This week’s Life Book lesson was taken by Annie Hamman and was entirely fabulous and fun. The object of the lesson was to create a portrait while releasing our Inner Child, being less inhibited and intentional, just being fun, free and playful. Hamman demonstrated, ably assisted by her delightful daughter, how collaborating with young children can help us be more liberated with our art.
I thought it would be fun to get all of my kids involved in the collaborative piece but I only achieved a 50% take up rate. Happily that 50% were my two youngest and, therefore, least inhibited children. We used the face map sketch I did for the Let’s Face It lesson as our starting point and off we went. Since my kids are all at school, instead of taking turns to add bits and pieces, I let my boys basically create the whole first layer of the painting.
Once the first layer had dried, it was my turn. Interestingly, my Control Freakery was not going dingbat crazy over what the kids had done to my sketch. I was entirely happy for them to play around with it and do what they wanted. I think having fun with my kids probably makes me less concerned about a successful outcome. That was a valuable lesson in and of itself. My actual concern, when it was my turn to paint, was actually about how to retain their choice of colours, shapes and marks while also pulling a face out of the chaos. I didn’t want to ruin their work.
What is great about this painting is that I don’t even care about its shortcomings, don’t even want to critique it, because it stands as a colourful record of working with two of my kids to produce something fun. I never could or would have come up with this as a finished outcome had they not produced the first layer so it is a genuine collaboration. I often work on art side by side with my kids but I really loved getting my kids involved in my art in this particular way. I would love to do it again and again. I might even be able to persuade the older two to participate.