Are adults really afraid of clowns? I heard two people talking about it on the radio and one said she wouldn’t attend an event because there were going to be clowns there.
In the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself“.
Like in the game “Peek a Boo” a child learns that life is layered and there can be delight in surprises.
We strive to take good care of our children not show them that life is full of danger and requires our cautious vigilance, but so they are safe and can learn to be fearless as they grow in skill and understanding. What example do we set, when we, so large and strong in their estimation, allow ourselves to be frightened by clown?
Or we can call on Roosevelt Franklin. A hero, for sure!
Sometimes I have to start out by painting something on my arm to get the ball rolling. This time I had my daughter and son-in-law volunteer so that really helped. Before I knew it the line had grown and I was back to full speed again.
Fortunately there were lots of things for the kids to do at the street party so no one got too impatient. At one point my daughter pitched in by doing the prep for some of the more involved faces, blocking in the colour. (She could do it all really. She is very “crafty”.) They gave me a tent so I was out of the sun. It was a great set up. I do really enjoy it. I get in “the zone”, a sort of calm focus that I enjoy when painting just about anything.
I don’t mean to put too much importance on the whole face painting thing because it really doesn’t take much to make them happy. I try to really treat each kid as a client. I tell them that I want to come as close to what they imagine as I can and that they can be the art director. I love to see a kid really enjoy the result.
I like kids, they are, even at their worst, a positive force. One little guy came back to have his face redone after I had packed up the stuff. I could not “unpack” and I told him, I know you are disappointed. That is hard but you can handle it. I know it. You are going to feel better. He wailed a bit. I got the impression his mom would have done just about anything to get me to open up my kit. He did manage to get distracted by a water pistol that I helped him fill up from the drinking water. Soon we were both laughing as he chased me around the yard shooting at me. We were friends again.
I was there for four hours! As I said, I did get a few more breaks than usual and some help. They had a parade of bikes that the kids decorated and I was offered a hot dog and a beer at the end. I was exhausted but happier than I have been for a while! It was fun!
It is our only excuse, our only virtue, our only release. We invented gods so that rich and powerful humans who have no problem with destroying everything would pause before destroying it.
We have always, as long as we have been human, made it, kept it, cherished it. Sometimes some of it survives for millennium and we marvel, “look at this, they had art too. How strange it is” or “how beautiful”. But it is no less nor more than what goes on in some way for every human who is not a slave.
Hope that we are not all soon to be slaves. Hope that we can give the powerful some reason for protecting the activity of making it. Hope that, like dreams, we can find the peaceful respite that we need to experience it.
The girl who had the birthday has invited me to paint faces every year for the last three years. When I met her it was at her dad’s client appreciation party. She wanted to be a clown. She was a very intense little girl. (Most of my favourite women were once intense little girls). She is still intense at six but now is also very kind and generous. It was one of the nicest (and intense) group of kids I have ever had the pleasure to work with.
Now I say “work with” not intending to be entirely facetious. By the age of six imaginative thinking is an engine in kids. One must work with it or be prepared to be run over.
The biggest challenge of the day was “Rainbow Kitty Kat”. It required I use every colour in my box. The satisfaction with the result made the effort worth it. I wish I had taken a photo.
I took no photos because I did not stop for two hours straight. The line just got longer. I didn’t paint every one of the twenty-five kids at the party but almost. Once the water balloons came out (and washed most of the paint away) and then the pizza arrived, my job was done.
This photo was after the chanting of “CUPCAKES! CUPCAKES! CUPCAKE!” I mumbled something about “Lord of the Flies”, the only person who laughed in agreement was a grandmother, about my age.
L’s mom told me she told her, “Rio theClown is the best face painter ever! She can do anything!”
I wonder if I can keep up my repertoire to meet L’s expanding expectations, or if I will have to pass my brushes and paints off to a younger, stronger clown.