Note To Self: Paint More

Any other parents out there have a love/hate relationship with the easel we all get sucked into buying at some point?  It’s so…unwieldy and such a…how should I say this?…process.  I love how nicely the kids play together when they’re painting (as long as they are in the mood to share) and the colorful photos I can get of them while they are so engrossed are some of my favorites.  But the pain to get it out of the closet, take out all the paints, get water, paper towels and paint brushes handy…hold on, am I seriously complaining about art supplies?  Even as I type this I want to slap myself upside the head and get a grip.  Sure, dealing with kids and paint can be a serious pain, but that’s crazy talk for something that can be so engaging and beautiful.  Note to self: I need a reality check.  This is what I signed up to do all day.  I need to embrace paint more often and just be thankful my commute is from my art supplies to my front porch.

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Sometimes it’s easier to just say, “Put on another show,” or just have them play upstairs in their bedrooms, certainly.  But looking back on our summer and the number of times we made a conscious decision to explore our inner artists (not very many), I think that I need to stop assuming the kids get enough art in school and start devoting a little more effort to getting our hands good and colorful more often.

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Parenting, like art, is definitely a process, and why is that a bad thing? I know that if the only thing this blog provides me is a place to reflect on which choices I make are good ones and which ones maybe not so much, it’s a worthwhile endeavor.  Just like busting out the old easel every now and then.

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After all, with mornings to myself with this girl, what better parenting can I provide than to let her explore her inner artist?  Sometimes books and errands and lunch and naptime just have to wait.

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Duly noted, self.  Time to get our artist on.

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Taking Flight

When I pick up Em and Jax from school today, it will be with cheers of jubilation and sighs of relief that our first year with kids in school was such a roaring success.  They will be my little first grader and kindergartener from this day forward, and it’s with so much love (and a bit of trepidation) that the entire summer lays before us, just waiting to unveil itself to us, with its promise of lazy days and grand adventures.  I am so looking forward to just allowing them to be themselves and to learn at their own pace, exploring the world all summer long, so that when school comes around again in the fall they will be ready to take flight, rejuvenated and content in their own skin.

Chalk Outline Butterfly @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Like butterflies.

Oh, and don’t forget the butterfly-in-training.  She’s still got some growing to do!

Chalk Outline Butterfly @ Rub Some Dirt On It.  Use chalk to make butterfly wings and antennae and have the child form the body!

Happy summer!

Photo Jun 12, 3 09 16 PM

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A Colorful Personality

There is a new habit forming when my two girls are together and suddenly they are very quiet, interspersed with guilty giggles.

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Em LOVES coloring on her sister. She writes her name on Little H’s belly, she takes requests as far as tattoos and encourages Little H to take the artistic expression to new levels.PicMonkey Collage

Needless to say, bathtime is getting a little more….colorful!

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But no one really seems to mind.  Even me!  After all, I shouldn’t squelch freedom of expression–that is, until she gets her hands on something other than washable markers!

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An Easel: Take Two

What’s good enough for the big kids is good enough for the baby.  That is, if the baby has anything to say about it!  Let me at that easel!

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Well, since Mommy has a thing or two to say about it, let’s use the chalkboard side rather than all that paint while wearing a white shirt.  Just as exciting, not nearly as messy.  Hopefully.

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Em, as usual, relished the role of big sister and wanted to show Little H all the easel-y ropes.  Little H thought the rope-showing was incredibly fascinating and loved every second of sitting at the big kids’ table with a piece of chalk in her hand.  Just like big sis.  A dream come true!  Just look at her smile!

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And then, Em showed her the eraser, and Little H’s head exploded.

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Maybe a little too much easel, too soon.

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An Easel: Take One

An art easel is one of those things that all houses with kids should have, but every parent has a love-hate relationship with it.  It takes up space, painting is messy, they never use it…I heard it all when I asked friends if I should buy one.  But even though I knew it might be more hassle than it was worth, I asked my uncles to buy one for the kids for Christmas last year, and I think it was the right choice.

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I don’t pull it out very often, and it does take up room in a house that doesn’t have much extra space, but even if we never use it again, I am happy that I got to watch my big kids work together to create something really special: a picture of our home.

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House, trees, family, sky.  They’re the ones who decided what to paint and it was their choice to share one piece of paper.  I was impressed at their teamwork but also at the finished product.  A truly great work of art!

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One that you know this mama is going to keep forever!

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Portraits Of The Artists

Earlier this month I took my kids back to one of our absolute favorite spots: AVA gallery in Lebanon, NH for their children’s open art studio.

My kids and I delight in going to the open art studio and have since Jackson was Emmy’s age .  I love watching them choose how they express themselves, be it with paint, clay, or just having fun in the play space.  We bring the art home and hang it in their room  and they could not be more proud.

Me neither, really.

I love watching their expressions, how seriously they take it (or sometimes not!), and just the fact that they are literally immersing themselves in art.

I just love it.  Everything about it.  I’m going to try to go at least one more time before the baby arrives, if only to sneak in a few more remarkable memories.

 I wonder how days like these will shape who they are as they grow up.  I can’t imagine it could be anything but for the better!

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Spark

Do you think having an opportunity to visit a gallery every week for free would spark a love and appreciation for art like nothing else could?

Do you think using real materials, having permission to act maturely, and receiving praise for your creation would spark a level of self-confidence that could not be achieved alone?

Do you think that the creative spirit is sparked by having a blank canvas and the freedom to do whatever you choose with it?

Do you think that creating beauty can spark an unparalleled appreciation for it and its many forms?

Do you think that watching your children grow and learn can spark a feeling of accomplishment that surely cannot be compared?

Do you think that having a place to be silly and creative and free can spark an imagination, which will simmer and blaze and glow over a lifetime of experiences?

We do.  And are grateful for a chance to light that spark every week.

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