I have always loved art and being creative. I was disappointed not to have a chance to take art in high school, but I loved music, too, and there just weren't enough classes in the day for me to take band, chorus, and art at the same time. By my junior year of college, I was feeling a need to let my inner artist come out to play a bit more, so I signed up for a drawing class. I absolutely loved it, and my final project hangs framed (thanks, Mom!) in my living room to this day.
My senior year, I took Painting I. I had never really had much specific instruction in painting techniques, and it ended up being one of my favorite courses of my college career. My final project for that class was a landscape portrait of Milford Sound in New Zealand, to which I had been the year before while studying abroad. (It also hangs in my living room. Again, thanks for framing it and convincing me I'd want to keep it forever, Mom!) It was a beautiful image that depicted streams of sunlight shining through gray clouds on to the towering fjords of the sound. I remember my professor showing us all, earlier in the semester, about how to blend colors when painting the sky, and depicting the light and warmth and color of that cold, New Zealand sky was my favorite, most challenging part of my final piece. We've all seen it before; the way the sky looks as storm clouds are gradually being burned off by the sun, whose rays are desperately trying to make their way to the earth below. It's cold and warm at the same time, with hints of gray and blue and pink and yellow mixing together in an unlikely harmony. To this day, each time I see a particularly beautiful sunset or color in the sky, I think about how I would paint it. What colors would I mix to get those hues just right? How would I create that sky color?
I love all of the books in Peter Reynolds' cleverly titled Creatrilogy: The Dot, Ish, and now, Sky Color. My son got this beautiful book in his Easter basket this year, and we absolutely love it. Like the other books in Reynolds' series, Sky Color inspires all children to embrace their inner artist, be freely and fabulously creative, and to think outside the box.
If you remember Ish, you'll remember Marisol, the younger sister who saves all of her brother's rejected drawings, cherishing them instead as beautiful works of art. When she and her classmates set out to paint a mural in the library, Marisol is responsible for painting the sky. But how can she do that without any blue paint?
I just love the message of Peter Reynolds' books, and Sky Color is a wonderful story that encourages us to think creatively, appreciate the beauty of the world around us, and view the world from a different perspective. After you've read it, sit down with your kids and some paints and challenge yourselves to make your own sky colors. You might never look at the sky the same way again.