Saturday, January 28, 2012

Don't Give Up

Gretchen gives up easily. She puts forth a little effort, then when it looks like it's going to take a lot of work, or it's not going the way she wants it to, she throws in the towel. Or tries to get someone else to do the work for her.

She was trying to make one of those black crayon pictures-- you know, the kind you color in random shapes and colors with crayons, then color over in heavy black crayon, then place a paper over and draw on top. When you pick up the paper, the black came off where you drew and left pretty rainbow colored pictures.  Anyway, the heavy black crayon coloring part can wear a little hand out.  She kept asking me to take over for her, and I kept saying no. She'd pout, sit and stare at her project, scribble a little more, then ask me again to finish it for her. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

This was not going well.  She came to me one last time and when I said no, she crumpled it up, threw it on the floor, then stomped out. I called her back, gave her a little speech, but I could tell it was just bouncing off her little ears-- like talking to a brick wall. I tried another tactic-- my own picture.

Exhibit A, part 1: top

Exhibit A, part 2: middle

Exhibit A, part 3: bottom

I've been working on this poster for 20 years. Yup, 20. At least. I got this when I was around 18 or so, and worked on it little by little, coloring it in when I got inspiration. One summer at the beach I worked on this nearly every day at the bar. The most perfect spot to color: the height of the bar and the stools and the light coming in from the windows = bliss.

I collected my color pencils one at a time, slowly buying them as I needed a certain color. That dark blue sky used up 2 whole pencils! I couldn't afford the whole set all at once, so I settled for one or two pencils at a time, whenever I was close to an art store.

Then I got married and I only worked on it a little bit here and there. Then the kids came along and I think the last time I worked on this was when Evelyn was a baby, napping. It's been sitting in the same box as all the rolls of wrapping paper, and every time I need wrapping paper, my hand brushes over it and I'm reminded of it. I want to finish it. But it's so large. So overwhelming. There's a lot left to do! Then I remind myself-- One color at a time. One pencil at a time. Do one small picture at a time.

My latest addition: the gold ornamental doorway and the planet behind it.

This handsome Griffin was done three days ago.

Snake boy was finished four days ago.

If I had given up, I wouldn't have gotten this far. It may be another 20 years before I finish it, but I *will* finish it.

I showed this to Gretchen. You know what she said? "I'll help you finish it!"

She finally finished her picture. It took some tears and quite a bit of time, but she did finish it.
All by herself.

This one is going to go in the memory box.

Don't give up, Gretchen, good things come to those who keep going towards their goals.


Amandeep said...

Jenny, I bet one day Gretchen will become as wonderful an artist as you (maybe even better)!

Great job Gretchen! Keep going... Bless you!
And that's such a beautiful poster...

Much love from India,

Cheyenne said...

What an excellent life lesson. More parents should do the same for their children. A lot don't because they themselves give up too easily.
And you will finish yours a lot quicker than you think.

Anme said...

That is a wonderful looking poster, I can't believe how long you;ve been working on it!

Buttons said...

Wow you are both very good artists and yes teaching them patience is the hardest but practice makes perfect.

I live in Canada.That is why my grocery list sounded more expensive it is:) B

jenny said...

Amandeep-- She is certainly drawing better and better everyday! Thank you, I hope I finish it someday! :o)

Cheyenne-- as much as I want to help her, making life easier will do her no favors for the future. Better now, under mama's wing, than later. I sure hope I finish sooner than I think! :o)

Anme-- Thank you! I never imagined it would have taken me this long and still not be done with it! :o)

Buttons-- Thank you! Sometimes I feel mean when I won't help, but I know it's a good thing and they are not in pain. Just don't want to do the work. I hope they look back and remember the good things from their childhood! :o)