© 2019 by Ruth Oosterman

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COLLABORATIONS WITH MY TODDLER
 

As we get older we tend to create this box that everything is supposed to fit neatly into, all of our ideas and goals in life are according to some sort of plan.
As a child there is no box. It is just endless freedom to explore any and every possible avenue of creativity and adventure. Although children look up to us for guidance and instruction, it is equally as important that we take time off from our busy lives to just sit and listen to them, no matter how strange their ideas may seem.

Through collaborating with Eve and Theo, they are teaching me how to paint all over again and I treasure this bonding experience more than words can express. To follow our journey, find out more about our process and the way Eve and Theo are involved with every piece's creation, head over to "The Mischievous Mommy" blog.

 

Whether you feel you are an artist or far from it, please do not ever forget the beauty of two minds combining in order for one creation to come into existence. The end product is never the ultimate goal but rather the journey in getting there, allow yourself to try it one day. 

 

Find someone younger or older and commit to exploring and creating an absolutely unique painting, song, drawing (you name it) by way of collaborating. There are endless ways to do so and you will discover so much about yourself, about your partner and not to mention the bond you create will last forever!

 

 

Don't forget to watch the Time Lapse Videos that show our collaborations being created on our YouTube Channel

"It may be hard to let go but that is the beauty in collaborating. It is going on a journey with someone else and taking turns holding the reins with no judgement or criticism, and simply being open to any and all possibilities."

Prince of the Wild

04.04.2019

Although I saw a variety of things at first, like an elephant, I had to let go of certain ideas as it is a collaborative piece and my goal is to include as many original lines and shapes that Theo creates. Whenever we collaborate I try to maintain as much of the original work which forces me to think outside of the box and my comfort zone and let it be inspired by the child's personality rather than my vision.

Theo is a wild child of nature with the biggest heart for animals and in another world, I could totally see him surrounded by creatures of all shapes and sizes who adore him almost as much as he would love them 

Learn to Soar

01.15.2019

The little boy did not know how to swim but he did know how to fly 🎈
So he struck a deal with the whale,
"Teach me how to swim and I'll show you how to soar," said the boy.
And so he did...

 

Whenever I collaborate with my children I focus on maintaining the integrity of their work by using the original lines and shapes created by them and using their personalities as inspiration. Theodore is such an adventurous spirit full of laughter and character and a fascination for flying and animals that it was easy to see his personality shouting from the painting.

Guardian

07.26.2018

This particular collaboration between my two-year-old, Theodore, and myself is one of my favorites because the balance was found. It has been an ongoing learning experience to fully understand and grasp the delicacy of this art form and the "Guardian" portrays all of Theo's original work and vision. He told me he was painting water and his brushstrokes created the entire foundation for the story, using watercolors and his linework I was able to intertwine my vision and his personality. 

 

Theo is by far one of the happiest go lucky children and I am so blessed to be his mother. He wears his heart on his sleeve and from the get-go has been what I call a caretaker or in other words, a guardian. When someone around him is being harmed he is there arms crossed ready to defend, if there is an ant in his way you'll see him kneel down and herd it to "safety." Wherever we are Theo will come and hug me to check in almost every 20 minutes on the dot, watching and guarding those he loves. The level of empathy I see in him inspires me to be better, to forgive quicker than I am to judge, to become a guardian of the world just as he is.

Be Home For Dinner

01.25.2018

One of my favorite aspects of collaborating with my children is stepping into their shoes to imagine the adventure they would go on if they could. I have no doubt if Theo ever became friends with an extraterrestrial creature he would dream up ways to go travel with his new friend. I imagine him yelling, "I'll be home for dinner" as he runs out the front door off to find a way to fly.

Fierce Friends

11.20.2017

Both of my children are obsessed with cats but while Eve adores the domestic kind Theodore is really into wild cats, you know the ones that could eat you. When I showed him the final painting he began to laugh and proceeded to spend the next hour roaring... non-stop. 

It has been an amazing journey watching Theodore's progress with painting and I am amazed at his ability to mix colors and use very specific paint strokes. Theodore and Eve are so different in their artistic techniques and skills, which keeps me on my toes when collaborating with either of them.

