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Christy Catherine Marshall

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April 25, 2006

The Carnival of Beauty this week is hosted by Blair at her site, Scribblings by Blair. Our topic is “The Beauty of Art.”

When I was eight years old, my parents paid for me to take art lessons at a painter’s house once a week — it was a thrill and so different from what I learned at school. We painted with acrylics, and I carried a red metal tool box filled with my paints, brushes, and natural sponges to class. I can still remember the creaking sound the box made when it opened, and how the paints and sponges smelled.

I also recall being on the verge of tears nearly every class. I was so petrified that I was a terrible painter. There were two or three of us on one side of the room who were children, and the rest of the class on the other side of the room were adults. I remember one lady spent weeks painting an intricate picture of violets. Everyone seemed to have so much talent and to know exactly what they were doing — except for me!

One night, our teacher asked us to imagine a bookshelf lined with our favorite things. She wanted us to come to class the next week and be prepared to paint “My Favorite Things.”

Can you see what I chose to paint? On the top shelf is my “Heather” doll — I still have this sweet doll. I always loved playing with dolls, not the Barbie type that looked grown up, but the kind you could dress and carry around. I even had a signed Little People doll, named Frances Blanche, who I changed into tiny pajamas every night and dressed in the morning — for years. My friends and I made birth certificates for our dolls and sewed them little stuffed animals! So, it’s obvious I wanted to grow up and be a MOM — my #1 dream.

Next, you can see I’ve always been crazy about the beach — the shells are supposed to represent my love of the ocean. We always collected buckets of shells on our family trips to the beach. My parents took us every summer — traveling used to be so modest back in the 70s. The expense was nothing like it is now. We usually stayed right on the beach in a little motel that had a kitchenette. My parents got us so excited about these beach trips — maybe that’s why I’ve always loved the beach.

I’m not sure about the basket of fruit — did I like fruit that much? Maybe I just liked the bright colors and thought they’d look good in a painting. I do eat fruit every day now — usually an apple. And I hardly ever get sick. I can’t around here!

The cat is interesting; why did I choose to paint a cat? We didn’t have a cat growing up — we had a little gray poodle. Now of course I’ve become a cat person. They make such great pets! I’ve always loved animals of any sort; maybe the cat is supposed to represent pets. If you’d asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always said, “A pet shop owner.” I was too squeamish to want to be a vet. But I thought it would be fun to have a shop full of animals. (hmmm … our zoo around here is similar to what I had in mind, actually.)

And last — Cinderella. I’ve always loved good stories with happy endings. I love to read them; I love to tell them. And gradually, I’m learning how to write them.

Thanks for indulging me in my walk down memory lane. How about you? What are your favorite things now? Were they always your favorites? What would you have painted when you were eight years old? Like words, art helps us preserve our memories.

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