a blank canvas, color and a brush

i am not a fancy painter at all. i first fell in love with painting as a young girl watching my grandfather paint in his dimly lit basement. there were easels, oil paint tubes, linseed oil, paint brushes and tools in every shape. i would watch him for hours. then came the day he said i could paint my own small canvas. i decided on nature (one of his specialties) and painted a log cabin, woods and trees. remember bob ross? well you may laugh, but my grandfather had that same calmness as he painted, describing how to get those tree limbs to look real and how to add snow. my mother noticed my love of painting and bought me a bob ross “how to paint set” a few years later. i never used it much, but she could see that a love of painting and watching someone paint was unfolding.

i gave my mom a painting as a gift in grade school, which hung in her bathroom framed for years. then in college i started painting again, this time mostly cards for family and friends. one i sent to my boyfriend’s parents (now in laws)  read “love is all you need” -for valentines day- with swirls of paint around it. it’s framed in their house today.

recently, i asked a close friend, who also happens to be an amazing art teacher, what the best medium is for letting little ones express themselves creatively. she said hands down- painting. free painting that is, where you give full creative control to the small eager hands and the paint brush. so no paint by numbers.

my four year old created these valentines to share with his class and teachers. i have to admit i want to keep them all! i also have to admit that i wanted to grab a brush and paint with him. he said he painted: love hearts, love bugs, love lizards and one of “mommy with me in her belly, like a long time ago”…

a blank canvas, color and a brush. what will your child paint? what techniques will they develop on their own to create eyes or mouths? which brush will they choose, which colors? how will they describe it to you after it dries?






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  1. Cicely on February 9, 2010

    Lovely! A great project for any age.

  2. I had no idea you would be posting about this today, but noticed your pics on FB yesterday and got inspired. $62 later at JoAnns, I have all I need for a Valentines extravaganza for Day 5 of Snowpocalypse!!

  3. allison on February 9, 2010

    I welled up at watching an artist be born through your visuals! Great moms/dads,etc will let their children be free when it comes to making “creative choices”…. it is all about helping support your child in developing “creative problem solving skills”… something we (as teachers, parents, grandparents, role models”) need to help our children develop as our world be-lines itself toward technology and the creative thinker! What can I say Joya, you are one of my best friends and I have such a respect for you and ALL of your MANY MANY MANY NATURAL GIFTS and ABILITIES when it comes to ANYTHING CREATIVE … but I most especially respect how you hold your standards of being a mother/teacher so INCREDIBLY high, and yet your one of the most NORMAL, Down to Earth people I know! WOW! CONSTANTLY INSPIRED… and I am not just feeding you lines of you know what! SERIOUSLY… you INSPIRE ME! ;)
    just did some cute peace signs with William to celebrate Black History Month and people who stand up for what is right! Soooo fun and adorable… and you are soo right… I got right in there and started painting too!

  4. stumbled upon this since my facebook is all jacked up…so guess things work out sometimes. i bought my boys a bunch of fingerpaint & papers for valentine’s day. love what you are doing joya…why weren’t you an art major at smc?

  5. Kirsten- your kiddies are going to have some valentine making fun! make sure you take a turn and make some too.

    Cicely, Allison and Mo: my SMCs ! thank you all for your support and kind words. Mo, funny isn’t it that i was a bio/chem/psych major and not art, i do love the sciences though and was always interested and good at that. the arts were always a hobby for me. i did envy my art major friends and would stumble into their art rooms and watch on my break from organic chem lab. no regrets though, i am just happy to allow myself the time now to be creative!

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