In a Box of Crayons (Children & Art)

In a box of crayons, I am the orange. Who are you?

Ok, I believe that each of us can be represented by at least one crayon. I know for myself, I am definitely not a pink, or a brown, though I do like nature and the earth.

Children and art belong together, just as they need to be read to aloud, and to learn as many words as they can in fun ways that they remember.

The following story illustrates the imagination of a child when that imagination is squashed so to speak.

My mother, like a good number of other mothers in my day, put me into a summer Bible school. Now this was fine if we were church goers, but we were not, and I really did not know much about the Bible. So on one of the first days, the teacher asked us all to color pictures of Joseph and Mary that she gave us. We each had colors, and I just assumed that this was meant to be a creative exercise.

But when my little hand picked up a crayon and began to color Joseph’s hair orange, the teacher slapped the crayon out of my hand with a firm “Joseph’s hair is brown, not orange.” I quietly waited for her to leave my spot as I picked up the brown and began to peel it as though it needed to be peeled.

Moments later, the teacher had to go down the hall to the office. Now in those days, it was not against the law to leave the children alone in a classroom and we did not have aides in our classroom. We were alone – all alone.

Bored beyond measure, I picked up my pair of children’s scissors and began to pretend to cut my eyebrows. Soon all the other children began to cut their eyebrows, or pretend to as well. And one little girl got really carried away and was cutting her braid. As we giggled ourselves silly, the teacher walked back in. Outraged at what she saw, she said in her hornblower voice, “Who showed you to do this?” And all those little fingers pointed right at me. I tried to look around, but to no avail.

She marched over to my table, grabbed me by the hair, and got me up and marching to the office. Once there, she called my mother and told her that I could no longer be in HER class, for I could not follow instructions and was a troublemaker. So that was it. I was going home. Maybe there ARE miracles in this world.

My mother was furious with me, of course, so I got sent to my room . . . where I had a box of crayons and coloring book. I sat and colored the hair of each person in the coloring book orange . . .


Children and Art

  Anne’s Special Needs Classroom with Children’s Art

I love special needs children. And I love art, so I have tried to infuse my classes with art through the many years I did this work. This particular project was a call for art to cover a gas station in New York used specifically for that purpose one time. The project was a fiber arts project, 3′ x 3′ square from each group that contributed one. The project, chosen by the children, was a world with lots of hand prints on it. The world was painted onto quilt batting painted blue, and the children’s hands were hand prints they all made. The hand prints were cut out and stitched onto and around the world and each child wrote his or name on the hands. They also helped put the name of their school on the piece.

The children learned much beyond just creating art. They learned how to do a project together with minimum guidance. And they learned what it was like to have something they created go across the U.S. and got to see it online up with all the other projects. They got to have a sense of pride in doing something so much larger than their own little world. I am so glad I got to help them do this project.

All children should get to experience art, just as reading out loud to them is good for their growth too. They need to learn to be ok if they make mistakes, and to accept and appreciate the miracle of what they have made, even if it is not perfect in adult eyes. How many art projects have any of us who create art made with imperfections? Imperfections are what makes art that is truly unique and fantastic. In the same sense, special needs children are unique and amazing people with so much to offer the world. Thank you one and all, and bless each of you for the New Year and all the years that follow.

Respect Yourself

Lady in Red by Anne Copeland

Yes, the sign next to her says, “If you ever knew how powerful a negative thought was, you’d never have another.”

Once upon a time in my life, I was so creative. The piece to the Lady’s right is a vase I made as part of a mystery project where you have no idea what you are doing until it is done. And even then . . .

So I had this magical idea to make a bunch of muslin ladies and wrap them in red and stand them upon a sort of sculptural hill. They would be all moving up the hill and all of them would be like this one.

But then, the Boogeyman of Creativity moved into my mind and told me I should get someone else to look at it before I finished it. So off we went, the lady held carefully out in front of me.

We arrived across the street at the mobile home of the Queen of Creativity. Now she wasn’t just the Queen, but she KNEW that she was the Queen, and so she did what all Queens do, and that was to tear my Lady in Red apart, word by word. What had I done right? Did I not KNOW that I could NEVER do ANYTHING as good as she could?

