Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Painting With a Toddler is a Freeing Experience

Over the past several years I've had a desire to paint, but haven't done much with that desire. I really don't know much about painting and I guess I've let that, and busyness keep me from it. 

Recently, Evie and I have started playing with watercolors. The other night I had a hard time tearing myself away from our fun to get dinner started.

There is something very freeing about painting with a toddler, she doesn't critique my picture, she says "Good job mommy, I like your lion!"
For that matter it's also fun to sing and dance with her for the same reasons... she doesn't know yet that I'm off-key or that my dance moves are pretty lame. I am free to just have fun with her.

A few years ago I was having issues in a drawing class and I had an AHA! moment;
When I was little I drew and colored all the time, and then sometime around middle school (other than art class assignments), I kinda stopped. Why did I stop? I think what had changed was my expectations... and perceptions of how other people saw my work. For some reason, at that age I began to believe, that if you are going to do something, you better be good at it, or else people will laugh at your efforts. What a sad reason not to do something... how else will you get better? and who cares if something doesn't measure up to an imagined standard, especially if it brings you joy to do it!
When I was little I didn't have expectations of what my picture should look like, I just had fun making it.
And when did I start calling my pictures work? Another questionable thing I picked up in art school?

I think it also comes down to humbling myself and knowing I have a lot to learn. I am not good at a lot of things, but it's still okay to do them. Do it for enjoyment, not to receive approval. This is my latest lesson... it'll take awhile (a lifetime) to really learn it (and others).


Christy Bouchard said...

These are great! I had to laugh about self-consciousness starting in middle school though... West has always hated to do things he isn't good at. He acts just like you said and he's not quite 6. Right now he's having a heck of a time just learning to write the alphabet because he won't practice. I wish I could help him feel in his heart how true your words are. I need to let him see me do something I'm not too good at, and have fun... Anyway thanks for the inspiration and the cute paintings :)

Cottage Industrious said...

Thanks so much Christy, it does me good to know what I wrote spoke to you. You are right about self-consciousness, I can even see the very beginnings of it in Evie... if we are laughing too hard about something, she might think it is at her that we are laughing and she will cry. What an awful feeling, it's too bad that starts so early. I definitely remember that social sensitivity in elementary school, but I think it was in middle school (for me personally) that my concerns included my creative abilities.
West and Acer are blessed to have you and Mike as parents. Your soft hearts and intentionality will help them through this and so many other obstacles.

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