Monday, May 13, 2013

the evolution of a collaboration (with a toddler)

Our little family is getting quite accustomed to creative collaboration (see here, here, here) but making art with 
a nineteen month old toddler is quite the adventure!

We spread out all of our supplies on the floor. I like to have a variety of things on hand- watercolors, markers, 
colored pencils and crayons and I let Lucy pick whatever she wants to work with. Then we both get to work creating.
I try to stay away from showing her how to do things- instead I encourage her to explore the supplies and let her 
direct the process. Typically I will mimic what she does (scribble, paint, splatter, etc) until we have a nice 
messy background. We get into a nice little groove...

but after about 15 minutes things start to get very interesting!

There is drawing on her toes, her legs, and hands and sometimes her face, the floor, then back to the paper, 
her pants, my toes, my hands and then back to the paper.  We get into another groove- this is my favorite part 
because I love a good mess (and have been known to enjoy drawing and painting on myself too). This continues for 
another 15 minutes.

Then I begin to draw over the top of our messy background. This is about the time when she gets restless and 
climbs into my lap.

(FYI messy color and scribbles made by a toddler is a perfect background for doodles and drawings!)

And then she's had enough and climbs onto my back to watch over my shoulder. I can fit in about 10 minutes of 
drawing with her on my back and then it's time to call it quits.

I spend a little time drawing and painting on my own and then I cut up the paper and use it for all kinds of projects- 
this weekend we created Mothers Day cards with it.

The process is not always easy (hello short attention span), nor the way that I typically make art, it doesn't last 
for very long and there is a HUGE mess to clean up but the time spent together is just about the best kind of creative 
fun that an artsy mama could wish for!


  1. Beautiful art you made together!

  2. Love it! I used to put my four under four on one of those cheap plastic backed tartan picnic rugs but upside down. We would have it out on the grass in winter and in on the floor in Summer. (Australia)
    They painted, printed, stamped, play doughed and created many dinosaur worlds on that crusty old rug. Best part was we didn't clean it afterwards although there were some colourful rainbow baths with four of them! My favourites were when they painted each others bodies for hours on end. All very Lord of the Flies!

  3. How cute this is, love seeing you two paint together. The cards came out beautiful!!

    My daughter surprised me with one of your iphone cases yesterday! It's so pretty! Totally made my day getting this! Thanks for sharing your art with us!!

  4. It's a special time together and the pieces you create will be treasured reminders.

  5. Great! You both are an inspiration to each other :-)
    Angie from Germany

  6. oh wouawwww so fun and unique time to share with your daughter...i like the idea...will try it with my grand daughter this summer when i will see her...i suppose that you use supplies for easy to other nice moment...hi hi hi

  7. Anonymous5:56 AM

    Found you from Julie Balzer and SO1 GLAD! Loved your Mom words SO MUCH! Your site is SO INSPIRATIONAL! Thanks, Mary W

  8. What wonderful memories and treasured keepsakes you are making for little Lucy!!

  9. This is amazing. You so easy going with this type deal. I have a 14 mo old boy and im always struggling to find time alone to doodle. I just need to be more like you. Let him get messy, doodle together and just enjoy the procces. You are such an inspiration to me as an artist and a mother. Thanks for sharing :)

  10. Anonymous8:41 AM

    My mom was the best at encouraging creativity and often had "art" time for us growing up. The time you are spending will pay dividends in the future! Lucky Lucy!

  11. Good job, a joy to see, your easy going way.

  12. Anonymous9:51 AM

    Great ideas! What a fun way to spend time together?!?!?!

  13. continue to amaze me with your creativity and your incredible outlook to being such a wonderful mom! Lucy is so lucky to have you!

  14. Ah Bellissimo! You are a beautiful mamma, Happy belated Mother's Day to you!

  15. What an incredible gift you are giving to Lucy. Pupeerawere

  16. You really are an incredible mother, artist and I am sure wife as well. I love this artwork and think these designs would make amazing fabrics.

  17. Miss Lucy is growing day by day. too sweet..:))

  18. Fabulous. Enjoying seeing all your family collaborations

  19. Anonymous4:49 PM

    The cards are absolutely spectacular! So much beauty created by mom and daughter. Thanks for sharing.


  20. livethegoldenrule5:18 PM

    Good job, ladies!! <3

  21. Yay for artsy mamas!! :D xoxo love!!!

  22. I love it! The picture of her coloring her toe nail is priceless :)

  23. This is amazing. You so easy going with this type deal. I have a 14 mo old boy and im always struggling to find time alone to doodle. I just need to be more like you. runescape gold for sale

  24. You rock! It is wonderful that you let her explore and are willing to let the messes be big even though the time spent creating is so short. I did this too and my friends were shocked. They would never bring out supplies as they didn't want to clean it all up. But the fun they missed!

  25. Love this post and the photos of you and Lucy making art. My grand loves to "make art", we've been doing it since she was 1 and she loves coming to my house. First thing she says when she sees me is "mimi, let's make art!". IT is the best fun!

  26. LOVE. Trying to do this with my 23 month old. Her outfit is soo cute -- purple is a great color, my 23 month old has the same coloring.

  27. YES! i dig it. i like the idea of collaborating together her backgrounds with your drawings. i'm glad she loves art too. her mom and dad are both artists. :)

  28. Your post is so beautiful! There is nothing more fun than creating and playing with "stuff" with your young children. I kept a collection of all sorts of fun things to use for collaging, painting, coloring, etc. My 3 girls made lots of messes and had a blast doing it (so did I). And they were free to do it their way, which made for some pretty interesting artwork! By the time my oldest daughter was about 3 to 3 1/2. teachers at her pre-school wanted me to enroll her in private art lessons because they saw she was gifted. I declined, wishing for my child to create freely, without restrictions. She has been artistic all her life as a result. Highlight of her high school career was attending the Governor's School for the Arts (design was her area of interest). She then studied design for architecture in college. You never know what all that fun with creativity will lead to, so keep it up! Thanks for sharing the great photos.

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  30. These photos are totally PRICELESS! Especially the one of Lucy painting her toe with the marker!! Love it.

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  32. I LOVE this post. Precious! My son and I made Christmas post cards in a similar fashion one year when he was not much older than your daughter. He is 26 now!

  33. So sweet. I recently used my 14 month old's finger paintings in a project and it was so much fun. If I could draw worth a crap I would totally do this. Thanks for sharing.

  34. That is such a fun idea. You both look like you really enjoyed the process. I imagine this activity will increase her appreciation of art, knowing that her Mama loves it too.

  35. I absolutely love this. Wonderful idea for engaging your toddler. This really inspired me! Thank you :)

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