Saturday, December 10, 2011

Coloring Books

Nostalgia. Watch's habit forming. Heady as my mom's perfume of the same name ("The first perfume to orbit a man"), so long forgotten I can find no description of it on the internet. In fact there is a new one to replace it by somebody named Veigt.  I don't know what the new one smells like but the orignial, by Germain Monteil, was tart, sour like a green plum, with rose, lily, sandalwood, leather. Where do I remember it most? In the car, with a cigarette going and the windows rolled up within an inch of closed, in all weather (forget air conditioning). The year: 1957. The place: Los Angeles, Westside. The car: a Chrysler Windsor, white with blue interior, push button transmission (so much fun to punch, going nowhere, hands reaching up to the enormous plastic wheel), and big wings that my brother and I rode up the driveway, slippery as hanging on to ice.

That was the year I went completely insane over coloring books. I couldn't get enough. Crayons, first the 24 pack (with both parents artists there was no 8 pack except in school), then the 48 pack (oh, crack the top and sniff the virgin perfection of wax (twice the colors, twice the aroma) drink in the hues, both radiant and soft). There was orchid in that one, and periwinkle, carnation pink, cornflower blue, spring green. Then finally the 101 colors. Gad! Died and gone to heaven. But it was a rip off of sorts cuz it had multiples...five blues, two blacks, three reds. I guess if you were going to have that many colors, you were going to wear some of them to nubbins and we did.

It was in 1957 that mom took me to visit our former next door neighbors. While Gladys and Serena drank coffee and talked (booooring), Kitty and I poured over coloring books in the breakfast room flooded with afternoon light. She had a Ginny doll coloring book (cuz she also had a slew of Ginny Dolls). Kitty pronounced "Ginnydoll" like it was one word. Ginny appeared on every page in a polka dot dress, smiling like Doris Day. The polka dots were tiny, even by little kid standards, outlined in black. The lines were finer than the cheaper books I was used to. Kitty took advantage of this by carefully tracing the outline of each shape (like the dress for instance, blue this time) in heavy but flawless color, like lipstick applied by a pro, then filling in the shape with half or quarter tones of the same color. She never went outside the lines. I thought the effect was breathtaking, partly because it looked kind of three dimensional, and partly because I couldn't for the life of me do it like she did. I particularly loved the halftones and started practicing them, later to use them to build layers of colors, to mix colors by overlapping.

I also thought it was quite amazing that she had perfected such finesse at the age of 6. Hadn't it only been about 3 years since we were scribbling? Two for me. Back then we exercised our motor skills with crayons on newsprint, metal skates on sidewalks,  jumping over boxwood hedges, cutting out paper dolls. Does this take you back?

How did you color? Do you remember? Say when you were 5 or 6...first gradish. What did you love to color? How many colors did you have? Were they crayons or something else? You don't have to say the year unless you want to.


J said...

This is a great post, Lynn! I don't remember when I started coloring (probably 4-5), but I remember hating it because I was never any good at it. But I loved the crayons...the colors excited me. It's so ironic that I always wanted to be an artist, but I could never color. Funny how that takes you back.

FiberAntics said...

Oh, Lynne, I can smell the colors--just as you described. I had the 64 box and we (my cousins, brother and I) used them down to the nubs. The stubs and broken ones were kept in a shoebox, and we kept using them...

Deb said...

Ahh, this brings back memories. I loved September with new crayons. We colored for hours.

I remember a Barbie coloring book. I still had it as a teen and my mom used it to make a quilt for a friend that won a Jr. Miss contest.

Thanks for the memories.

stephenCollines said...
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stephenCollines said...

Use these coloring sheets is perfect to teach preschool children alphabets, and make them read and write them in a proper fashion.

Printable Coloring Pages