Preach and Practice

When my firstborn was a toddler, he had no interest in arts and crafts. He didn’t want to color and he cringed at finger paints. A part of me was taken aback–didn’t all preschoolers love crayons and paints? And a part of me was a little sad–his Daddy and I loved art.

But we didn’t push it. There were other interests that West was showing skill, such as sports and games.  So like any devoted parents, we encouraged him in those.

Then someone told me, “If you want your kid to read, then you gotta read in front of them.”

This hit home. I knew the message didn’t just pertain to reading. So instead of waiting until nap time to draw in my art journal, I invited West to sit with me at the table while I practiced fonts. On Saturday mornings Michael would doodle or work on a canvas. Soon enough, West asked for paper and pens and colored pencils and markers. He asked for a sketchbook “like Daddy”.

We watched West not only take an interest in this creative expression, but blossom into a good artist. Now he spends “quiet time” almost everyday drawing from tutorials and from his own imagination. He has filled up four big sketchbooks, recently got a Prismacolor colored pencil set like me, and frequently hosts “art shows” where he invites family and friends to view and purchase his drawings.

IMG_9200As parents, we want a rich childhood for our kids, which most of us agree includes imagination and creativity. Kids are naturally wired for this, but sometimes they need some introduction or exposure or encouragement. They need their moms and dads.

What would you love to see your kids doing creatively? You fill in the blank: “If I want my kids to________________________, then they need to see me__________________________.

Warning: you may have to step out of your comfort zone! You may need to be a student right along with your kids. You may need to do some research and prep. But it will be good not only for them, but for you too. If nothing else, you’ll be spending time with your kids, which is priceless.

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Here’s a list of materials and resources that have been a great asset to West’s artistic development:

Art for Kids Hub YouTube–I can’t rave enough about this professional artist/dad who does step-by-step drawing lessons for kids. Link HERE

Pentalic Sketchbook, hardbound–I soon got tired of loose papers all over the house that were too precious to be thrown away. Now West keeps all his drawings in one place, and he can look back on his work and see how much he’s grown. He can also take it anywhere. Amazon Link HERE

Prismacolor Premier colored pencils–48 colors to choose from, good quality, and well-contained in a tin box with organized trays. I use these too. Amazon Link HERE

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One Page at a Time

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There aren’t enough hours in the day to do all the things we want, right? Part of adulting is doing first the things we HAVE to do, then squeezing in the things we WANT to do. Which leaves no room to try new things. Especially if you’re in the middle of raising kids.

When I had my second baby, I was feeling a great lack in my life in terms of having a creative outlet. But between changing diapers, erratic naps, assuaging tantrums, keeping house and the such, I had no time, energy, or even space in our small house to bust out my watercolors or scrounge up a canvas.

Then I found this book of blank paper and started an art journal. It was small, concise, and so not intimidating. It could be slipped into a drawer, moved around the house, and taken on the go.

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I’m on my third one. Whenever I have a little pocket of time I put on some music (Classical Piano for Studying on Pandora is my go-to) and I draw, color, practice fonts, doodle, etc. I keep a board on my Pinterest with inspiration.

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In my art journal, I also write a diary-type summary at the end of each month, recapping the highs and lows and significant things that happened in our lives. It’s an easy way to document these passing years.

Lately I’ve been writing down favorite quotes from books I read so I can go back and draw inspiration from them, or be reminded of key points that impacted me. I guess this art journal has morphed into more of a catch-all for my brain or a Commonplace book, as some call it.

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I’ve learned that to infuse my life with creativity I don’t have to have an art studio. I don’t have to have all the art supplies. And I don’t have to make anything perfect.

Is there a creative outlet lacking in your life? Is there something you’ve always wanted to try? What have you done to weave creativity into your life? Please share!

 

The List

“I’m not a creative person.”

I have heard this a lot. To which I always ask, “Why do you think you’re not a creative person?”

“Well, I can’t draw or paint, or write…”

Ah! Raise your hand if you believe this. Yep, it’s common.

Fallacy #1: Creative Expression is Limited

And usually to the most common forms of art: visual and performing arts, and the written word.

Why is that? Is it because those mediums actually have the word art in their titles?

Is it because those creative expressions are celebrated most in our culture as artistic?

Something to ponder. And while you do, I would like to tear apart this fallacy and look at those common limitations:

  1. Certain creative expressions are only for children (agism here!) like coloring
  2. Certain creative expressions are gender- specific (sexism here!) like crafts and tattooing
  3. Certain creative expressions are only for certain artsy-type people (stereotypes here!)

I want to address each limitation in the future, but for now I want to argue against Fallacy #1 by saying I don’t believe creative expression has limitations! To prove it, here’s a list of creative expressions I’m gonna show case here this year. And I’ve got someone in each vein to interview. My interviewee list includes both men and women of a variety of ages and backgrounds. If you’re not sold on my list, I hope that after hearing from people who exercise their creativity in these fields, you’ll join me in kicking Fallacy #1 to the curb.

Now the first few topics are expected (I want to ease you in:)

Visual ArtIMG_9169

Photography

Crafts

Theatre Directing

Musician

Playwright

Acting

Videography

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Fashion

Jewelry Design

Graphic Design

Interior Design

Floral Design

Cooking

Vocalist

Writing

Teaching

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Repurposing

Homeschooling/Parenting

Horticulture

Independent business/entrepreneur

Inventing

Speaking

This is just the beginning. I hope to add to the list as the year goes on because, after all, creativity is not limited, even to my list.

Take that, Fallacy #1!

PS Chime in with other creative endeavors you want to see on this list, or people you know who you want to highlight on this blog!

Never Say No to the Muse

Facebook.

It has its virtues and vices. I’m not a huge social media junkie, but I like to check in. I “like” pictures of my friend’s kids at the beach, and comment with heart-eyes emojis when my talented sister-in-law posts her photography shoots. Sometimes I indulge in a MagiQuiz to find out how many Disney villains I know.

I never participate in debates, especially about politics or parenting.

BUT–

There was one FB post-turned-debate that was the catalyst for this blog. A friend reposted an ad for an adult coloring class at the library. (Adult meaning for adults–not meaning inappropriate for kids). The comments were mixed:

“Coloring is for children” or “what a waste of time” or “who would go to this?”

My response?

“I could write a lot about the value of creative expression and finding community in that.”

To which my Muse asked me, “Why don’t you?”

So here I am.

This Project will be 12 months long, wherein I’ll interview people who live out creative expression, and chronicle creative endeavors in my own life and in the lives of others.

I hope this is inspiring. I hope this challenges thinking. I hope this renews our minds. I hope this debunks some common fallacies about creativity. I hope this builds community.

If nothing else, this blog will challenge me to put my money where my mouth is…

Thanks to a Facebook post.