stop to smell the flowers
i made something! (amidst chaos)

first painting

first painting on canvas 2

It was a success. I'm not sure who enjoyed the experience more - the toddler, the mama, or the grandparents watching from the wings. One thing's for certain - Finn certainly didn't notice all of the excitable adults around him, ooohing and ahhing and snapping around 2,431 photos. He was too interested in the paint to even care. Perfect.

first painting on canvas 1

Here's what I did to prepare the scene:

  • Made sure the washing station was ready to go.
  • Laid cardboard on the floor to act as a provisional drop cloth.
  • Placed a 16" x 20" canvas on top of the cardboard (bought this with a 40% off coupon at Michael's).
  • Set some cardboard atop his little table, and placed it right next to the working space on the floor.
  • On the edge of his table, I placed three colors of washable tempera paint in the most perfect little painting snail. Wait ... let me explain. It's a little snail-shaped metal bowl-thingy that has teaspoon-sized depressions for holding just the right amount of paint. I should have gotten a picture of that, but I was too busy photographing the artist to think of it. I think I found it at Montessori Services about five years ago or so.
  • Placed two paint brushes of different sizes and a natural sponge next to the paint.

a whole body experience

I think a key to this project's success was that I set everything up before Finn arrived on scene. He happened to be playing in the sandbox in the backyard with his Papa, but something like this could just as easily be thrown together during nap time. In fact, that's my plan once Patrick starts up school again on Monday and we get back into a regular schedule. Finn naps, wakes up and has a snack, then heads out to the porch for some art exploration.

why paint with just a brush

first painting

And who said that painting was just for the hands? (Check out this post from way back when.) Getting the feet involved only enhanced the final product. In truth, I was crossing my fingers for a few footprints and toe smudges.

I plan on hanging his first painting in our art space, which is why I chose to have him paint directly on canvas. Future paintings will likely happen on paper and other cheaper surfaces, but the canvas was certainly worth it.

washing off the paint

Of course, the clean-up was just as fun as the painting!