End of summer art project

My Journal

School starts next week.  And I am not ready to return to routine.

I feel that way every August.  I just want a few more lazy weeks with my children.

And they are not really children anymore.  Wyatt will be a senior and Paige a sophomore.

We spent many summers next to the sea.  And about six summers when they where younger sleeping on the sea on a boat.  There were lots of magical times.

And this summer was especially magical because I realize how quickly time passes.

How quickly children grow up to be young men and women.

end of summer art project

I was thinking that as summer winds down, you probably have a folder of two full of art from the past school year. Or from many school years. Maybe your child is all grown up and you have piles or drawers full of colorful art.

Get it all out. Then do the unthinkable.

Rip them up. Save the the parts that speak to to you. The faces.  The flowers.

Take out the Mod Podge.  And a deep edge stretched canvas. And a paintbrush. Make a collage.

Our walls may not be big enough to hold all the paintings our children have created.  But I promise, they are big enough to hold pieces of them.

I made four thick canvases filled with my children’s artwork a few years ago. Here is one below. Each canvas has pieces of both my son and my daughter.  Side by side.

Together.  But very separate. So like them.

end of summer art project

My friend Jenelle visited me over the winter and was inspired by all of my children's artwork framed and hung in our home.  She did this project with her son Sam.

Jenelle is an artist, an activist and a revolutionary.  She is going to save the planet and our souls and teach us all how to reuse creatively. Here is her website.

I know.  Brilliance.  We were destined to be friends.

We met on twitter, through Oh My Handmade Goodness and this winter was the first time we meet in real time. We went on a short road trip and had a sleep over. Both of us walked away inspired by each other’s energy and creativity. Jenelle returned home and worked on this canvas with her son Sam.  A collaboration.

end of summer art project

I asked her to share her experience.  Here is what she had to say...

"I seek refuge in art- no matter what emotion. I've always found it rewarding to create as an extension of my expressions. It was only natural that when I had children of my own, it wouldn't be long before they have edible finger paints or chunky crayons in hand. Not only is it a great activity for developing coordination, sensory, and experimentation- but it's very important to me to nurture their minds and encourage creativity and innovation.

Needless to say I have an extensive collection of fine art- I dare say it’s curated because to me each scribble is cherished memory.

Not long ago I visited Colleen, at her beautiful home, nestled along the banks of the Delaware River in Bucks County.

Inside (as you might imagine) is filled with joyous colors, cherished works of art, and her family wrapped me in a blanket of love. Some of the art displayed in her home was made by her own children: carefully matted and framed, clay sculptures peer off shelves, and textile animals entice you to cuddle in every corner of their home.

I admired each and every line, the color choices, and characters- imagining what thoughts might've been going through their minds, imagining what the world appears like through their eyes. Colleen captured, preserved, and honored their childhood journey through these big and small works of art- and I was inspired to do the same.

When I returned home to my own family, my fridge and kitchen cabinets adorned with doodled art- I thought about ways I could share this and do it in a way that shows them (my boys) know how special their work truly is.

I gathered all of the folders full of past art projects done at home or at school- and began thumbing through them.

Paper work inside included a single wobbly marker line across a page, dated 6/2006: Sam was 7 months old. He's now 7 years old. One project stuck out at me- its a drawing of Sam in lightning storm with pencil scribbled words "I feel brave in a storm." I pulled this from a folder labeled 'kindergarten' and felt inspired. (And a little bit mushy inside too: because I hope he forever feels brave in a storm). 

This became our project. Sam and I reminisced on the artwork inside- so many stories to share. Like when he became infatuated with super heroes at age four- everything had a cape or bad guy involved. Earlier this year for a home school project he painted the weather... freeze-framing the temperature Doppler on TV, he painted this amazing watercolor portrait. We began collaborating on this collage project- it features art of his from 7 months to 7 years.

The finished canvas measures 36 inches X 36 inches and revolves around this theme of weathering a storm.

Paint and glittery fire, water color paintings cut into rain drop shapes, torn magazine collages, tissue paper hearts, and even an Orco (character from He-Man Masters of the Universe) there to save the day. Just like the epic transformation and healings of Colleens altered notebooks- we were navigating these memories together, and I'm so thankful for Colleen’s friendship and inspiration- for allowing me to share this creative journey- it is so special to me and will always be a cherished memory and possession."

We have all the pieces already.  We just need to get them out and let them speak to us.
When you do, your walls will sing.
*ps.  Please share how you preserve those sweet pieces of your children's art and soul.  And if you make a collage, I would love to hear about it. xo

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