Thursday, April 24, 2014

creating with a kid

Becoming a mom has been one of the most inspiring and profound things to happen to me as an artist. And the older Lucy gets, the more fun it is to share all kinds of creative experiences with her. While I am not an expert I have been creating with this kid since she was born and over time and lots of trial error, I continue to discover new ways to foster her creativity. Once in a while I like to share some of my favorite tips and insights about creating with a kid and with mothers day right around the corner I thought it would be appropriate to share some more of my favorite tips for creating with a kid!

As I have mentioned in the past it is important for both my husband and I to include Lucy in as many creative projects as possible. At 2.5 years old this kid has witnessed me making art every day since she was born. And while it makes no difference to us if Lucy grows up to be an artist, we do want her to be a creative thinker. We feel that including her in our daily art-making process is one the best ways we can teach her to do this! 

Making time to be creative is so important for anyone at any age. Even even though I make art for a living, we have a busy life and still have to find ways to structure time for creating with a kid. The way that works best for our family is incorporating Lucy into the projects that we already have to tackle. If I am heading to the studio, I take her along. If my husband is working on a drawing project, he sets her up with her own drawing project.  Over time she has become very accustomed to participating in creative tasks and loves making art along side of us. 
I am not gonna lie, I struggle at times with patience when I am creating with Lucy. Letting a toddler be expressive and go wild with paint and art supplies is INTENSE and can be really frustrating and messy. But the practice of letting go and giving her creative freedom while enforcing some boundaries, is slowly making me a more patient person and a better mom. I know she won't be a toddler forever and some day (maybe) she won't try to paint the couch or draw on the cabinets or spray me in the face with water. Until that day comes I will continue to try and be as patient as possible!

While it would be really easy to show Lucy exactly how to pick colors or mix paint or draw a flower, I believe one of the most important gifts I can give her is the freedom to think and create independentlyYes, there are times when I have to fight the urge to correct or make something for her but I always try to limit showing Lucy the "right ways" to create. As an artist, I know all too well that there is only one time in your life that you are truly independent and free from expectations and rules in creativity and that is when you are kid.

While it is easy and pretty standard to hand your kid a box of crayons and a piece of paper, I say mix it up and try letting them create with different materials and supplies. We will draw and paint on anything- from cardboard boxes to noodles to rocks and sticks to old furniture to paper of all sizes. The result is that Lucy gets crazy inspired and excited about trying something new like painting inside of a shoe box or drawing on a leaf and spends a lot more time exploring new materials.

This is a little easier for me because I am a messy artist and when I am creating I need to get swept up in the moment and let the mess happen. With that said, there is no mess like the mess that a toddler makes- but embracing the process and giving your child permission to explore materials and get messy is a wonderful way to foster and encourage creativity. I use drop cloths and old sheets to cover anything and everything that could get messy.

Collaboration with a toddler is much easier said than done (hello patience) but working with Lucy on the same surface has been a process that has helped both of us learn from each other. I like to keep a couple of large canvases around that we always work on together. The paintings in the photos above are pieces that she and I have been slowly working on together for the last year. We layer, draw, scribble and paint over things. She knows when we show up at the studio that these paintings belong to both of us and always grabs my hand and leads me over to paint together.

In our family it is important for us to have a lot of supplies on hand. I keep paper, crayons, paint and pens in just about every room of the house (and in plain site) because I know at any given moment one of us will may have the urge to create. When the moment strikes you gotta take advantage- I want Lucy to know that if she has the desire to create she can grab her things and get going! You can read about my favorite supplies for kids HERE

The most important advice I can give is to have fun creating with your kids. Making time to share the joy that comes with the creative process is one of the best gifts you can give to a child!

This post is collaboration with the Creative Council by UGG Australia
Photos by Alisa Burke and Andy Gunthardt
My shoes: Cayha Woven  Lucy's Shoes: Aubry Metallic

P.S. I am SUPER excited to share that I have designed some exclusive Mother's Day greeting cards for UGG Australia stores! The cards will be an accoutrement to any in-store purchase over $100 from May 1st- May 11th. Head on over HERE for more information!


Virginia said...

Truly inspiring post always!

Patricia said...

What strikes me is that both of you shoes are clean.
Lucy is already a real artist. It's nice that you can enjoy it together.
Even though it is a big mess. The fun and creativity that you share together is great!!!

Unknown said...

Я восхищаюсь Вами и каждый день слежу за блогом! Сегодняшняя Ваша статья - отличная идея книги для родителей.Столько материала полезного!Фотографии супер!:)

Nela said...

I can't believe they dubbed you a "mommy blogger" hahaha! I mean you mention Lucy often, but you're not exactly a typical mommy blogger and I would've never thought of you that way. In any case, these are great tips and I hope to remember them when I procreate! :D

Michelle Knight said...

Lucy is a very lucky kid!

Anonymous said...

I was in the first Inspired class that you announced for the first time you were pregnant, lol. I will never forget how happy ... and a bit nervous... you were. Looks like you are doing wonderfully! And she is such a pretty girl ... and quite an artist.

Amelia Woodbridge said...

A great post to remind us all to stay creative everyday.

linda said...

thank you for these posts! my boy is just over 1 year old and I'm still learning how to create together... one thing I have learned is that schedules don't work... I have to go with his flow!

Johanne said...

It brings back memories to see your creative duo. Art as always been part of my life and I enjoy sharing it with my two children who are now young adults.

Inviting them in my world of creativity has helped them to develop their own creative ability. They never cease to surprise me! It's an ongoing adventure.

If you're interested, here is our latest family project

Cheryl Ruffing said...