My Little Moonlight

10.09.2017

Theodore LOVES bunnies. 

 

He squeals in delight every time he sees one (along with dogs and cats) and in his painting, I could see a little bunny with long ears. A faint paint stroke above it gave me the shape for the mother rabbit's face and the two circles below became her back and puffy tail.

 

From the beginning, I have called Theodore my moonlight, while Eve is my sunshine. This collaboration represents the bond I have with Theodore, my little moonlight, inspired by our two years of night wakings and intense sleep deprivation. 

 

It was only about a week or two ago Theo began consistently sleeping through the night (knock on wood) and our endless foray of 2 AM partying has ended. Two years of seeing his adorable grin begging me to play while all else is still, night after night, hours upon hours, ended up creating a bond between the two of us. He takes after the night owl in me and in this painting I see the two of us on one of our many midnight adventures staring up at the sky.

 

Just the two of us, me and my moonlight, Theodore.

Firefly

07.15.2017

"Firefly" - By Theodore and Ruth Oosterman

The boy always wished that one day he would have a dog and on the night he saw his first shooting star he whispered this dream out loud. His faith was so strong he threw his favourite red ball as far as he could and told his mother he would not leave that spot until the ball returned with his wish.
The stars heard his earnest call and whispered to the fireflies for them to use their magic to bring the young boy's dream to life. The fireflies gathered together under the moonlit sky where the ball had landed among a pile of white rocks.


As the fireflies circled the shining rocks began to float and dance together melding into the form of a small puppy.


The boy sat for hours, begging his mother for just one more minute for he knew the stars would not let him down. He understood the power of faith under a night's sky and the magic held within the dusky hours that follow a sunset.


A small sound coming from the bushes in the direction the ball had flown caused the boy to catch his breath. Before he even knew what was happening a small ball of white fur came crashing down on him smothering him with wet kisses.


In joyous wonder he realised that sitting in front of him was his new best friend, his wish come true. It had to be the whitest dog he had ever seen, in fact, it almost seemed to the boy as if the wiggling creature in front of him was glowing like a firefly.


And so he named him, Firefly.

A Mother's Embrace

01.15.2017

The minute Theodore finished his painting I couldn't see anything but a little boy looking up with a hat shoved over his eyes. I felt drawn to this little boy and soon I envisioned myself wrapping my arms around an older Eve and Theodore to keep them warm on a cold day.

 

Collaborating with anyone is a very delicate process as it is very easy to overdo your portion and take away from your co-creator's. Although I could see more details, originally wanting them to be in a busy city filled with people walking by, I realised less is more. Theo's brush lines are so lovely and speak for themselves so I kept the background very light with a snowy sledding hill in the distance covered in pine trees. All of his sweeping paint strokes made it seem as if the wind was playing with their coats pulling at them to go play but their mother kept them warm from the biting cold

Best Friends

12.23.2016

My little man, Theodore, is now 15 months old and quite the rambunctious ball of energy. He is sweet and shy but man does he fly across the room, climbing anything and everything he possibly can. While Eve and Theo are similar in many ways they definitely differ in this area with her being calm and focused, perhaps it is just the age difference.

One of the few moments he is quiet and calm is when he paints. Eve has taught me so much over the last 2 and a half years and one of the most important lessons is that no one is ever "too young" to paint (or too old!) Theo started painting at 13 months with brushes and watercolors, earlier than Eve did, his fine motor skills are already allowing him to hold onto even the smallest of brushes. T

his has opened the door to a whole new world and it is incredibly exciting to watch his developing passion for creating and experiencing the paint. This passion and raw need to feel the textures and paint slide across the surface is such an inspiration for me and I am so blessed to witness both Eve and Theo create. I don't have just one muse, but two now.  

This collaborative piece titled, "Best Friends," was inspired by Theo's deep love for dogs and what I think he will look like in a few years. The minute Theo sees or hears a dog, whether in person, a video or picture, he literally drops everything and comes running at full speed. He even says,"Awww," and begins to pet the air even if there is no dog around, it melts my heart every time.

