A Lesson in Painting

Like most 3 year olds, Levi likes to paint.  In the studio, he has his own area set up on two tables where he can go to paint or color or build or cut…whatever he’s in the mood for.  To my delight, he’s lately been interested in watercolors.  A few months back I gave him a box of some of my old watercolor tubes, which he quickly used up. So, for Christmas he got his very own collection of tubes.  “Just for me, Mommy?”, he said.  “Yes, just for you.”

I try to let him initiate the practice of painting. I figure if all the supplies are there, he just needs to follow his muse.  Of course this theory is much easier for a 3 yr old to put into practice then it is for most adults. I have hundreds of tubes of paint and brushes calling my name everyday, but I’m ignoring them…for now.

While Calvin is napping (or should I say, “On the days when Calvin is napping”…grr), Levi and I head to the studio to play. When he gets going on a painting, I step over to my side of the room and start to work on my own projects…for a few minutes. Then I hear, “Mommy, come see this!!” or “Mommy, I need more water.” Before long, I am standing next to him just watching.  As much as I would love to be able to work side by side with him in the studio, it’s just not yet a reality for us.  Sometimes I get frustrated by this, but when I stop and really pay attention to what he’s doing, I learn great lessons. It slows me down and makes me take notice of how he holds a brush, of what colors he chooses, of how he makes the water blend them all together.  It gives me a chance to be an observer into his creative process and it teaches me NOT to critique. I have to work hard at not jumping in and giving advice.  The artist inside me wants to scream when I see him about to dip his brush in a blob of black paint to muddy up all the beautiful yellows and oranges on the page. The Virgo in me wants to tell him to keep his brushes clean or else the paint just gets all murky…and what about those spills? The mother in me is learning to guide with suggestion, to watch with wonder and to let him learn from his own experiences.

One of my fondest mothering moments was from a day such as this.  While he was painting I heard, “Mommy…did you know that blue and red make PURPLE????” I almost cried.
Yes, Levi, I do know that blue and red make purple. I’m so glad you discovered it.

  One thought on “A Lesson in Painting

  1. Quizoxy
    February 14, 2012 at 5:41 am

    Looks fun! Sadly I don’t usually paint, probably will try some day.

  2. February 14, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    Dara, you write so well. I feel as though I am right there with you and Levi. I would love to be a fly on the wall at your studio sessions with him. His paintings are gorgeous. Can I say that I am jealous of all those painting supplies?

  3. February 14, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    Oh! He’s so sweet, showing you all his creations. And I love that you have a space all set up for him. We’ve been struggling with that since Gray got mobile.

  4. February 14, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    Dara, I’m so totally enjoying these. Keep writing.

  5. Becky
    February 19, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    Look at all that watercolor goodness. Yum.

  6. Katie
    February 20, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    I love your blog, Dara! Very inspiring. We are about to enter the wide world of finger painting. 🙂


  7. March 15, 2017 at 3:28 am

    Love your blog as well Dara!
    You inspire me!
    I blame DIRECT Tv for the silly dish on our roof as NOW a field mouse got in (where’s that fiesty cat when we need him!?) & chewed a hole in my pink sweater! Long story but I’m thinking one of your beautiful crocheted hearts would make a nice patch on it??? !!!

    • daraweyna
      May 2, 2017 at 8:55 pm

      HI Gale,
      I don’t know how I didn’t see this comment until now. I’ve let the blog go to sleep for the past couple of years and am now about to resurrect it. Thank you for the comment!! You know where to find me for that patch! Love you. D

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