I love your efforts and determination to keep the creative doors open for Lucy, especially since our society and educational system are so good at closing them. Have your ever read Out of Our Minds by Ken Robinson or checked out any of his TED talks? He's passionate about encouraging creative thinking.

Christie - Fine Lines said...

What beautiful memories you and Lucy are creating. Just think, 10 years from now, when you look at those collaborative paintings, the memory of creating them together will be right there with you!!

Ingrid Orens said...

I don't have any children, but your post is oh so familiar to me... When you describe how you raise Lucy, you describe my youth ! And feel assured - when she grows up, she will always be grateful for how you raised her ! (Via this way : thanks mom & dad, for me, you are truly fantastic...)

Ps lovely photos of Lucy !

Unknown said...

It's so fantastic that Lucy gets to live at creative life right from the get go. I didn't discover my creative side until I was older and can't imagine what life would have been like discovering it as young as Lucy. Keep up the great work!!! Love your blog - it's my go to!!

DebiKibbee said...

Lucy is absolutely adorable!! and such a lucky little girl to have such supportive and creative parents.

Unknown said...

Super inspired and encouraged by this post!! An error keeps coming up on your link to your favorite kids supplies though... Would love to read that :)

Julie Arthur // said...

You've mentioned several times that you like to give her freedom and independence... I'm just curious about your thoughts on when to start teaching her techniques? I realize it's important to let her develop her own style... but are you ever going to teach her techniques for drawing, painting, etc? I know that no matter how expressive I am, I always feel limited because I never learned how to draw proportions, depth, certain angles, watercolor vs. acrylic techniques, etc. I'm not trying to be critical of your philosophy, I am truly curious as to if/when you would feel like you need to incorporate that with Lucy.

irene said...

What a fortunate child Lucy is! I admire you for allowing your daughter to be a part of your creative life. Not just the creative aspect - but spending everyday with you. I'm sure it is definitely hard at times - but is worth it in the end. Not many children get the opportunity to become a "creative thinker" in our world today.

Anonymous said...

I tried your donut recipe, very good! I did not have any yogurt so added a little more milk. I frosted with Nutella, good! I all so like cream cheese mixed with powder sugar. I like your drawings of flowers and love your flower wall. Thanks for all your emails. Kathryn O

Julie said...

I loved seeing this because it brought back wonderful memories of "playing art" with my then toddler. I always thought when she said "playing art" that it was fantastic because that's what it is. It's not a chore. It's fun. She is now 12 and not as into creating as she was but she remembers making things with mom which is the best part for me. So glad you shared this with everyone because it really is one of the best things you could do with your child.

Jo Murray said...

Lucy is such a lucky child...and gorgeous! To spend your childhood immersed in a creative atmosphere must be the best gift you could possibly give her. said...

Hi Alisa. You are doing such a good job. I love what you both create.

I do try to do often art with my nearly 3 years old girl.I love painting with my daughter, especially sometimes because of the ideas she has.

Alisa how do you manage to deal with the mess and the waste(emptying one bottle of paint in one go) toddlers always make, especially over painting and turning everything brown?

Thank you for great post!

Love you blog!

Aidel Knaidel said...

Thank you for the inspiring advice! I find myself being jealous of Lucy. Also--I clicked over from Pinterest where the small photo there looked to me like Lucy's hair had been chopped off!! I had to come check. It's very cute. :-)

Jeannie said...

The only thing my mother taught me to do creatively was how to outline with a crayon so I wouldn't color outside the lines. My Grandmother, on the other hand, would have been at home in your studio. We painted rocks, tree fungi, leaves, sewed, knitted, etc. The freedom I learned from G. Rose has taught me again as an adult to play. Thank you for reminding me. The art you create with Lucy is going to benefit us all with a woman who is not afraid to try. :)

studioGypsy said...

LOVE!! :) thank you for being such an inspiration to all of us and us moms especially!! i am braver with my kids/art because of you.. xoxo

TwinkleToes2day said...

Such a pretty, pretty wee girl.
Love the photo's of you together. How lucky she is to have such a space to work relatively freely in. Not so easy in a wee house, lol. It does stifle creativity, my wee does get fed up with my, 'no not theres' *sigh*. Roll on the fine weather when we can take it outdoors. Than you for the inspiration :)

Unknown said...

Hey Alisa,

Love your art. They are inspiring as always. Have given an honorary tribute to all the artists I follow in my blog, yourself included. See here:

Thanks a lot again :)

Sue Marrazzo Fine Art said...

So Inspiring...I teach YOUTH ART!
Kids are so free, and it is very FUN to see!

Raine said...

I LOVE the look on Lucy's face in the first photo! The girl's got attitude! SO adorable! She's so fortunate to have such creative, talented and adventurous parents.

Unknown said...

Beautiful! I love art! It is my life ♥

Mary Firth said...

It's really wonderful to read and see how you make art with Lucy! I think so many parents are afraid they'll make mistakes. Years ago, I taught a series of parent and child workshops at an art gallery. The hardest thing at the beginning of each series of classes was to convince the parents that it's okay to make a mess. The loveliest thing was that after a session or two in the art gallery's classroom, where we could make messes to our hearts' content (and clean up later, of course), the parents really GOT that the mess part actually contributes to feeling loose and experimenting.

Miriam Schulman said...

Your outfit was a must include for my Fashion Fridays round up if stripes with denim overalls. (thank goodness they are in style!) see it here with a link back to you.

clgnmoon said...

Alisa, great writtings, now if only our schools would bring back programs for the kids. Love what your doing hear what your giving Lucy is a life time of knowledge to go with her all through her life no matter what she chooses and both parents just wonderfull
Have a great day,

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