Over the years, I've collaborated off-and-on with my son to do daily art prompts and encouraged him to make time to make art. He had an art studio on our property that he used to spend hours upon hours in, listening to Harry Potter audiobooks and only coming into the main house to request lunch or a snack. He spent a good many years in that funky little pink building, snuggled up with his stuffed animals and his imagination.
Over time, my art + craft supplies, vintage typewriter(s) & thrifted mid-century furniture have slowly migrated in and out of the art studio on our property and it's served more as a storage area or large creative closet where our supplies have gone to take up residence.
Lately, I think I have taken over that space and kind of squeezed him out. We still call it "his studio," but he prefers to make art at the kitchen table or at my desk in the living room. Actually, neither one of us likes to work in the studio much now - it's stuffy and hot in the spring and summer months; cold and inconvenient in the fall and winter months. Maybe that will change in the future, but I wouldn't bet on it.
The studio is like an extra room we so desperately need to house our "stuff," so that we can visit and revisit when we need tracing paper, to type up a poem and hold the rad vintage chalkboards we purchased at a thrift store and just don't quite know what to do with yet. I digress.
This year has mostly found us around the dining room table making stuff - origami folding; journal drawings; painting; and making maps. As a way to keep us drawing regularly this summer, we embarked on a daily selfie art journal project, inspired by his 6th grade art teacher's in-class project earlier in the school year. The idea was simple - spend 2-3 minutes sketching a picture of yourself every single day. The goal was to not overthink it and switch things up. Think outside the box and spend a little more time, if needed. Basically, bendable rules - which is great when making art.
I like to draw geometric shapes and lines. Portraits are just not my thing, but I went along with it so that we could sit side-by-side at the beginning of every day and talk. Some days it would be a struggle to come up with something and other days it just flowed - like life.
By the end of July, we were both totally over this self-imposed daily assignment and decided to cut it short and draw in our little pocket journal until the end of the month, producing roughly two months' worth of hand-drawn selfies for each of us in our little black book. That's a lot of selfies.
Do any of you do art projects with your kids like this? It's been a really nice way to connect and start the day, but it eventually felt like a punishment. There's no fun in mandatory art and I know this, but we tried anyway. Overall, I'd say we enjoyed the project and it definitely spilled over into other artistic forays we had going on at the time.
Our pages started to reflect our days - Dodgers game on the radio, my sociology project, everyday stresses magnified and represented by my hairstyle(s). All of it went into the images of our selves on paper.
I'm looking ahead to 2016 and hope to come up with a daily art prompt that we both can get excited about that won't be too taxing on us. There's still a few months to let that simmer and enjoy the free-range art-making that's happening around our table.
For now, I'm going to try and soak that up and appreciate the fact that he still likes to sit down and draw with me. I learn so much from him. Always.
The best part? This little keepsake from Summer 2015.