So lately I’ve been feeling that silly sort of guilt that mothers seem to feel in abundance. Surgery this week meant that I wasn’t supposed to cook, amongst other things, so my children had more than their fair share of McDonalds take away. The washing wouldn’t have been done, except that my mother came to help (my husband was back working in Sydney), but everything else went by the by. Food went off in the fridge, fruit grew mould – it’s amazing what can happen in five days! And while all of these are fairly standard, a nagging guilt of mine is that we don’t do enough art with the children. So armed with some free time, I went to Office Works to pick up some blank canvases that were on special. While I was purchasing them, I struck up a conversation with the lady ringing up the purchases (I should probably note that striking up random conversations, with just about anyone, is a talent of mine) During this ramble of a conversation, I happened to mention that the canvases were my way of getting rid of my guilt, for hardly ever doing any art with my children. She then asked if I’d be interested in taking a canvas of their hands, pointing over to a huge canvas sitting against the wall. I realise she continued talking, explaining that it already had a photograph printed on it, she wouldn’t know how good it would be to paint on, or if it was the right sort of canvas for painting, blah, blah, blah – but all I could think was how the canvas was bigger than both my children and how I would be the most awesome mother ever!! Visions of the creations we could make, easily rivalling those of Tara Dennis on Better Homes and Gardens, flashed through my mind. Suddenly I went from guilt-ridden mum to most the awesome mum in the universe. And how frugal of me! This would be a blissful afternoon of fantastic creativity. Of course that is not at all how it went down. But we had fun nonetheless.

We started by putting blobs of paint at various intervals.

We started by putting blobs of paint at various intervals.

Then the children used sponges to smudge the paint and cover up the picture underneath.

Then the children used sponges to smudge the paint and cover up the picture underneath.

After their nap, the paint had dried. We used bold colours to paint over the top of the base paint.

After their nap, the paint had dried. We used bold colours to paint over the top of the base paint.

It helps if you have a scenic view in the background!

It helps if you have a scenic view in the background!

Our finished product. It's no Pro Hart, but it will do.

Our finished product. It’s no Pro Hart, but it will do. I’m thinking about adding hand prints… I’m not sure.

Lessons learnt from our mistakes experience:

1. Paint smocks come in handy. That, or paint in old clothes and throw them in the wash straight after you’ve finished.

2. Paint on the grass so there isn’t any need to worry about cleaning up.

3. Elevate the canvas on old timber so that the grass doesn’t get all over the painting.

4. Pick your day. Wind is not your friend where outdoor art is concerned.

5. Less is more – paint that is. We put way too much paint on the undercoat and it took forever to dry.

6. Layer paint. Start with light or dark colours and then build. This way one art task can also last several sessions.

7. Remember, as much as you want it to look pretty, this is your children’s art. If they love it – it’s great. Once you start making too many suggestions on how it can be ‘improved’ you take the fun out of the experience.

8. Sometimes it’s more about the sensation of paint through your fingers, than it is about the paint getting on the painting.

9. Hang the art work up. Be proud of it. Art at a young age (or any age really) is about experimenting, trying things out, having a go and having fun. We aren’t creating a Picasso masterpiece, more fostering a love of being creative. By showing your children you are proud of what they create, you encourage them to be creative and have a go.

10. Praise the effort, rather than the outcome – then you are more likely to end up with a child who will take risks with their learning and who will ‘have a go’!

And most importantly – have fun!! It’s the ‘fun’ they’ll remember long into their future.

 

If you’re interested in some more ways to live frugally, be sure to check out two of my favourite blogs: Cider Teak as she endeavours to live frugally with her Frugal15 campaign and Weekend Parent who continually devises new ways to save money and make the most of what you already have.

Written by Nadia

6 Comments

Theresa

I absolutely LOVE this! This is a piece of art that will stay with you forever – it has meaning and depth because of how it came to be as much as what it ended up looking like. (And it looks pretty spectacular!)

As for mother guilt – let it go. Really and truly, let it go. Your kids are growing up in a wonderful environment with grass, animals, plants, food, parents who love them, who care for them, and understand them. You are a wonderful mother and they are great kids.

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nadiamc

Yes. My head knows to let go of the guilt… but every so often… the guilt creeps in. Thank you for your sweet words x

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Cristin

What a lucky “find!” Your kids must have loved it. Great finished product, as well.
We have a piece of daddy-daughter art hanging on our wall that I adore, and from that experience, I’d add this lesson: supervise Dad if he’s picking out the paint to make sure your toddler doesn’t get covered in oil paint that will take a week to come out!

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nadiamc

That is great advice. I can imagine my husband doing the same thing! Dad helped with this one, which was lovely. I especially appreciated the help at the end, in getting two toddlers covered in paint, out of their dirty clothes and into clean ones!

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Haidee

I love this, what a great idea! And the finished product is awesome!

As an aside, how come I can’t comment on your blog posts from reader? It’s the only one on my list that I can’t comment or like ūüôĀ

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nadiamc

It was so much fun and I think the size of the canvas definitely took it to another level – I wouldn’t want to have had to pay for that size canvas though!

I’m not sure what you mean by ‘reader’. Thanks for raising the issue. I will look into it!

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