Anthony proudly showing off his art, which he hung on the bedroom door.


As I said in my write-up of our museum day last week, I think Botticelli is the greater artist but it was the Matisse exhibit that had me itching to go home and create. Perhaps it’s Matisse’s childlike simplicity. He makes it seem as if art is achievable, while I know I will never paint anything remotely like Botticelli in my lifetime.

So as we left the museum I had two urges and I didn’t know which to pursue first: I wanted to set up a colorful still life of vases and fruits and textiles and sketch it with colored pencils. I was already going through a mental inventory to decide what would look good and be fun to draw. And I wanted to make paper cutouts of organic floral and leaf type shapes and paste them onto colored paper. I could already feel the shapes taking form, the colors and the way I wanted them to dance.


Paper Cut-Out Collages

I didn’t have time to sit down and do anything that day because immediately after we got home I started making chicken curry for dinner. But at the end of dinner I grabbed some scissors and construction paper and spent a few minutes cutting out swoopy shapes. I didn’t have great expectations of my ability to cut, but I did have a fairly clear idea of the kind of shapes I wanted to make. And I was pleasantly surprised at the result.

On Friday after our grocery trip and afternoon stories, I grabbed another hour or so and glued my cutouts onto some paper, but first I colored on top of the construction paper with the side of a crayon, letting the surface of the paper and the table underneath give it a mottled texture. I liked that better than the plain construction paper. I also colored on my squigle shapes.


My four panel creation. Now where do I hang it?


The kids saw me working and asked if they could join in. I gave them paper and some of my squiggles and Bella decided she wanted to try her hand cutting out more shapes while Ben, Anthony, and Lucy, glued shapes onto paper.

I’m not usually a crafty mother. As a rule I don’t design art projects for my kids to do. I provide lots of art supplies and then sometimes lead by example by sitting down with them to draw or paint or make things with clay, but what they make while we work side by side is entirely up to them. Sometimes they imitate me, sometimes they strike out on their own.

Bella loves making her own things. I guess the others like to join in but don’t mind having some direction. Doing this together was a lot of fun, but I’m still not likely to try to organize the kind of craft where kids are supposed to follow a model.


Ben pasting shapes.
Happy Lucy.
Proud Ben.
Lucy had so much fun joining in with the activity everyone else was doing.
Bella cutting shapes.


I invited Sophie to join us, but she was much too busy making a fantastic creation out of blocks, which is a sort of artistic endeavor, too, I suppose. She was very proud of her building, which was a palace, I think.


Sophie’s architectural exploits.


We were all very pleased with our creations and as they finished the kids wanted to hang theirs on the walls. We go through a lot of Scotch tape.


Ben hung his pictures up near the ceiling so he can see them from his upper bunk.
Lucy hangs her picture on the bedroom door.
Lucy hung another picture on the bathroom door.

Still Life

On Saturday morning as we had no other plans, I set up some vases, a striped napkin, and some citrus fruits, Bella added some dandelions and a candlestick. I sat at the end of the dining room table in front of the open door and I drew the still life and colored it in with Prismacolors. I surprised myself with how vivid and realistic my drawing was.


My still life in progress.
My still life, finished.


Bella joined me for a bit and drew the orange and then added a bunch of flowers to make a fantastical garden. I didn’t get a photo.

I have more projects in mind, some more still life, more sketches of art from the museum.

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