Embrace the Chaos

02.02.2016

"Embrace the Chaos" is the latest painting created by collaborating with my three year old, Eve.

Everyone has their own story, some seem cursed with tragedy while others seem to have life perfected. I have to come to know this to be an illusion, we all have difficulties and burdens to bear, each unique as our stories. I understand that no burden is worse than another's, for even though they appear to be made up of different weights, they all weigh the same. It is important to acknowledge that others may have it worse, but in the same breath, remember not to belittle your own struggles. For they are just as heavy to you even though they may appear lighter to others.

Eve has been crucial to these epiphanies. She has shown me more than ever the importance of slowing down and listening to children, witnessing their passion for life. They see life in a way that has yet to be biased and warped by life's painful lessons, they see it purely as it is. Eve has taught me time and time again, one of the most important lessons of all.

EMBRACE THE CHAOS

The chaos will never disappear. To get through tough times we often think that what ever is over the hill will be better, easier. Most often it isn't, which only discourages us further, because to get through what we just went through we were holding out for better. What we really needed to do was to, "Embrace the Chaos." Embrace your trials and tribulations for what they are, they are the badges of a life lived. We can either bury the wounds created in a place where they will continue to fester and slowly blacken our minds and souls with negativity and self pity. The other option is to experience and accept what has happened so scars may grow from the healing process. Each scar is a badge of beauty, a story line of our soul that shows an acceptance of our trials and tribulations. These scars will serve as a reminder not only to ourselves, but those around us, that every day we have a choice. 

The choice to CHOOSE chaos. To CHOOSE happiness.

Happiness is a choice. Some of the happiest people I know are those who have gone through the most. The difference between them and everyone else, is that they refuse to be the victim. They refuse to let life's tragedies pull them under, they have embraced the chaos and have become it's master. 

Princess and the Pea

01.25.2016

Eve painted the original watercolor and when she was all finished Ruth continued to use watercolor paints and ink to create the picture above.

Sea Monster

12.18.2015

Eve and I created a story as we painted "Sea Monster," and it has become one of her favorite stories. Collaborating through stories is so simple yet amazing, you just begin a story and pause at the end of every sentence to let them incorporate a new aspect. Between the two of you, you direct the story through many different pathways to create something completely unique. It reminds me so much of the story games you play in camp when you are little.

The painting began as most of our recent pieces do, with a simple pencil sketch. I always ask Eve what colors we should use and she pours them out of the tubes onto the palette. After a year of collaborating I have discovered the best way to keep her incorporation at the forefront without taking it over, which is sometimes very easy to do. It is difficult to balance what you put in to ensure it doesn't overpower your partner's work. What I have begun to do is wait for her to put color down, then I will take a wet paintbrush to dab some of the color and use that to paint with. This way I am not introducing any new or distracting colors, it is all Eve's color scheme. My favorite part of this piece was her dark purple clouds and large blue waves and for her I know she loves painting in all the little fish.

Adrift

11.18.2015

"Adrift" is the latest painting created by collaborating with my three year old, Eve. As each day passes her passion for painting only grows and she continues to teach me in ways I could never have imagined. The simple act of her allowing me to see through her eyes is the most priceless of gifts, I am incredibly grateful.

 

I had a sketch that I was going to paint using watercolor when Eve decided she wanted to join me. I let her choose the colors and I used a wet paintbrush to pick up what she put down and guide it to where I wanted. After a while she decided to move on to something else and we left it to dry, later that day I went back to add the details. "Adrift" reminds me of the elusive daydream that teleports you to lands unknown, the moment your eyes just glaze over and you completely disappear from time.

Mr. Hare

11.10.2015

I was sketching out a hare when Eve decided she wanted to help me paint it. Since she has always been excited for me to collaborate with her work I understand the importance of letting her do the same to mine. Although I am her parent and she is my child, when it comes to creating I see us as equals and treat her as such. I hope by treating her as my artistic equal, to build up her concept of teamwork, sharing and to ensure her artistic confidence is never shaken and only increases. 

