... C r A f T R o O m ...
Scratch Art & The Beauty of a Teacher’s Lesson
The art teacher handed everyone a large sheet of thick, white paper and a box of crayons. We were instructed to fill the canvas with color. Every square inch of white was to be covered with bright, bold colors. I remember spending a lot of time pressing the crayons hard and swirling little bits of color all over the page. Upon completion I held up my masterpiece and felt a surge of total satisfaction at my beautiful work of art. I was ready for the bell to ring and school to be over so that I could take my picture home and hang it up.
We weren't ready to go home though. The project was only half finished. I can still remember the horrible feeling that came over me as the art teacher instructed us to pick up the black crayon and cover all the color with a layer of black wax. None of the bright colors were to show through the darkness.
I was in shock. How could I possibly follow those instructions? Why, that would ruin my beautiful picture. I simply could not make myself pick up that black crayon and ruin what I had just worked so hard to create.
Our teacher was incredibly gifted - truly an artist. She patiently walked with us through each process, allowing the layers of emotion to be fully expressed by each student as we moved forward with our work. Some, like me, hesitated when we picked up that black crayon. Others protested and vocalized their anger. Some even cried at the thought of destroying their pictures. The teacher admonished us to trust her; to trust that if we were careful to follow her instructions we'd have something even more beautiful when we finished.
Finally, after what seemed like a very long time, each student’s design was filled with black wax and everyone’s canvas looked exactly alike. The teacher then took her own black canvas and attached it to the easel for all of us to see. She picked up a little plastic tool, shaped like a pencil, and began to scratch out an incredibly beautiful scene on her canvas. With each stroke of her tool you could see the expressions on each student’s face begin to change. There was a corporate wonder that expressed itself through all the "oohs" and "ahs" in the classroom that day. It was magical. The more she scratched the more amazed we were. The beauty of the colors that pierced through the blackness was even more vibrant than they were before. The fine lines of each flower she drew seemed to pop out and jump off the page. The butterfly she etched appeared to be three-dimensional as she placed it just above the petals. We all wanted the ladybug she drew next to crawl out of the picture and onto our arms. We were truly captivated by what we had just learned and eagerly went to work on our own pictures.
It was Antoine de Saint-Exupery who said that, “True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new.”
Art class that day was a mesmerizing experience. I couldn't wait to take my picture home and teach my sisters how to make one of their own. We colored until our hands and arms felt like they were going to fall off. Suddenly the rarely used black crayons became smallest ones in the box.
Any teacher will tell you that a good lesson is one that has the ability to captivate the attention in such a way that it is never forgotten. And that with every lesson there’s a test. Not many students enjoy taking a test, but each one will celebrate it when they receive a good grade.
Whether your canvas is the size of a poster board or an index card, every new lesson serves as a mark of color in the timeline of your life. It’s a kaleidoscope whose design comes together to form a beautiful picture. One might think that at the point the canvas is filled with color the picture is finished and ready to be put on display.
That is not the case though. The Teacher hasn't called for the bell to ring, and He hasn't given us permission to go home yet. There's more to be done. It's time for the test. The Teacher calls for the darkness to cover your life, the beauty of every color life’s experience has brought to the canvas.
In the book of James the author tells us that the testing of our faith develops perseverance. And that “Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:3-4)
How many times have you seen the blackness of a circumstance slowly start to creep over your life, spreading itself so thick that before long the darkness has overtaken every hint of color? And just about the time you think all is ruined it comes. What? What comes? The scratching!
With the precision of a skilled craftsman, the Teacher pierces the darkness and begins to scratch something into the black canvas. Colors begin popping out everywhere and it isn’t long before you realize that the black layer now serves as the backdrop, and the most beautiful colors come to the forefront. The most amazing thing happens. Your faith in the Teacher is restored and you suddenly feel the need to persevere through the process. With each stroke of the Teacher’s tool the details begin to jump off the page and the beautiful scene tells the story of your life in such a way that you can hardly wait to get home and share it with your family and friends.
When the bell rings, and its time for you to go home, your picture will be framed and displayed in the most prestigious art gallery of all time. It will tell the story of your life and everyone that studies it will be mesmerized at the skill of the Artist whose lessons were taught in such a way that when tested every masterpiece receives the highest mark of honor.
(Would you like to create some scratch art?
This is a great rainy day project for kids of all ages.
Here's a link with a recipe that uses black tempura paint instead of black crayons.
Give it a try and enjoy the art lesson. http://www.kidsart.com/q010100.html )
© 2010 Lorie Codispoti is a wife and mother who enjoys combining her love for words and her artistic gifts into works that can be shared with others. Lorie can be reached through her Gates of Elloree blog at www.gatesofelloree.blogspot.com .