Thursday, June 11, 2009

Art A Day

Kevin and I have decided that the next fifteen months are so are the "sweet spot" of parenting. Today is the first day of summer for us (Will's last day of school was yesterday) and in just about 15 months he'll be starting kindergarden (sighs). Like the Keith Urban song, "these are the days that you'll remember" and we want to spend them, as much as possible, enjoying the freedom of this time in our lives.

As I was pinning up some of the school artwork that came home with Will yesterday it occurred to me tha t, beyond me lobbying to put more art and music into our schools, I ought to be walking the talk and doing exactly that. Instead of worrying about donating to fundraisers to bring art education back to our school district, maybe we should just be getting down and dirty ourselves more often. I love doing art projects - and part of the joy of getting messy is getting clean afterwards. I set a goal to do at least one art or music "project" every day - some days it will be as simple as getting out our MusicTogether CDs and our instruments and playing together but I hope that most days it will mean getting out the crayons, the paints, the glue, the playdoh, t he scissors ... and just getting creative.

On the first day we made a chalk city on our driveway and painted dinosaurs. Well, we started out painting dinosaurs ... then the dinosaur became the ocean. Then we put fish in the ocean. [then mommy paints a sun over the ocean]. Then we paint a purple whale breeching out of the ocean. Then we give the whale a mouth. Now the whale is a megaladon (ancient shark). Then the whale is actually a ladder up to the sun. Then we mix the purple with the sun - now we have a sunset ... and that's where we stop for the day (although we may continue to paint after "quiet time" - to that end the stuff is still set up in the driveway.

Like my goal of getting back into running this year, it's all about momentum. The more you do it, the more you do it. First day of summer and we're on a roll :-)
ArtADay - Day 2
Day 2: we played off of our matchbox car chalk city and ran our cars through paint and then "rimmed" the cars on the paper to create our artwork. We also had fun with Lindsay's bubble machine (she can say "bubble" now very distinctly) and Will's bubble sword. I made giant bubbles with the bubble sword and Will ran around the street popping them with his other sword. This is now referred to as "the bubble game".
Day Three - start of a cheetah, painting the base
Day 3: decided to go with a theme for the week (African Animals). He chose a cheetah today. We looked at pictures on the internet (thank you Google Images) and then decided that cheetahs are yellow. Then I had to cut out a template. Of course Will wanted a cheetah running, so I had to freehand draw that, then cut it out, then tape it down onto the newspaper so he could paint it. Now it's drying and after "quiet time" we'll punch out black dots (that's a skill, right?) and glue them onto the body. Don't know if we'll make eyes or just glue googley eyes to it. I found a cool multicolored snake thing for tomorrow.
the finished cheetah

Day 4 - paper plate snake. Note to self - make note of which pieces go where before you paint. In theory it's a great idea to practice cutting by cutting the paper plate into pieces and then painting the pieces and then reassembling the "puzzle" back into a snake ... but in practice it's harder than it looks to remember which piece goes where! (and it's also hard to figure out which side to paint if the pieces aren't labeled so we ended up painting both sides of all of the pieces, just in case.
Day 4 - colorful snake

Day 5 - I've already learned something. Even though I like having a "theme" and the goal of doing at least one art project each day, I've learned that being too rigid about either really takes the entire point out of it. Yesterday we had a fun, easy day - walked to Starbucks, baked banana bread together, played the bubble game but then it was 5 PM and I realize we haven't done our art project for the day yet (handprint lions from this site: So this week I feel compelled to complete the theme but after tomorrow (Friday) I'm going to adopt a looser definition of "art project". I want to do creative things but I don't necessarily need to create things in the process. There's too much pressure that way - which entirely defeats the point of the project in the first place.

Day 6 - this morning Will had a playdate with a friend whose mom is also very into doing art with her son. She showed me a few cool things that she has to do with Mason (that I now totally covet) and she had a face painting book complete with face paints, a brush, etc. We turned Mason & Will into superheroes with face paints - it was fun. Now if I can only get to Michaels today maybe I can just paint Will's face as a zebra .....

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