Day 4 of Jeff Goin’s 7-day writing challenge, we were to guest post on another website. Amy Farrell of Life adopted and I did a swapsies and we ended up writing along rather similar strains. Read my guest post on her website here. Amy Farrell is a fellow creative. She lives in the lovely mountains of Montana with her identical twins and is a graphic designer. She is also a very talented cook with healthy recipes on her website. Today, she writes about how to connect with your children through a creative activity.
Creating has been my outlet and passion since I was a young child. My mom jokes that I was born with a crayon in my hand. I remember spending hours drawing rainbows, perfecting the horn on unicorns, or watching Bob Ross on television and then duplicating his techniques. I learned embroidery, cross-stitch, cooking, paper quilling, watercolor, acrylics. It was all fascinating and amazing to me, how; with a bit of time and effort, I could create something that didn’t exist in the world before.
When I learned at age 12 that there was an actual profession where I could create all day long and get paid for it, I was elated. It was settled, I wanted to be a graphic designer when I grew up. And here I am, almost 40, still loving to create and loving my career as a graphic designer. (Gratefully, this is one life decision that has been relatively easy for me!)
In my grown up life, I am privileged to be a mom to identical twin boys. Their curiosity about life never disappoints and these boys are pure joy! I will admit though, that since they tend to love doing outdoor things and lots of physical activities, it can be challenging to find ways for me to spend time with them doing things we both enjoy. Creating has bridged this gap for us. I am most at ease, most engaged when I am creating something with someone and I’m so glad my kiddos will readily join me in this space. We have the best, most honest conversations when we are working together on a project.
One particular activity I’d love to share with you has the potential to become a treasured lifetime keepsake. I don’t remember where I saw this idea but when I learned of it, it was one of those moments where I instantly knew, “We haveto do this in our family!” Here’s how it works:
- Buy a package of small pre-stretched canvases (I chose 10” squares like these. You can also purchase bulk lot of stretched canvas of various sizes here.)
- Gather your family and adorn them in art smocks
- Give each family member a canvas, some acrylic paints, brushes, and see what emerges! (You can choose a theme or topic to spark ideas, or simply have everyone come up with their own ideas.)
- Be sure to note (on the back) the artist and date of creation
- Repeat this scenario as often as you like—annually, twice a year, more if you want!
Then (and this is the real genius of this idea), choose a wall in your home where you will display these paintings. As the years pass, your wall becomes full of family paintings—like snapshots in time—but, unlike photographs, these paintings develop straight from each artist’s unique feelings and interests at the time of creation. TIP: This really makes a statement when you always use the same-sized canvases and hang them in a uniform grid pattern. Don’t be afraid to go floor-to-ceiling with your paintings!
When your kiddos are grown and moving out, send each child out into the world with the paintings they’ve created over the years (and maybe even a few that mom or dad created). They hang them in their home on their “Family Wall” and enjoy a piece of something familiar as they adjust to being away from those they love the most.
We began our “Family Wall” about a year ago and I’m excited to create the next row of paintings to keep the memories flowing.
What about you? Do you have any project ideas that help you connect with your children while building memories?