I am sadly not one of those super homeschooling mothers who organises impressive art and craft projects for her children. I like to hop around the blogosphere enjoying everyone else’s beautiful photos and ideas, but rarely do I say to my kids, “Today we’re going to make… sew… paint… this.”
Often the girls will browse the bookshelves looking for ideas. We have bags of fabric and threads and wool, shelves of paints and pens and paper, boxes of buttons and stickers and glitter and paste… I am always willing to buy any missing ingredients, and offer my help. My daughters have made rag dolls, sock animals, painted boxes, paper dolls, greetings cards, knitted bags and dolls and scarves and shawls, salt dough ornaments, and even clothes for themselves. Many times they have modified the ideas in the books to suit themselves.
All this is good… but yesterday we did something different.
I remembered an art project I’ve been wanting to try for a long time. I knew if I got out my paper and paints, the girls would soon arrive to see what I was doing. I predicted they’d say, “Can we try that too?” So I invited them to join me.
- We gathered watercolour paints, (the cheap pan variety), gesso (from the discount store), watercolour paper, pencils and erasers and
- I went to Carla Sonheim’s blog where she has free art tutorials.
- We found the right page for the instructions on how to paint abstracted flowers.
We painted splodges of watercolour paint all over our paper. Then we added gesso.
We added patterns with the handle of the brush.
We added some pencil details, and some pencil smudges between the flowers, before washing a layer of sepia coloured paint over everything.
The following photos show the finished artworks.
Our finished paintings don’t really look much like Carla Sonheim’s, but that’s okay. I don’t think it’s necessarily good to make exact copies of anyone’s ideas. To be truly satisfying, we have to take ideas, experiment and make them our own.
I decided on a project and then spent an afternoon doing art and craft with my girls. We had a lot of fun working together but I don’t suppose I will organise similar activities very often. But I will be available next time one of my daughters arrives with a book or an idea of her own and needs my help. I might even make a suggestion if I’m asked. And I’m willing to share my own creative projects with anyone who hovers by my side, curious to see what I’m doing.
The girls seem to be very creative despite my failures to organise interesting art activities. But then again… maybe they are actually more creative because I stay out of the way until needed, and don’t take over. I like this idea. If it were true it would make this inadequate mother feel so much better. Yes, I like this idea very much.
Perhaps I could show you all those wonderful art and craft books on our shelves. I could do that another time. I can never resist a beautiful book. Can you?