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Perspective: Exploring Without Judgment

Elsa Glover

This month, I’ve attempted to paint with watercolors. With little training or skill, I had low expectations. Paintbrush in hand, I stared at the blank page and was scared! This may totally fail. Hesitating, I took a breath and let go. It’s just playing with paint.

When we play, we explore without judgment. We learn simply by experiencing the activity. It’s important to allow the space and time to play with something, and not to have any expectations put upon the activity. In doing so, we can discover something new.

As I painted, I enjoyed how the colors moved, how the shades changed, and how I created something that resembled my subject. I was proud of my painted squirrel, except it looked angry. The squirrel’s mouth and face were missing something. I texted a photo to my art teacher friend. She suggested that I move beyond watercolor paint by using a pencil. Layering adds more interest and contrast. We can accentuate a line or a curve. Layering allows for complexities to arise. So, I added curve and detail with the pencil, and suddenly the sullen squirrel showed more charm.

Isn’t that like life? As we look at different layers of our days, our thoughts, our work, we realize how complex we are. Sometimes playing with those layers — adding curves — can accentuate them. And something new is discovered.

Take time to play and focus on your layers. It highlights your dimensions and beauty.

I’m Elsa Glover and that’s my perspective.

Elsa Glover is a national board-certified teacher who has taught in Kaneland schools for the last 20 some years.