 

Eve and I painted in the hare as we sat across from each other, turns out painting upside down is not nearly as easy as it looks! With all of our watercolor paintings, Eve determines our color palette and I use a wet brush to spread out the colors she has already applied. This way her contribution to the collaboration becomes the foundation for the entire piece and the beautiful, magical world of her young mind becomes the inspiration and direction.

A Mother's Love

08.20.2015

This is a large piece that Eve created using her feet and watercolors almost a year ago. I had started collaborating with it but things got hectic and it was put aside and buried. The original inspiration had come from staring at her footprints and seeing how fast she was growing, as much as I loved watching her become the amazing person she is, it is hard to let go of that baby stage.

Well, almost one year later and with a baby due any day now... the motivation to finish the piece suddenly appeared and it has began to take form. I may leave it as is or play with it a bit more, but I don't want to take away or cover any of those precious little footprints. Perhaps the only addition it needs is a few new footprints from a little baby coming soon!

Into the Wild

08.15.2015

"Into the Wild" started off with Eve and I playing around with some acrylic on a wooden panel and slowly morphed into a new collaboration. I had broken out a bunch of plastic utensils with the intent to show Eve how to create texture and patterns using tools other than a paintbrush. Although at first  intrigued, she quickly explained she would rather just use a paintbrush and I had to leave it at that. As a parent you quickly learn that lessons are better learned when the desire is present, forcing knowledge is the quickest way to turn them off of something! 

This led to me playing around with a plastic knife, mixing colors Eve had picked, to create the grass at the bottom. As with most of our collaborations I had no idea where this one was headed but something seemed strikingly familiar about it! As the paint dried and the more I stared, I saw a similarity to "Under the Red Birch Tree," and a forest grew before my very eyes. The inspiration for this piece had been so clearly laid out through Eve's wonderful strokes of paint and the stories we have been creating together.

 

The addition of the young girl letting go of butterflies was inspired by a story Eve and I made up together where a princess, named Eve, saves an entire forest from certain doom. 

Edge of the Earth

08.06.2015

It is has been quite some time since Eve and I collaborated using one of her Black Pen drawings so I thought I would give it try. These collaborations can be a little tricky since the pen marks immediately begin to bleed when water touches them. While it can allow for beautiful and spontaneous effects, it also creates a fine line between collaborating with her drawing and the ink bleeding into invisibility. It's a line I am still learning the dance to, I love collaborating with her and always want to make sure her work is represented, which is one of the reasons we began searching for new ways to collaborate

 

The longer I stared at this drawing the more I saw a ship begin to form. Something about it reminded me of a broken ship headed to the edge of a waterfall, perhaps even the edge of the earth.

Growing up one of my absolute favorite books to read was the Narnia series, I couldn't get enough of them. I had flashbacks to the adventures of Prince Caspian out at sea searching for the seven lost lords of Narnia in "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader." This adventure filled quest came to an end when their final task required them to sail to the edge of the earth and leave one crew member behind. They sailed through all sorts of enchantments and trickery in order to reach the edge where the water became so shallow the ship could go no further, and dear Reepicheep, the mouse, continued on alone.

That beloved story became the inspiration for this piece as I imagined Prince Caspian's mangled ship sailing out of a cloud of enchantment only to find themselves literally at the edge of the earth.

The Paperback Princess

07.24.2015

As I'm sure you may have guessed from the title, Eve's most recent favorite book would be the beloved classic, "Paper Bag Princess." It includes two of Eve's treasured characters, a Princess AND a Dragon, it doesn't hurt that the princess is finally saving a prince and not the other way around.

As we painted side by side, I let Eve decide what colors to use (pink and indigo) and it just took off. Other than a basic portrait sketch I had drawn there really was no plan for this piece other than having fun, I find anytime I DO have a plan it is quickly derailed by Eve's imagination. As I am still learning to embrace this wildly, unpredictable aspect to collaborating with my toddler, I have realized no plan equals less frustration and leaves me with an open mind.

