When receiving boxes of my childhood art from my parents, I vowed to not be “one of those moms” who saves every little scribble. I tossed a lot of my own kid art (don’t tell my mom!) because I didn’t see the meaning behind it. In most cases, I didn’t even remember doing it.
Now as a mom, I relish receiving anything my kids create, including the papers with one lightly penciled mark. And, yes, even the glitter-infused papers. As I watch the sparkles fall off the paper and onto my clean floor, I choose to avoid looking at the mess and focus on being in awe of how my kiddos placed the craft material exactly how they did on the paper. I wonder about intention and playfulness in every piece.
To some, these are seemingly meaningless scribbles and splots – and they may be to my kids, too – but to me, they are so much more.
As a graphic designer, a lover of art, and the founder of a shop that makes educational art products, I learned pretty quickly that creating anything is a process. You start with an idea, you get it out of your head, you craft it into a form, you step away, you add to it, you love it, you add more, you hate it, you pull some back, you play and adjust…and no one is there to tell you when it is finished. Maybe it’s not finished. Maybe it never will be. But this is the beauty and struggle of creating art. It is yours to develop as you see fit.
This is what makes my kids’ art so incredible. With every mark, stroke, and squiggle, I am witnessing their artistic process. They are honing their abilities to create. It’s beautiful to behold.
I have happily given my kids reign over my acrylic paints and paintbrushes. They have an easel in our dining room where they/we paint whenever the muse strikes and the time allows. I love watching them choose colors, how they blend them on the paper and use various brushes to create different marks. Even their palettes are beautiful! So much so that I cut shapes out of them and make multi-colored decorations for various holidays. I’ve used their art as wrapping paper, too! Any way I can share their work, I do. Creating anything is hard and wonderful and absolutely always worth celebrating.
I know that I am doing the exact same thing my parents did. I already have overflowing boxes, bins, and binders of paintings and drawings, some of which are titled: “Waterfall Valley”; “Hot Lava”; and “Pool of Mud.” All of which are dated and proudly list the artist(s). So in 25 years when it’s my turn to give my kids their art back, I will share the meaning this art has to me. How through each uniquely crafted piece, I watched them learn about color theory, joyfully make marks, and unabashedly create. I can’t wait. Then I’ll give them all the boxes.