Back home again, I looked sadly at the Lady in Red once again, and buried her in my drawer in a cardboard box with all the muslin figures who by a few well aimed words were doomed never to become Ladies in Red.

Then after many, many years, the Lady in Red was rediscovered by an old Arteologist. She held the Lady in Red and looked her over again, and she discovered the most wonderful thing. The Lady in Red WAS good. She was damned good! And she was ONE of a kind!

The Arteologist placed the sacred Lady in Red on top of her desk next to the Vase that was the resting places for many sacred things that she had discovered from the deep, dark recesses of her soul. It is the place where lessons of life are born . . .

So here we are on the eve of Christmas and I believe the message for the day is “Respect Yourself.” Respect the magic you bring to the world, and respect what you create. You AND your creativity are sacred. They are the beautiful memories you leave behind you to tell your story. And every one of us needs a story.

A Time of Quiet Contemplation and Thankfulness

person holding ball glass
Photo by Artem Saranin on

As we continue a season of holidays, I want to wish you the very best life has to offer, no matter what set of holidays you choose to celebrate. I wish you peace, joy, and an appreciation of the sacred in this world.

This is a time of renewal, and a time of quiet contemplation about the world that we have been given in which to have the experience of being an important part of the universe with its many different dimensions.  As the world seems to sleep, new life is forming quietly in so many different places and going unnoticed until it bursts forth in all its glory when spring awakens.




pexels-Statue of Liberty

Photo courtesy of Pexels

This is a state of depression or apathy caused by comparing the actual state of the world with an idealized state. – Merriam Webster Online Dictionary

One day

One Breath

One Moment

And it is all gone.

How did humanity

survive through the centuries

With so much destruction,

violence and hatred?

We keep learning geography,

spelling and math.

We learn how to write

and how to graph.

But we never seem to learn

how to appreciate

the moment.

How to be happy

where we are

with what we have,

or what we don’t have,

who we are,

and who we are not.



The Life of a Pencil


Photo courtesy Pexels.

I learned this little really interesting lesson many years ago from my amazing friend, Spencer Heath MacCallum.

Every time you purchase a pencil, do you know how many people you are employing?  Start with the wood of the pencil. There have to be loggers who cut the wood, and then truckers who haul it to some factory.  Then there are the factory workers who form the wood for the pencil into its familiar shape.

Then there are those who paint the outsides of the pencils, and those who imprint it with the type of lead (the size, and perhaps the brand name, etc.).  Then there is the little metal piece that holds the rubber eraser.  OK, it is some kind of metal that (likely tin) that has to be mined and then processed, perhaps through many processes to make that holder.  Then it too goes via trucks or perhaps trains to a factory where it is shaped and formed into the piece that will hold the eraser onto the pencil.  And then there is the machinery that performs all those magical tasks, and the people who run those machines.  And of course there is the rubber.

It is growing in the forests in some country where it then is gathered as a liquid, and again, it is processed, and then dyed, as I think rubber in its natural state would not be pink (or other contemporary eraser colors), and it is formed and shaped into those little erasers.  Then there is the lead, and again, lead must be mined, carried to trucks or trains (as are all of these parts) where it is then taken to be processed for formed into the lead that becomes the innermost part of the pencil.

And then all of this must be assembled. Now a great part of the process might be to do these things automatically via machines, but then someone had to make the machines, and someone had to maintain them, and someone else has to run them.  And of course there are the quality control people.  And then the packaging people.  And then the people who take the orders and know where the pencils will go.  And then the pencils are loaded onto trucks and delivered to the places.  Of course, people have to build these trucks and they have to be maintained, and they have to have gas and oil.

Once delivered, the stocking people have to note them into the inventory, and then they get put onto the shelves, where the sales people might just help you to find them, and even if not, you will take them to the cash register to pay for them, so this is the end step that I can think of in the life of the pencil.

Doesn’t this make you feel good to know how many people you are helping to keep employed every time you buy that simple little pencil?  All of this for less than $1.00.