Portrait Collaboration with Kids

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.

Week 4 Collaboration with Children 1

Week 4 Collaboration with Children 2

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.

Week 4 Collaboration with Children 3

Week 4 Collaboration with Children 4

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.

25 thoughts on “Portrait Collaboration with Kids

      • I used to do an exercise in classes where each person started off an artwork, worked on it for 3 minutes, and then we passed it to the next person, until we went around the whole group (or if too large a group, a subgroup). People hated it at first but got into the swing of it and loosened up and just did something without worrying about the end result (since another person would be working on it anyway). It was a great way to get people just to do something rather than getting caught up in judging their work. And the artworks were always really something. I think it helped people learn to respond to what they saw rather than where they thought it should be going.

      • We used to do that in life drawing class too. It was always interesting to see how different someone’s approach was to the exact same subject. Strangely enough, I was never precious about my drawings but would be more concerned with not wrecking the drawings of others, especially if I was paired with a professional artist.

  1. Love it! Love the both the process and the result! Also, my favourite line from the entire post was, “Interestingly, my Control Freakery was not going dingbat crazy over what the kids had done to my sketch.”. As it turns out, I was just about to write a post about how my control freakery drove me dingbat crazy last, kept me awake actually, over something that happened with a roll of toilet paper almost 20 years ago. I better go write that now. I got a little distracted by reading.

    • Thank you very much. The great thing about LB is the ability to download the PDFs and/or videos and then dip into the lessons at your leisure. It’s such good value anyway that even if you only do the lessons that really appeal to you it’s worth it.

  2. What a great way to do an end run around yourself. (That’s a sports metaphor from a sport I don’t understand at all so I figure it’s safe to use it on someone who’s equally unlikely to make sense of it.)

  3. Big warm hugs to you and especially to the kiddos. This collaboration work is really stunning. I love it! The joy all of you experienced taking turns painting showed in the finished piece and the love you all share made the day all the more fun and memorable. Kudos to everyone. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Lakshmi – Mixed Media Mythology | A Pict in PA

Let's chat! Leave a comment and I will reply.

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.