Today was a big day: my boy found inspiration and having asked to buy a canvas, told me that he wanted to paint a picture of something real. That is, paint it from life, rather than from his imagination (ghosts, spiders or his imaginary friend, FireRockets)…
The path to this inspiration was paved over several days. First, his realization that his big brother collected money each week in his piggy bank. The understanding that this money could be saved and used to buy things he wanted. The request for his own piggy bank and his own money (we supplied an empty – oh, the irony – peanut butter jar for this purpose).
Then, this morning, I wanted to visit our local dollar store, because it had changed hands a few months ago and I hadn’t met the new owners yet. The new guy told me somewhat diffidently that yes, they did have “some” art/craft supplies, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that not only did he have a number of neat little things for us, he had in stock a number of canvases, including a square and some of my favourite deep ones.
J fell in love with a square canvas ($4.49) and fell on a golden piggy bank ($1.99) with what can only be described as cries of joy. The pig and the canvas came home with us, after I learned the fate of said canvas: my boy wanted to paint a picture of his new piggy bank on it.
10 Lessons Today:
1. Mommy isn’t perfect. “Mommy, you’re doing it WRONG!” (shocker, I know…)
2. Prep time, including sketches and canvas prep are somewhat truncated when working with a four year old…
3. Having said that, allowing your child to practise his cross-hatching with a green fine-liner is absolutely essential.
4. The piggy needed to be in the middle with a little buddy, and drawn (natch) from a fiendishly difficult angle.
5. The artist was eager to get sketching pronto. With a black sharpie.
6. The pigs needed a black square around them, which made me wonder if he’d been influenced by my own obsession with squares…
7. The jury is still out on whether or not the square will be surrounded by a bright colour (my idea).
8. “Silver is a useful colour.”
9. He likes to paint vast expanses with TINY brushes. Even I am not allowed to help him with a larger one. I wait for the little tyrant to get water before I sneakily swap in a 1/4″ brush.. Pink brushes are particularly good because then mommy likes the colour, too…(??).
10. He knows I’ll need to clean my brushes and gets a cup of water on his own initiative. He also puts his canvas in the sun to dry. Ok on a warm (not hot, or rainy) day…
In sum: my boy is extremely clear about what he wants. He needs me to execute the project some of the time but he is never in doubt about how it should look and quite free with his feedback when it doesn’t meet his exacting standards
“Is it finished?”
“Yes! I want to put it on my wall so I can see it when I sleep.”
After this conversation, he started working on it again. In spite of his certainty, he still has a few things to learn
And as we worked…
“Aren’t we going to put a bright colour around it?”
“I said I didn’t want an outline.”
“No, not an outline. You could put paint around it, or collage with newspaper, maps or sheet music.”
“OOOH! OOOH! Make silver paint the outline!”
“Mommy, can you do the rest?”