Eventually, Eve decided to move on and return back to the painting she had been working on earlier that morning. She had discovered my bag of old, ripped book pages and was gluing them to her piece when she decided our collaborative painting was clearly missing some.
Within minutes, she had decided it was also missing two arms (the lines she drew on either side), a purse on the left arm, a necklace and of course a crown which she asked me to draw. She would later add her final touches using more pencil.

The Siren's Song

07.08.2015

With the most recent of our collaborations, Eve has been helping me "color" in a sketch using watercolors. I love being able to paint side by side with her as opposed to taking turns, to me it really enhances our bonding experience. However, I have also discovered that the pieces we create this way end up being much darker than our other pieces. For example, the Moon Bear, is a bright, moonlit children's illustration and the Red Boat is a simple landscape that holds the potential of a story.

The Siren's Song and Red Lips both come across as much darker, intense art pieces, especially with their lips painted over, courtesy of Eve. The Siren's Song, to me, represents a darker version of Eve's happily ever after story... something more similar to a Grimm's fairy tale. Instead of being rescued the mischievous mermaid uses her beautiful, siren-like voice to lure would be rescuers, into the octopus' lair, to certain doom. Until one day a King falls into the trap and his brother, an artist, comes to his rescue. He finds a way to take away and sacrifice his hearing forever in order to get past the mermaid's enchanting voice and avenge his brother. The artist captures the mermaid and uses his paint, doused with magic, to forever paint over her lips so she may never use her deadly voice again.

And that is how the name and story for this piece came to be.

Red Lips

06.24.2015

 I have loved being able to connect with Eve on such an intense, creative level that has bonded us in ways I never thought possible. Along with those priceless memories there has been an invaluable amount of teaching and guidance, from Eve. She has taught me how to accept my "mistakes" as part of the artistic process, to see and use colors in ways I never thought possible and most of all patience.

When we were painting "Red Lips"I , ironically, had to keep mine zipped shut. (which is not an easy feat for me) When I saw her take the red paint and cover up the lips followed by using black (her favorite color) all over the face I felt myself cringe. As an artist you can have such a clear cut idea of what you want that it is easy to forget and ignore all of the other amazing possibilities, she is my constant reminder of what could be. I kept my mouth firmly shut and continued to paint at her side, reminding myself that she sees things in ways I never could or will.

I am so thankful I kept my big mouth shut. Although it was far from my original vision, the painting was miles beyond what I thought possible in all the best ways. Eve made this piece sing with color, energy and passion in ways I couldn't, just by using her beautiful and creative mind.

 

Sisters

6.9.2015

This watercolor collaboration began when Eve was two years old and was such an adventure for both of us! We were just beginning to explore how different colors mixing together create new ones when I decided to show Eve what can happen when you use a spray bottle. She was so enthralled at watching the colors spread and splatter that we took it another step. She began to blow the water around, first with her mouth then with a straw, to create different effects, leading to an explosive and colorful piece.


It really was quite magical to watch her exploring different techniques for the first time and how she decided to use them. The piece she ended up with was so unique and lovely I knew that whatever way we collaborated on it, I had to make sure to leave every bit of her work untouched.

 

This led to the creation of two Ballerina sisters who are caught up in the energy and movement of dance. The younger sister is mesmerized by her sister and looks on with complete adoration and wonderment.

 

Although at times it was difficult to work around Eve's painting, creating one piece that will flow out of two, it just seemed so obvious that it was meant to be two tutus. I can't begin to put into words just how much Eve is obsessed with dancing, tutus, ballerinas and all that jazz.

The Almighty Lion

12.04.2014

"The Almighty Lion" began as a rough sketch I had done of a lion's face and mane then let Eve take over using watercolors and a spray bottle filled with water. Once she had decided she was done for the evening we let it dry and returned to it together the next day. It was such an amazing feeling of being able to paint simultaneously, it was if we were dance partners learning each others rhythm and flow. 

