Art and Motherhood

November 7, 2011

I want to share my thoughts on art and motherhood today.  I might be the last person to consider myself an "artist," but art is a big part of my life, and it is especially a big part of my concept of motherhood.  My older daughter and I spend a lot of time together in the "craft room."  (That's what she calls the dining room.)  The times when the baby is sleeping, the house is still, and we sit down together, are times that I really treasure.   

I am constantly learning more about child development, parenthood, and how I make this work for my family.  I will never be in a position to say, "I'm good.  I don't need to learn anything else about raising my children."  I am, however, in a happy place with how art plays into my day to day, and my overall theory on life.  Here are my three over-arching art-life-children themes:

Surround children with beautiful things.

Art is about the process, not the product.

Creative time is together time.

I'd like to think these concepts are pretty self-explanatory.  I'd also like to think my life is a good representation of these ideas.  That's not always the case, but I try to have it be the case. 

Surround children with beautiful things.

Beauty is of course, subjective.  I do think that some things are universally beautiful, like the above picture taken by Mr. Emily in the Canadian Rockies.  We printed it and hung it in the house.  We have other gorgeous landscape shots as well as artwork hanging in the house.  One of my favourites is The Kiss which my daughter calls "Daddy Kissing Mommy."  I think that children can be taught to appreciate art and beauty, and that they should also be taught to discriminate between what is good, and not-so-good quality artwork.

Art is about the process, not the product.

Most of the time, when my four-year-old paints, she ends up covering the whole page in a painty mush.  I'm okay with it, because it doesn't matter what the end product looks like.  It matters that she has had fun - and mashing up the paint is always fun.  I do sometimes times introduce my one year old to art, but these sessions are pretty short.  They usually involve her ripping paper, or putting crayons in her mouth.  Art time should be developmentally appropriate.  I try not to introduce projects that are going to frustrate my kids or be over their heads. 

Creative time is together time.

Although it can be tempting to always set my kids up with some paper and paint and get some work done, I try not to do this very often.  For one, it doesn't work.  My kids need me right next to them.  I also want to show them that art is something that I enjoy too, and that I like being with them.  It is fun to sit down and make something together.  In the photo above, my daughter and I covered a box with paper and decorated it.  Of course, the extreme to the concept of together time is that I could do all of the work, and not let my kids experiment or make mistakes.  I try not to do this either.  We work together.  We both contribute and the end result is mostly fun.

So, what about you?  How does art play into your life concept?  What do you do to introduce children to art and the creative process?


Katie and Van said...

Love this Em--I'm super excited for when Daphne's a little older and can do just a little more. She also enjoys eating the crayons, but is starting to scribble a bit too :) Great thoughts--you are an excellent mama!

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