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Painting together

We really love to paint around here.  I don't just mean that we have the standard preschool easel with paints (although we do), or even finger paints or watercolor.  I mean making "real" art.

It all started when Jor Man was three-years-old.  Big Dad wanted something special to put over the mantel letting everyone know that we are Christians.  I got an idea for a painting of Jesus, in three parts:  two hands and his head, on the cross.  I sketched it out, and bought the canvases and the paint.

Then, having sketched it in pencil on the canvases, I began to paint while baby Campster was asleep.  Jor Man noticed and wanted to "help".  I gulped.  I didn't really want his help, because I wanted the painting to be "good".  Well, he was so excited about painting, that I decided to try it.  But I explained to him that I wanted it to be a certain way, and I might "fix" a few things.
Our painting together was great fun.  We painted for several days and it turned out just like I wanted.  Big Dad was so happy with it.

Fast forward to six months ago.  It was Big Dad's birthday.  The kids wanted to make him something.  I thought he might like a painting of the kids by the kids.

So we went to Michael's and got a canvas and acrylic paints.  I sketched the three kids from photos.  We'd already begun painting before I realized that it would be fun to document it.

Each child was responsible for painting their own picture.  Beauty Mom helped with mixing colors and with suggestions for how to do things.  It took several hours which we did over a few days.  Better to do a few shorter spurts with good cooperation and fun, than rush to get it all done at once, getting frustrated and impatient with ourselves and others.  We talked a lot about colors, and styles of art.  We experimented with mixing colors to see what would happen.

One of the best things we learned is that for an artist there is no such thing as a mistake, only an opportunity!  Learning to have a good attitude is, I think, more important than learning technique.  With a good attitude, technique will follow.  But with a bad attitude, technique is really wasted.

We kept it all a secret.  On the morning of his birthday, the kids lined up on the bed with the painting on their laps.  We hadn't planned it that way, but it was so funny.  Big Dad was so surprised!  And the kids were all proud and happy with their creation.  They asked if we could paint again soon.

I think it is fun for kids to paint in the standard "school" ways that we think about kids painting.  But it is really fun, engaging and meaningful for them to be a part of "real" art.  Something that hangs on your wall for years, not just on your frig for a few weeks.

When I was little, my mom had an entire wall in our kitchen designated as the art wall.  She hung up our very nicest works of art and kept them there.  In fact, one of my drawings is still on her frig.  Really.

Thanks, Mom!

Wish you were here!

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