no boundaries.

  3. You know what, I just loved the walls of my house when my son painted them with his pastels. It made me proud to be a mom of the little one — and honestly I got quite furious when my husband painted those walls spotless…..
    I would prefer those boundaries be there….WITHIN, to make him more an internally directed person, rather than to help him cope with the mad world and its competitions 🙂

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