Saturday, October 17, 2015

A Sensitive Period for Tiny, Detailed Work

If you've got a brother, grew up around boys, or are married to a man, you will likely recognize this sensitive period.

Suddenly, somewhere around the age of 13, there is a strong desire to work with tiny things. A true urge to create something that requires delicate handling, and precise eye-hand coordination.

I'm talking about what I call the small model and model car paint period. For my brother, this need to work with small things started earlier, and he worked on tiny Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars to change their wheels when he was quite young. He also loved tinkering with watches, taking them apart and trying to get them back together as he reached adolescence.

This week Sean requested that we take a trip to Michael's to get paint. He knew exactly the type of paint he needed to re-design some Lego pieces. We had to ask for help to locate it, and there, along with the paint, were the model cars, planes and helicopters.

Though he wanted to dive into those, I wasn't ready to spend that much money. I didn't realize they were so expensive. But I have some good ideas for Christmas now;-). I encouraged him to stay on task, and look for the paint colors he originally came there to buy.

He found two colors that he felt were exactly what he wanted, but the green he had hoped for wasn't the green they had. This led us to discuss mixing colors to achieve the desired color. He loves art, but has been exclusively focused on drawing for a few years. He has been resistant to painting, and so this was the first time we'd discussed mixing paint colors. And so he also chose a bottle of white paint for this reason. He found three paint brushes of various brush sizes for detailed work. I regret not getting a palette, but he has made do with a paper plate.

Patiently, methodically, he has been painting the arms of a tiny Lego figure. He carefully mixed colors, adding a little bit of white, then more, then another, darker color, to finally have the color he wanted.
This project has been his focus for a few evenings this week.