Thursday, February 20, 2014

art together: how to spend a quiet, winter evening at home

I so enjoyed my participation in Heather's Hibernate workshop. So many beautiful ideas to inspire. A lift and a bright spot to look forward to every day. 

One of the projects Heather shared was this idea of finding peace and creativity through free-form drawing or doodling, if you will. (In my pursuit to get more ideas, I've recently found out about the phenomena of "Zentangle". So cool.) How this can become a meditation practice. That this form of expression can be very intuitive, calming, centering, "Zen", and without the protectionist pressure of "having- to- do- it- right" that often hinders many people from exploring and expressing their creative, artistic side.

So Tuesday night when Eliza asked if I could run to the craft store for her, (she was out of white acrylic paint), I took this chance to purchase some of my very own art supplies--a pad of sketch paper, a new pen, and a box of colored pencils. (So happy and amazed when I saw a nice set of German made Lyra pencils on clearance for less than half of what they would normally be. Whoo!!!)

When I got home, I excitedly showed my family what I had bought and told them of my plan " to get back into art". You see, in my youth, art was really my thing. (that, and basketball.) It was my special talent, almost as much as it is Eliza's. I even went on to study art at university. I remain an art lover to this day. Art appreciation is something I can't live without. But over these many years, motherhood's demands left me with a feeling like I had the no time and energy to continue on with my painting, drawing, and sculpting. 

But then, photography entered my life. Something I consider true art, but never, ever felt a pull or saw myself pursuing. But I've come to learn that you just never know how a person can change. I would never believe how much I would change in the last five years. 

Well, Isaac was immediately entranced by all my new supplies and excited about the idea of us cozily doing art together. He ran and got his new set of colored pencils he received for Christmas (that haven't been touched until now.) and we sat at the table for almost an hour drawing together.

I worked on a design of flowers and leaves-- inspired with Heather's wonderful tutorial. Isaac's botanical lean rendered a "meat eater plant". 

I was amazed at how easy and effortless this all came to him. How truly beautiful his drawing turned out to be. He and I both had so much fun. The whole process was such a pleasure to my senses. Something I forgot how much I've missed. I can't remember even the last time I've sat down to draw and color. The simple delight in feeling my ideas just flow. How my mind became still. Just being in the moment of line, form, color.. the sound and feel of the pencil rubbing against the texture and tooth of the paper. 

Tonight, we gathered again at the table. An empty hour before his bedtime. Isaac ran to get our supplies. I lit some candles. We proceeded in silence. (Except for the excited uproar when my sketchpad lit on fire! I guess I was totally absorbed in my work!)

He said more than once how drawing "makes me calm". And "It's the thing that always relaxes, Mom. Kind of the same feeling when I'm playing Legos." 

His drawing ended up becoming a sweet Valentine that he presented to me with a big smile and a hug.  I was happy with my mandala and happy, mostly, for seeing his own happiness.

Both of us left with such a sense of accomplishment, fun, and relaxation. Such a simple activity to share with my child on cold, quiet evenings. A perfect way to be physically near each other, inspire one another's hearts, emotionally connect with our thoughts and conversation. It's something that I hope we both want to continue.

A chance, especially, to give time and attention to my talents that I thought had shriveled and died over twenty years ago, but now only see that they were just lying dormant all this time. 

P.S. Eliza's here looking over my shoulder: "I want to draw with you, too!"


  1. Love all of these drawings...especially the amazing heart your son drew for you. I, too, loved art as a child. Anything creative, I wanted to do it. But as I got older (and told to be more practical) I stopped. Like you, I've found my creative voice lately in photography...but there's nothing like pen and paper. Zentangles are fun...I cut sketch paper into little rectangles 2x3 inches or so and just went for it. I am inspired by your idea of spreading out on the dining table...maybe if I do my son will join in with me too! (He's we'll see :)

  2. How true, doodling is very relaxing, especially when you can do it with the kids, so comforting and intimate. You're doodles look great and I know what you mean about new supplies, so inviting! Your's caught on fire! You make me laugh. I am absoutely not a drawer, but I do love to try to draw. My daughter got one of the zentangle books for christmas and I love looking it over getting ideas to try. I often google or pinterest "doodles" just to get ideas. Its such fun and there are so many talented people out there!