I recently scored a bunch of canvases from an art store sale (buy one, get one free ... how cool is that?) and I couldn't resist. I know, I KNOW I already have a bunch of stretcher bars and a big fat roll of canvas in my basement. I KNOW I haven't broken these out in ages (since art school?). I just don't feel like stretching a canvas these days. However, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to get a truckload of pre-stretched canvases and figured I'd decide what to paint later. Don't we all do that with our crafting and art supplies? C'mon.
Just as we were trying to figure out what to do with the rest of the blank walls in the children's room, my eyes rested on the still-sitting-in-their-bags canvases. I dug out my old paint box, brushes and other painting accouterments and we headed outside.
As always, I just let my kids choose their colors and go at it, painting whatever they felt like painting and then, painting over that with something else. On the drop cloth, we sat and chatted about summer, swimming, our garden and what they were painting. The afternoon was so lovely!
I'm the type of mom that doesn't control the kids' creative activities. They want to paint on the canvas? Fine. They want to paint on their arms? Okay, but let me take off your shirt first. They want to make the once beautiful purple picture look more like dirt? Okay, then make it the best looking dirt.
I think painting or any craft project, especially with toddlers and preschoolers, is more about the journey than the destination. How does the pink paint look on the stark white canvas? What if I make my brush go this way instead of that? How does it look when I jam the bristles down? What color does green, red and gray make (a question often wondered by my son for some reason).
As a child, I distinctly remember loving the black crayons. My mom probably worried that she had the early stages of a goth kid on her hands and envisioned years of dark clothes, fishnets and L.A.R.P.-ing in the community park. No, that wasn't for me though. I just loved the black crayon because of the way it felt when I swiped it across the paper. It made a bold, dark mark and the texture was nice. I didn't care so much about the color as the experience I had when I colored with it. Do any of you remember a favorite crayon color? I'm sure most of you do and probably for the same reasons: texture, tone, color and feel.
My children didn't want the painting to end, though we had to at some point or the paintings would have taken a week to dry with all the layers of paint on them. Chandler used his favorite colors: red, green and gray. Ava used hers: purple and pink. I personally thought that they were interesting and they will look nice in their room. They are so proud of them.
If you ever see a sale on canvases - grab a few! I encourage you to make some fine art with your children and proudly hang them in a place of prominence in your home. This will brighten up your living space and your child's heart and mind.