Conversation with a 7 year old

11 07 2016

After our piano lesson when Miss Marvelous our moʻopuna (grandchild), now 7, was quick to grasp the Italian terms of forte, piano, fortissimo, pianissimo, etc.—likely because she lived in Italy for three years—she asked me, “Popo, do you have any watercolors? May I paint?”

“Sure,” I said.

Once in the studio she asked, “Popo, do you work with values, like the value scale?”

Surprised at such an adult question, I said, “You mean the shades of gray? Yes, I do, Ayla, values are the most important thing to know about art. Are you learning that in school?”

I remembered she announced the first week in her new school this summer after first grade, “I have an art teacher!”

“My teacher has a wheel like yours except it’s smaller,” she said, bouncing over to my color wheel on the wall.  “These are the primary colors, and these are the secondary colors.”

“How about the complementary colors, the ones opposite each other on the wheel? Where are the tints and the shades?” I quizzed.

I got out my watercolor kit and sent Ayla with a jar to the sink for water. I gave her a small panel of thick textured paper.

Picking up the brush she said, “There are warm colors and cool colors.”

Hmmm . . . impressive. Thinking about values, to myself I said “fortissimo” and “pianissimo, too,” but I kept silent and let Ayla paint her own rainbow.

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