Encouraging Creative Thinking in Visual Arts

Marisol rummaged through the box of paint but could not find any blue. “How am I going to make the sky without blue paint?

I believe every aspiring artist can draw inspiration from Marisol’s situation. Sky Color by Peter H. Reynolds is a small book, but don’t allow that factor to mislead you as a reader. This small book transmits a powerful message of how thinking outside the box leads to enormous creativity. This is the third book in Peter H. Reynold’s Creatrilogy, which include The Dot and Ish. Marisol’s character is sure to inspire the young artist in your life.

Marisol is a young artist who is passionate about drawing and painting. Reynolds illustrates this in a magnificent way. The illustrations are done in pen, ink, watercolor, gouache, and tea. I particularly enjoyed how the book is hand written by Reynolds. Reynolds illustrates Marisol’s surrounding world using the gouache method. The gouache method gives the reader a black and white association while staying opaque and translucent. He gives a vivid contrast utilizing watercolor bursts on items that are associated with the art process. Drawings, paintings, paints, brushes, sunsets, dreams; all symbolic for Marisol’s passion for art. Readers will instantly be drawn and connect to the story’s development with the frequency of the illustrated light.

When Marisol’s class is given the task to paint a mural for the library, all the students brainstorm and sketch. By the student’s comments we instantly get a feel that the mural will be ocean themed.

Then they marched to the library. “I’ll paint a fish!” I’ll paint one, too!” “I’ll paint the ocean!” Marisol shouted, “I’ll paint the sky!”

This is the where Marisol runs into a dilemma. She can’t find any blue paint and ponders on how she will be able to paint the sky without it. The bell rings and she gets on the bus. This is where we begin to see the creative process evolve. Marisol draws inspiration from observing those vibrant marigold hues when the sun meets the horizon. That same night she has a multi hued dream that leads her to ultimately connect how to think outside the every day box of normalcy. These two pages overflow with color and immense symbolism which helps the reader expand on the idea of what being an artist is all about.

In the morning, Marisol stood waiting for the bus in the rain. The sky was not blue. She smiled. At school, Marisol raced to the library. She grabbed a dish and began adding colors. This one, that one. She swirled the brush to make an altogether new color.

Marisol’s masterpiece is revealed at the end. A masterpiece that encourages young artists to see the world in whole new way. To draw from their inner intuitions to create something different and unexpected.

A boy asked, “What color is THAT? “That?” Marisol said. “That is sky color.”

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