 Of course, Eve inevitably decided she had had her fill of painting for the day and that "cooking" muffins for me would be more entertaining. While she "cooked" I went ahead and added the final details. When I felt that it was complete I let Eve have the final say and she added the very last brushstroke and declared it complete! (She was eager to get her muffins out of the "oven" before they burned)

Blue Eyes

05.23.2015

This painting was the product of an accidental collaboration that opened my eyes to a whole new way of collaborating with Eve in regards to portraits. I had sketched out a portrait from a baby photo of Eve that I had been meaning to turn into a watercolor painting, when Eve decided she absolutely HAD to help me with it.

 Of course, I wanted to see where it would go and we were able to paint side by side for much longer than usual as she colored it in. Once she had her fill of painting, I began adding some highlights, shading and finished it off with some charcoal and a white pen.

Two of our other paintings, "The Almighty Lion" and "Mr. Blueberry Giraffe," were created using the same method of Eve painting over one of my sketches, however this is the first time we had tried a portrait. This makes me SO excited to continue painting portraits, with her help, especially now that her attention span is growing!

The Wily Fox

5.20.2015

"The Wily Fox" is one of the largest collaborations that Eve and I have created since we used acrylic on a 2 ft. x 4 ft. canvas. I had an incredible time watching Eve create this piece and I LOVE LOVE LOVE that 80% or more of this painting is all her doing. 

The first half was created a few months ago and she decided to add more recently using a bright orange red, once this layer was completed I saw the Wily Fox just shouting at me. Every time I looked at her painting I could see the Fox's eye staring at me over his shoulder, a hat casually placed about to fall off and a bright abstract, colorful coat. Although I know I could have done more with this collaboration, I really wanted to leave as much of Eve's work as possible. The colors, shapes and vibrancy that exudes from her work is so unique and special to me that all I allowed myself to do was carefully add in some facial features, bushiness to the tail and add a bit more shape to the ears and coat.

 

Once I showed her the final piece she was so excited to see the Fox's eye and wouldn't stop talking about how we both painted it, of course she loves to mention how the tail was made from her adorable fall. (As you can see in the time lapse video)

The Moon Bear

01.10.2015

There were so many things I could see in Eve's original drawing but this time I knew exactly what had to be done. As she was drawing I had noticed her holding a tiny little bear figure, I slowly realized that she had been using it as a reference while she created her drawing. This was the first time she had ever done something like this and it blew me away, not only because of her new thought process but how quickly she was growing up. As it was beyond obvious that her drawing was about a bear, I knew I had to incorporate her ideas into the collaboration piece, which is exactly how "The Moon Bear" came to be.

 

Originally I had wanted to create a more realistic looking bear but the piece took on a life of it's own. As I was painting in the shaggy fur under the chin it began to remind me of pine trees and I realized I had to just accept what was. It ended up becoming a whimsical, magical painting of a bear that dreamt of meeting the moon one day. There is a story that is lingering in my head that I look forward to writing, but at the moment it is too jumbled up. Once it finds it's way out I will most definitely share it with you.

The Grass is Greener

11.2.2014

This piece, "The Grass is Greener," began with Eve using watercolors to create her beautiful, earth colored painting with a new technique I recently showed her.


 At first I was hesitant to even paint on it since I had fallen in love with the colors and pattern, but at Eve's insistence I went ahead and began another collaboration. Along with her permission, I found solace in the quickly growing stack of Eve's new paintings created with the technique she had discovered.
 
I did my best to leave her part as untouched as possible and worked around it as I painted.The earthy colors made me think of those hidden corners of the forest where small creatures live and dance. I pictured a hedgehog running through the grass and found myself wondering if even these small creatures feel the jealousy and envy that we humans struggle with.
 
Or are they simply happy to be alive and gratefully accept what they are provided?
 The grass is just as green on this side yet will be sure to wilt if I do not tend to what I have if I am too busy yearning for what I do not have.

Yesterday's News

10.14.2014

A man stumbles in the pouring rain, the city lights reflecting off sidewalk puddles that are responsible for his waterlogged shoes. Cars fly by and pedestrians can be found huddling together under any dry refuge waiting for the storm to pass, but not him.

No. He will face this storm head on, armed only with a newspaper that lost it's purpose several blocks ago. He no longer understands why he even continues to hold on to it, perhaps it is the need to feel protected. The need to feel like something is worth holding onto.

