My granddaughter and I dabble with watercolor in my woman cave. It’s her first experience with the medium and, as a creative, she enjoys every new step. Mixing paint. Washing it onto wet paper and watching it bleed. Pulling tape off the edges of a finished painting. All deemed, in her words, “satisfying.”
She hands her painting of a night sky to me when it’s finished.
“It’s for you,” she says.
I’m taken aback. It’s her first watercolour.
“Are you sure?” I ask.
She nods, and I prop it up on my writing desk in front of my word-a-day calendar where it will remind me of this simple evening.
”Can I look through your bin?” she asks.
And she pulls out the small plastic bin from beneath my desk where I store random scraps paper from watercolor play and finished paintings.
She expresses appreciation for one.
“You can have it,” I tell her.
And she looks up at me almost shyly.
”But it’s your art,” she says.
And I gesture to the acrylic painting she did a few months ago that hangs on my wall, and the watercolor she gifted to me a few minutes ago, and laugh.
She smiles and sets the painting aside for herself.
Her mom joins us and by the time we’ve finished looking through the bin they each have paintings set aside. Simple gifts.
We three have exchanged art in many different forms over the years. Tucked away in my home are some of the first rudimentary stick drawings my daughter did when she first learned to hold a pencil. Elsewhere, construction paper chickens and other pieces of my granddaughter’s early creations. An acrylic painting she did recently adorns the wall in our bedroom.
We treasure things for their aesthetic but mostly for the heart that created and gifted them.
“Are you sure?” we ask.
But what we’re really asking is whether we’re worthy to receive a treasure so dear as a piece of someone’s heart manifested in art.
Creative expression feeds us and gives us an outlet as we craft something with paint or words or whatever medium we choose.
It teaches us to be open and generous.
It shows us how to give and receive with grace.
It is a picture of creation itself and a reflection of the original Creator.