Day 616: I Introduce The Natives to Finger Paint

Bravery is defined as having or showing great courage, to endure or face great danger or pain.  Insanity is defined as demonstrating extreme foolishness or irrationality.  I say that there is a very fine line separating both – a line that often times is blurred and perhaps gets forgotten about.  Yesterday, in my infinite wisdom, I decided to introduce the natives to a primitive form of art making – finger painting.  Thinking back on the decision now, I believe I demonstrated great bravery and courage for attempting such a possibly disastrous activity while completely showing a lack of rational thought – in short – what the hell was I thinking?

According to the tribal calendar of festive days within the tribe’s culture, today marks a day dedicated to loving one another in memory of the death of St. Valentine, thus Valentines Day.  And, according to the tribe’s cultural traditions, small gifts and cards are exchanged on this day to family and loved ones.  The natives, particularly Tuesday, have been quite fascinated with this custom, almost to the point of obsession.  Tuesday’s obsession with coloring and/or marking on paper and other surfaces has grown into a daily occurrence and often involves and OCD organization of her coloring media.

A week or so ago, the tribal leader introduced the natives to the art of making “valentines” – a card to give to family and/or friends wishing them loving thoughts for a lovely Valentine’s Day.  At first, this activity was a great diversion – the natives, particularly Tuesday, were very interested in the process, which involved colored paper, foam adhesive heart-shaped decorations, heart-shaped paper frilly decorations and the herpes of the craft world, glitter.  As I’ve said, at first this activity was a great diversion.  At first.  Now, or at least, lately, Tuesday has made it her obsession.  She has requested daily to make her “balentines”, to which the answer has varied.  Some days, such as yesterday, the answer has been favorable, while on others, it has not.  Being that the natives had not made “balentines” for the tribal leader yet (they’d made them for all of the tribal elders,) I figured that now would be an excellent time to oblige that request and to let them create something special.

I think I’d like to refer to it as a moment of temporary insanity, for as I decided to let them create “balentines” for the tribal leader, I conjured up the brilliant idea, with the help of some online research, about doing a piece of artwork involving paint.  The project called for hand prints – red hand prints – on paper, made into flowers.  Hand prints.  This meant both natives needed to have their hands either painted or to be placed in paint and then stamped onto paper.  Now, I was not thrilled with the idea of having the natives hands covered in paint – that was a recipe for disaster – as if the whole activity wasn’t.  But, once again, during my moment of insanity, I gathered the necessary materials and got set up for the project.

During this time, the natives were once again restless – they insisted on knowing what I was doing, when they could help and what the materials were.  I admonished them that they would know all of what was going on very soon.  The questions continued.  Sigh.  What the hell was I thinking?  I continued to get the area covered that we were utilizing on the communal eating surface and then rounded up the scattered natives who were beginning to lose interest.

This is where the introduction to finger paint came in.  As a child, I have no memories of using finger paints.  None.  In fact, I hate having my fingers covered with anything – food, paint, dirt – anything.  I can only imagine how this was going to go.  The finger paint came in four colors: red, yellow, blue and green.  In big letters on the package, it read “Washable.”  Out of what I asked myself?  I guess we’ll find out.  I squeezed out some red paint onto a palette and some green onto a different palette.  Here is where my instruction began.

“This is paint.  DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING.”  I admonished to a wide-eyed Tuesday who was chomping at the bit to dive into the red paint.  What the fuck was I thinking?

“Do not touch anything, yet,” I informed her. “This project has special rules.”

“Rules?” she asked, not interested in my reply.  She had ideas.  BIG ideas about the paint.

“Yes. Rules.” I replied.  And, I began to explain how and what we were going to do.  Tuesday seemed ok with the idea, Wednesday on the other hand was still unsure.  I decided to do Tuesday’s hand print first hoping that if Wednesday saw her do it, it might prompt some interest.  And so, we did it.

It went amazingly well, the hand print part of the activity, at least for Tuesday.  The cleanup, on the other hand, left much to be desired.  Washable my ass.  I got most of the paint off her hand, however, her hand still seemed stained a little with red paint.  Damn.  I had stripped her down to her pants A. because I’m a smart guy and B. because I knew that if I had left it on her, it would have become a smock.  A paint covered smock.  Once cleaned, it was now Wednesday’s turn.

Wednesday still was not into the whole art making thing.  She was ok with watching, but not so much with the painting.  Her hand print needed to be done fast.  I got her hand covered and planted it firmly on the paper.  Done.  Cleanup time.  Wednesday does not like being cleaned up.  At. All.  Cleanup with her took a bit longer than expected with paint being strewn up her arms, on my arms, on the paper – just like glitter – that shit got everywhere.  But, alas, she got cleaned up and the project, at least for them was done.  Well, for Wednesday anyway.

Tuesday continued her art making with the paint.  She required constant and close supervision so as to not make the activity a disaster, however, she handled the paint remarkably well.  When she was through with her masterpiece, I took it to a safe place to dry and cleaned her up again.  Done.  Disaster averted.  Below is the finished masterpiece, given to the tribal leader.


I am really quite impressed with the art making skills of the natives.  While their ability to take direction is sadly lacking, with constant supervision, they do have potential.

Bravery.  Insanity.  Whatever the hell you want to call it, I’ve walked that line.  And, at least, this time, bravery prevailed.  Bravery 1, Insanity 0.


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