Art with Ransom
As an artist, I of course love to see my son create. Ransom's not always super into it though. I try not to pressure him too much, because he doesn't have to be a mini me.
But toddlers are changing every day, and mine got really into painting with me recently. I thought I'd use this blog post to take a break from my regularly scheduled all-about-my-art and turn it to Ransom.
This is activity was pretty fun for me, because it was totally unplanned. We kinda played it by ear and let the process lead us along.
First, he decided he wanted to do some painting. Of course I was so excited about this, because like I said it's not always his first choice of activity. So I prepped a piece of paper and gave him some oil pastels and stickers while I got the paint ready.
Then I provided yellow and red paint. Limiting the colors keeps it from all just becoming brown. And then we got to discover that yellow and red make orange.
He was layering the paint on real thick, so we got out some cotton swabs to draw lines in the layers of paint. And we had to clean the swabs on something so we got out some extra paper.
And then we started using our fingers and hands. (and threw in some purple)
We ending up going through a lot of paper. Two year olds are not very concerned with finished products, but I wanted a few nice looking paintings out of this experience so I took away some of the papers when I liked how they were looking.
Here's one of the masterpieces, which I think I want to have framed.
The less frame worthy pieces I plan on cutting up for future collages. We attempted one the other day together. He wasn't as into it as the painting, but still enjoyed using the goopy glue.
All in all it was a super fun and inspiring activity for me, hopefully for him as well.
Because of it I got a book from the library called First Art for Toddlers and Two: Open Ended Art Experiences. It's hard for me to make it truly open ended. For instance, with the collage I felt like it needed more, but he had lost interest. For a few days I kept asking him to glue more things on or at least draw on it with some oil pastels. He eventually did, but I probably should have just let it be.
I'm excited to dive into the book though and create more with him.
Don't Make Babies
I sometimes hear people refer to their art as their baby, or as a piece of themselves. I don't really think of it that way. Frankly, I don't think that is a very healthy or productive way to think of one's art.
I remember taking a studio class in college and struggling with a project. I just didn't like where it was going; I didn't feel proud of it. I don't remember now what the particular project was, but I remember walking away from the art building and making a conscious effort to leave those feelings behind. I recall telling myself that I am not my art. I am not my work. My sense of well being should not be tied to how well I think a project is going. So I left the object I was working on behind and moved onto my next class.
I've heard some artists say they don't want to post their art online -- either for sale or on social media -- because they are afraid someone will steal it. It happens pretty often and it does suck, but still . . . it's just one design. It hasn't happened to me, but I imagine if it did I would be bummed, and then move on. That's not reason enough to hide your art away. If you steal my art, I will just make more. It's not sacred and it's not my baby.
I've been thinking about this lately, this idea that my art is not my baby, that I don't have to take it all so seriously. Then I read the same idea in Gibert's Big Magic,
"Guys, please don't mistake your creative work for a human child, ok? This kind of thinking will only lead you to deep psychic pain . . . Your creative work is not your baby; if anything, you are its baby. Everything I have ever written has brought me into being. Every project has matured me in a different way."
If my art is a baby, it's more like a baby sea turtle rather than a human baby. I birth it, and then send it on its way. I hope it does well, but in the mean time I'm going to let it go and continue to make more.
I've been drawing a lot more flowers and plants lately, mainly due to an increase in requests for botanical tattoo designs. Such as this in-progress drawing ...
As an art teacher, I've always said that the best drawers are the best observers. The more you notice, the better you'll draw. Well, I am also finding the opposite to be true. The more plant life that I draw, the more that I notice. My eyes are being drawn to little buds and blossoms more than they have been before.
I went on a hike on Mt Hood with some friends a couple weeks ago and found myself almost as excited about the wildflowers we walked by as I was the view of the peak.
And now I'm noticing flowers all the time. I collect pictures of them on my walks and runs, and have an ongoing flower folder on my phone.
I think it would be fun to do a wildflower-of-Mt-Hood series. At some point... once I get past some commissioned projects and my never-ending state bird series . . . Oh yeah and my children's book and nautical coloring book . . . . I'm definitely not bored!
A place to share the process. A space to be honest about the triumphs and trials of my daily life as an artist and mama. Writing motivates and refreshes me.