April 2, 2012


My earliest memory is coloring on the floor of our New York apartment with my mother. I'm never certain if the memory is real, or just pieced together from stories and suggestions, but it feels genuine. I may have been painting rather than drawing and it might have been black ink and not color; my mother was studying traditional Chinese painting at the time and this is her version.

What I remember clearly is her saying "fish" and painting or drawing a fish on a white piece of paper and then allowing me to make an attempt of my own.

I've been patiently waiting for my little boy to take an interest. There are certain moments you imagine when you dream about your future children, and this has always been one of mine. After some false starts with crayons and paints we tried out oil pastels which seem to be Little Smith's medium of choice. They're soft and easy to work with and he only nibbles at them a little bit! It's been so much fun to watch him go.

We've learned that it wipes right off the floor... and does not wipe off of the walls and furniture. I'm not quite sure how to enforce those boundaries since he doesn't seem to "get it" yet and it's hard to be annoyed when he's beaming with pride at his new creation.

Of course we both think he's already kind of genius. I almost wish these early abstract drawings could last forever and not give way to stick figures and curly tree tops. I'm thinking about getting a giant piece of paper so we can get an early masterwork... but it might turn into torn origami instead since he's pretty destructive with paper. I'm loving this phase!


  1. My mother swears by rolls of butcher paper for little ones. I'm a big fan of heavy-duty art paper. It gets pricey, but it's harder to tear, whether he's ripping it with hands or pressing down really hard with something like a pencil.

    1. Butcher paper is a good idea! We've been using news print and it's very soft plus it won't last over time. I have a feeling things are going to get very messy in our near future :)

  2. I love this stage too - watching them make any kind of mark at all is like the best thing ever! I got tricky one time and gave them paintbrushes and let them paint the driveway with water - they were delighted and so was I!