The storm has reached a rage now and still he walks on, alone. Even his tattered newspaper is falling apart in the wind and the words of yesterday's news begin to tear away.

But still, he walks on. 

And then despite everything, a small smile can be seen hidden at the corner of his mouth, for he knows something we do not.

He knows that to walk bravely in the storm and feel it's rage is to truly understand the peace and understanding that is sure to follow. He chooses not to settle for a temporary escape from the storm but to press on so he may experience a lasting refuge.

Under the Red Birch Tree

10.4.2014

Growing up in a church as a pastor's kid definitely had it's ups and downs, but I will never forget the silence and beauty that is found in an empty church. It is truly magical. My siblings and I would spend hours in the church, during weekdays, just exploring and finding little hidden nooks to read a book or draw.

The memory of seeing the sun peer through the stained glass windows and the dust sparkling against the light has never left me. As a little girl I would pretend those rays of light shining through were staircases that angels and loved ones used to go from heaven to earth. I would sit there in the warm glow waiting patiently in the silence and warmth of the church, hoping to catch a glance of an angel. It was so quiet you could hear a pin drop.

It is that memory that stirs such emotions in me and I tried to transfer that into this painting. I can just imagine laying on that little white church's floor with Eve beside me as we watch the dust sparkle from the fall sun peering in. The windows are open and we can see smell the fresh fall air and see the red birch leaves falling, gracefully to the ground. It would be a moment in time that I would just freeze and commit to my memory forever...

Just as I did when I was a little girl.

 

The Reindeer

9.23.2014

The inspiration for this piece came from a visit to the High Park petting zoo in Toronto where my daughter and I saw a variety of animals including several reindeer.

 

I asked Eve what colors she wanted me to use and she suggested Pink and Blue so I got to work while Eve watched. I'm still not sure she believed me when I repeatedly told her I wasn't painting Sven from Frozen.

 

I really enjoyed painting this piece, I have always been drawn to deers and moose and they appear throughout my past art pieces. There is something majestic about an animal that appears to be so peaceful yet can become very powerful at will. I used a dark blue for the undertones and added a layer of pink to include Eve's requests for our collaboration.

The Forest

9.21.2014

In Eve's drawing, right in the center, I could see a very light pen mark that curved over and under. I decided to turn it into a bridge where I would later add two people hiding under a red umbrella.
 

"The Forest" tries to capture a hidden moment between to lovers as they embrace each other under an umbrella, taking cover from the light rain. As they stand on the bridge, soaking in all the invigorating smells of a forest after a fresh rain, it becomes a beautiful, peaceful moment where they can truly appreciate the beauty of each other and their surroundings.

 

The Queen

9.14.2014

If you were to ask a little girl today what her favourite Disney Character would be, 9 out of 10 times they would say Elsa or Anna.

Eve is obsessed and that is putting it lightly. She will belt out her own version of "Let It Go"
(which consists of the chorus line repeated over and over) and odds are this will usually happen at 2 AM.

My neighbors just love us.

For this collaboration she continued to sing "Let It Go" throughout her drawing and talked how it was Elsa on the mountain. When she handed it to me to paint I asked her what she would like, obviously the answer was Elsa. I decided to challenge myself to try a more realistic take on the Disney princess.

Mr. Blueberry Giraffe

9.11.2014

Mr. Blueberry Giraffe had two favorite things, blowing bubbles and eating blueberries. He would be hard pressed to say which one he loved more. One day he ate WAY too may blueberries, they say it was close to a thousand! Despite his sore tummy, he thought nothing of it, and sat under his favorite tree where every morning he used his beloved red pipe to blow bubbles. Mr. Giraffe would spend hours watching them drift off into the sky wondering about the journeys each would have.

But there was something different about today!

He had eaten so many that he began to hiccup... and hiccup... and as he began to blow his bubbles carefully watching the first one come out he was astonished, it was BLUE! He was so startled that he jumped up causing it to pop right on his nose. Mr. Giraffe went cross eyed as he stared down at his nose, it had turned BLUE! He dissolved into a giggle fit thinking this was the most fabulous thing that had ever happened to him.

