A Brush With Life
A REPORT FROM THE ORPHANAGE BY HUDSON TALBOTT:
I'm having dreams of being chased by an army of wet paintbrushes. I'm drawing feverishly to keep the ravenous brushes sated as they fill in colors, working closer and closer to me.
However, this isn't a dream -- its been my reality for the last three days as we create a mural with the children and youth of Deak Kum Pa Orphanage in Laos.
While Evelyne mixes paint colors furiously,distributing and assigning paint jobs ("You can do these flowers," You can do that monkey"), I'm at the front end drawing images on the wall in blue chalk, designing a mural as I go along.
There's no time to measure, plan, sketch, or work out scale -- it all has to be in the flow, in the moment.
Why? Because they're coming at me! As fast as I can draw, this wonderful little army of painters is always catching up to me!
Every so often I look around and notice that I have an audience watching my every move.
One little guy sticks by me and every time I look at him he gives me two thumbs up, his eyes speaking volumes -- "You can do it, big guy, just keep going".
The mural making has been a remarkable experience of bonding far beyond what we could have done through classroom teaching, which was our original concept.
That "best-laid" plan was scuttled on the first day when we saw that, with the school out, everything here was organic, the only structure being the main meal of the day, and the occasional pick-up soccer game.
So the mural was an immediate magnet. We had no idea how enthusiastic the response would be. People, here, are eager to do something, to make something, to feel useful, to create beauty in this exquisitely beautiful land.
A few of the older boys have proven to be wonderfully talented. They are aging out of the orphanage and our hope is to explore how we can help support them as they seek their way in the world as artists.
I've never been more grateful for my own gift. Having an opportunity to use it in this way makes its purpose clear to me now.
Grace is descending on our project with every brush stroke, every laugh, every moment that we're here.
Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at July 8, 2012 09:41 AM
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