The Girl and The Dots

During the week I sometimes paint with the mentally challenged. It’s not voluntairy work, they have the room, the paint and the blank canvasses. On top of that, they are the most inspiring bunch. They don’t mind calling their own work a piece of art without sounding smug. They are profoundly pleased with what they made. And they are not afraid to teach you to be equally amazing.

Maybe the purple made it easier to approach me, but, man, she loved that colour.
‘Look, I used it too. You see, here and here. I really love the colour purple.’
I nodded and looked at her abstract, but thoughtful painting.
Once I wanted to make the deep purple fade into a more lighter version, she stepped in.
‘This is too stripey. You need to blend it better.’
I looked at my painting and agreed.
‘So how do I do that?’
‘You have to blend and blend and blend. Clean your brush often and don’t use so much paint at once.’
Becoming painfully aware of the amount of paint I had on my plate, I tried to blend. Clean my brush. Blend.
An hour later she stood beside my table again. Nodding approvingly.

At home I think about the girls in that room and their own admiration of their own work. They told me once about their dot technique. Which was just painting with dots instead of strokes. It sounds easy, but I have learned, it requires the meditative focus and persistence of a monk. Here is my tribute to them. It’s not finished, hey, it takes time.

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