And to this day every time Mr. Giraffe blows through his bubble pipe he makes sure to eat fruits and veggies of EVERY color just so he can watch his rainbow colored bubbles fly away on their magical adventures.

 

This painting and story was inspired by Eve turning blue after gobbling up frozen blueberries.

The Sunflower Princess

9.10.2014

The Sunflower Princess portrays the thing I treasure most, my daughter. Once she was finished her drawing she thrust it at me saying, "Paint, Paint, Paint?!?!" to which I obviously responded, "SURE!". I then asked her what she wanted me to paint and she said, "EVE!"

 O boy.

As I sat their staring at her drawing I had no idea where I was going to even begin. Slowly but surely I found a home for her beautiful face using one of her lines for the jawline, once I had that the rest just flowed.

I struggled with certain areas due to the amount of lines she had drawn and that the black ink bleeds when wet, changing the colors I initially paint with. I am still learning to find a balance of what I can paint while staying true to her original lines. Due to this learning process there are some collaborations where either mine or Eve's work becomes the more dominant part.

The Lady and the Fox

9.4.2014

This collaboration was definitely the toughest as of yet. When I watch Eve draw her masterpieces I can usually pick up on a hidden picture or she'll chat with me about what she was drawing and I can use that for inspiration.

This time? She gave me nothing to go on so I had to really think about it.

One of the most important thing to me about collaborating with Eve is to make sure her vision is included and the finished piece still contains portions and shapes of her original piece. So as I sat their staring, trying to find direction, two random thoughts popped in my head. The movie Lady and the Tramp and how much Eve loves to spot Swiper the fox when we watch Dora. So lo and behold, that is where this painting drew it's inspiration.
The abstract part of the woman's fox headpiece comes from all those beautiful shapes Eve sketched out that I didn't want to lose, so I filled them in with color to help shape the headpiece.

A Bookworm's Dream

8.30.2014

Peace and quiet... a rare commodity in my life.

As I stared at Eve's sketch, wondering what I would transform it into, I was soaking in every ounce of quiet as she peacefully slept. I knew it wouldn't be long until she woke and the second half of our day would begin.

It is in these moments I like to imagine myself in a surreal world where every tree is a bookshelf and underneath each one is the world's comfiest, worn in leather chair. There is no such thing as artificial lighting, clocks, rush hour, deadlines, texting or even telephones for that matter. Even as the sun sets and one beings to worry that all chances of reading would diminish with the light, dangling from the trees are lanterns that are home to families of fireflies. As these fireflies gather at dusk to party the night away in their tiny houses you can breathe a sigh of relief that there will be no end to the magical world of a bookworm's dream.

So I sat their with my paintbrush in my hand and I wiggled my toes, as if I could almost feel them in the long grass under that tree, I then began to paint inspired by my bookworm's dream.

The Great Owl

8.18.2014

I found this collaboration to be a little more difficult as I sat there for a ridiculous amount of time staring at her sketch without any inspiration. Finally, right before her nap, she started to sing the "Owl song" by one of her favourite children's bands, The Wiggles, which was all the inspiration I needed to start painting.

The Elephant King

8.08.2014

The minute Eve had completed her drawing and eagerly passed it to me an elephant face just jumped out at me! I could easily see the trunk and tusks as well as the curve of an elephant's back and slowly the elephant came to life. I loved the way the black ink of Eve's drawing turned the bright watercolors into a darker than intended art piece.

The Red Boat

7.30.2014

This was the very first watercolor collaboration between my toddler and I.

 

Now that my little girl is two her interest in all things art has skyrocketed, especially when she sees me painting. As she gets older I look forward to collaborating with her on many projects, but until then I've decided to see what I can create with some of her many sketches. Here is the first time lapse where I take an ink sketch of hers and use watercolor to turn it into a scenery. I try to work quickly and let imagination and play take root into the painting rather than taking it to seriously, this way I can encourage Eve's contribution without making it to "grownup."

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