On Artistry and Understanding Em: Pablo Picasso

“Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

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“I begin with an idea, and then it becomes something else.”

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“Everything you can imagine is real.”



“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”

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“The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.”


“The meaning of life is to find your gift.  The purpose of life is to give it away.”

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Thank you, Mr. Picasso.  I never understood my daughter so well.

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A Tale of Two Parties

My darling creative, sparkling, wonderful Em turned six last month, and she is so loved it required two parties!


The first party was for three of her friends after school on her actual birthday.  Em is an artist through and through, and to celebrate that each friend celebrated her inner artist!

Art Birthday Party invitations! #artparty #bdayinvitations

We got a little excited about these invitations…there was a little extra glue going on.  But it was all Em’s idea and she was super creative with how she wanted to decorate them!

When the girls arrived after school, there were art supplies waiting for each of them at their seat.

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Each girl painted her own picture on her canvas, and then we filled cupcake necklaces with sand art.  They all loved it and the time flew by!

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And of course, colorful cupcakes!

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It was a really fun way to celebrate her actual birthday and she felt super special.  She felt even more fabulous that weekend, when all our family came up for her family party, this time an animal theme she designed all her own!

The cousins loved the animal masks, and the girls all wore matching dresses made by Nana.  It was so adorable to see them all together!

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Em used our many Schleich animals to decorate her cake and Nana and Papa’s house, and there were plenty of “party animals” to go around!  Her ideas for animal touches were so fun! I’m glad I let her help decorate this year instead of trying to surprise her as usual.  She really knows what she wants, and her vision is always great!

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Including these creepy-eyed stuffies (not my favorites but my kids LOVE them) in lieu of goodie bags for the kids!  They were such a hit!

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Em knew exactly what she wanted for food as well, and with some creative wording, she was able to get all her favorite foods at the party!  Such a smart lady.

Animal Birthday Party Food #animalparty #animapartyfoodideas Animal Birthday Party Food #animalparty #animapartyfoodideas

Em remembered how Papa orchestrated a scavenger hunt for her presents last year and made a request for another go round.  He obliged and she tracked down all the amazing gifts bought and made for her, including a professional easel handmade by her Auntie Amanda.  What a lucky lady to have such a beautiful day!

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Mmmmm….and a yummy cake made by Auntie Jenny.  Loved by so many, this precious girl.

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Happy birthday, dear Em!  You deserved every minute of happiness from your celebrations!

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Studio Fever

This weekend we had such an incredible opportunity, provided by the Artistree Community Arts Center in Pomfret, Vermont.  Jax, Em, and I attended Studio Fever!, where we had the opportunity to literally paint on the walls of an art gallery!  They covered the walls in fresh canvas and welcomed the public to create their own art using various media and decorate the space.  It was absolutely beautiful and inspiring!

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Em and I had been planning on attending since I heard about it, but Jax was a harder sell, not considering himself an artist naturally.  He eventually agreed to come, somewhat with mixed feelings, but once we arrived, he was as enthusiastic as she was.  My little brain became an artist for the morning; it was quite a change, and nice to see.

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The kids didn’t have a plan, and for once, I didn’t try to overthink it.  Here are your paints, here is your canvas.  Just go.

What do I know about art anyway?  It was far better to watch my kids explore their own creativity.




Watching their styles was interesting, too.  Jax was definitely abstract random, all about shapes and colors and broad strokes.  Em still let things fly, but with a bit more of a focus–random garden imagery.  My favorite was her hand print flower leaves.  Her imagination is extraordinary and lovely.

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It was such a wonderful, creative, thoughtful morning.  I loved watching them work, and creating art together.  My birds, an outline of a tree, her flowers and leaves.  All of us spending a morning making the world more beautiful.



Even a reluctant Jackson Pollock, who eventually put down his paintbrush to read a book about fifteen minutes before Em was ready to go, but for the hour that the three of us were there at Artistree, I saw brave, bold artists transforming their world.  What a way to start our weekend!

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Artists’ Perspectives

I so love an opportunity to let my kids engage in art, and one of my favorite spots to get elbow-deep is the local AVA Gallery. We’ve been to their children’s open studio many times, but it never fails to thrill my artistic (photographic) sensibilities–with its lovely light and pops of color–and my kids’ inner artists.  It’s an opportunity for them to express their artistic perspective, and for me to get various (photographic) perspectives of them.

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Little H, who had never been to AVA before, was very excited to have her very own easel, her very own palette, and choose whichever colors she likes no matter what her sister says.  She did ask Em to help her draw a picture of Daddy, but the artists’ rendition of said man of her life was all her own.

Having her sitting still, intent and focused, was a brilliant moment for the photographer in me, as it was with her brother and sister before her.  She put her perspective down on paper and I caught my various perspectives on film.

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Big sister, meanwhile, was incredibly focused (and wearing a crown).  In the car on the way to the gallery she informed me that she wanted to paint a picture of mermaids, and from the moment we arrived, she got to work.  First, she made an outline with a pencil.


Then she got painting.  First fine details, then the deep blue sea.  From whether to include eyelashes to panic when her bellybuttons dripped, Em had her vision and worked incredibly diligently until it was realized.

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I was, and am, incredibly impressed and proud of her.  Her brother can sit and read for hours.  For her, art is her modus operandi; it’s how she sees the world, how she interprets it, and how she makes it more beautiful.


Pretty damn good for a five-year-old!


To get to know this little girl, to provide her an opportunity to share her perspective on the world, the key is and undoubtedly will be artistic expression.  She will color my life with her intent and wonder.  With potential like this, I’m counting on it.

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Autumn Button Branch

Autumn Button Branch @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Autumn Button Branch @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Autumn Button Branch @ Rub Some Dirt On It

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Just Rainbows

Before Jax transformed into Harry Potter on Halloween, he had a chance for a practice run at a local autumn festival, with some of the best face painting I’ve ever seen.  The colors were so gorgeous; the photographer in me was so glad I brought my camera! I can’t ignore a rainbow.


Jax rocked his lightning scar,…

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…and the girls expressed their inner Rainbow Brite, which I absolutely loved.

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The writer in me would like to pretend there is some kind of metaphor about how they are the light that shines through the rain, the rainbows of my life, but let’s be honest.  That wasn’t my intention at all.  I really just loved their face paint.  No bigger message necessary.

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Sometimes a rainbow is just a rainbow, and there’s nothing wrong with that.


 And maybe they are the light of my life, but we’ll save all that for another day.  For today, it’s all about rainbows!

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Words To Live By

“At the end of the day,

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your feet should be dirty, 


your hair messy,

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and your eyes sparkling.” ~Shanti




Words to live by.

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