Friday, 1 July 2016

Paint By Numbers (3)

My maternal grandfather bought his first video camera in 1993, a few weeks before the birth of his first grandchild, me. From the moment I was born, to the moment he passed away in 2009, he documented mine and Emily’s lives. Watching the tapes now is simply magical, though we’ve had to convert them to DVDs.

There is a section on one of these tapes which is of particular interest to my Father and I, as we believe it shows my grandfather accidently capturing Emily’s inner cheekiness at the tender age of two and a half years old.

Emily and I would often sit in our grandparent’s dining room to paint. We loved it. As the elder sister, the video depicts me concentrating over my paint by numbers book, straining with the effort, attempting to keep all of my brush strokes within the designated lines.

Emily, on the other hand, appears to have adopted more of a splodge and smear technique to her paper.

My granddad is happily chatting away to us, making us giggle and asking us questions about what we are doing in order to elicit a response.

He then places the camera down on his tripod in order to go and do something in the kitchen. I think perhaps it was to get Emily a drink, or to ask my Grandma for some paper towels.

The camera continues to roll, and in doing so captures Emily in her devious act!

Spectators see her slowly dip her brush into a black paint pot, and reach over so stealthily that I fail to notice any movement at all over to the right hand side of me, (engrossed as I was in my painting).

With the movement of her arm, her huge blue eyes grow even wider with excitement. A curl of a smile appears on her lips. She paints a short, bold black line on my face. Right down my cheek.

She whips her head back down to her paper.
Naturally, I retaliate.
Just as my grandfather comes back into the room.


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