Frida and I go way back. When I was a young ‘un in art school, my roomates and best friend teamed up to gift me a book or two from the local book store, and one of them was the Diary of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Portrait. My friends had said that if it wasn’t my cup of tea, I could exchange it. Well, being more into fantasy and figural art at the time, and not yet having gained an appreciation for more modern artists, I decided to do something unprecedented for me, something I had never done before: I exchanged the gift for two books of two artists I DID know: Egon Schiele (maybe NSFW) and Boris Vallejo.
And I always felt guilty about it.
Later, I took a course in 20th century art, and while it wasn’t always my cup of tea, I began to gain a much stronger appreciation for the “why” of modern work, and even later still, for women in art—bold women who didn’t just paint flowing, pastel things, but who painted strange and thought-provokingly surreal images.
Of course, I saw the movie Frida, with Salma Hayek. Of course, I loved it.
Fast-forward: Years later, all kinds of random things happened. Fast-forward a little more. Years later, we had a daughter. A little farther: Years later, out of the blue, my sister-in-law got our daughter a little Frida shirt for her 4th birthday.
It was like seeing an old friend! Involved with everyday things as well as discovering our daughter’s artistic side, I had forgotten all about Frida. Our daughter was excited to know who it was on this new shirt. I told her excitedly, “It’s an ARTIST!” She said, “a GIRL one like me and you?” and her excitement was clear: there was another girl, like me and like her, that love love LOVED to draw and paint.
I remembered that there was a children’s book on Frida. We got it, and she loved it. The beautiful, simple paintings, the easily-told story. Just a wonderful introduction to an artist, told in a simple way that a kid could understand.
When our little collaborations became a regular thing, I decided one day to draw Frida in my sketchbook. Since she was familiar with her, I wondered what she would do. I showed her a picture of how the real Frida looked and how she dressed. She studied it carefully, and began to draw, adding squiggly flowers in her hair and on her dress. When she started adding on to her arms, I asked her what she was drawing. “Paintbrushes,” she said. “She’s painting.” And that made me smile.
She’s had a fondness for Frida since that shirt first came. It was a great opportunity to teach her about other artists.
The other day, I doodled Georgia O’Keefe, just for giggles. I told her a little about how Georgia was an artist who loved to draw flowers. (FLOWERS, people!!) So she drew her with flowers in her hands. She wasn’t quite as interested in Georgia (admittedly, neither am I), but maybe now we’ll make this a fun little habit. It may be a good way to teach her about other artists and why they were such a big deal.
Hmmm….Maybe I see a new series coming on…
If you want a little Frida for yo’self, I put FRIDA PRINTS up at Society6. I think I may need a mug of my own….
I’m a pretty fair Game of Thrones fan, but let me get one thing clear: our 4-year old daughter does NOT watch it. Aside from obvious inappropriateness, the last thing we need is her running around with a sword, threatening to behead people, poking them with “the pointy end,” or having nightmares about three-eyed crows and white walkers and such. So when I got this little Khaleesi figurine, I guessed that (as I eventually did with my Ren & Stimpy figurines which I got way before the Kid existed) I’d probably end up having to share her…or at the very least, explain who she was.
And so began the tale of the Dragon Lady. Our daughter was immediately fascinated (as I knew she’d be) by this little lady toy with a dragon on her arm. She wanted to know all about her. So I explained how this girl had a dream and took some dragon eggs someone gave her into the fire, but how she didn’t get burned, and THREE DRAGONS hatched, and they became like her pets. Leaving out the bits about how the dragons became unruly and decimated entire cities, I explained how this girl “rescued” people, and they called her Khaleesi, and the “Mother of Dragons.” She was enthralled. “Show me the real lady!” she pleaded, hovering near my phone (I answer any difficult kid-questions via a mad dash online).
And so I did.
“Can we please draw her?!?” she asked, and hovered over my sketchbook, patiently waiting for me to draw the face of this Khaleesi. I had barely gotten a face drawn when she excitedly asked to finish it.
She liked it so much, this idea of a dragon queen, that we drew her a couple of other times as well. This one was my favorite. It sat in my sketchbook for quite a long time. I loved, it but couldn’t quite figure out how to make it make sense. That shell-looking thing on the right is fire. The scribbles on her dress are supposed to represent the wrinkles on her dress. That beaver-tail thing on the left is her dress “waving behind her.”
It took awhile, but I finally pulled it back out again, and decided to take a shot at finally painting it. The thing is, I know what a town engulfed in flames is supposed to look like (not personally, but thanks to modern special effects), and that’s what I had imagined. But I can’t be the only artist whose work NEVER turns out the way they imagine. First off: smoky, cloudy things (like fire and, well, clouds) have always been difficult for me to paint. I do my best to sort of swish them around so they kind of look passable, but they just don’t make sense to my eyes. I just can’t translate what my eyes see. In my head, there’s a smoldering village and wonderful flames and light glowing and reflections and all that. That’s not always exactly what comes out.
But you know, I’m no Caravaggio, and this is what comes out instead, and I have learned over time to balance the high expectations in my head with what actually happens. I find it has its own certain little charm anyway. Whatever I imagine it COULD be would be nice, I’m sure, but THIS is where we are, and ACCEPTANCE is key. Loving where and what you are right now is key, at whatever level you are, in whatever you might do. And it’s so simple to do–it’s as easy as just appreciating what you have. Just get your ideas out in whatever way you can, and be happy for it. If you’d like to improve, work on improving, but don’t EVER curse the level you’re at!
So there you go–a lovely post about our mutual love of a fire-breathing-dragon queen, just before Thanksgiving. And I’m thankful for all of it. All of what? Yes, exactly–absolutely ALL of it. Even the smudgy bits.
And when our daughter saw the finished Khaleesi, she said, “OHHHH! She’s AWESOME!” …Then she stopped, looking at her for a moment, and said, “That was fun to draw. We should do that again.”
Apparently, a lot of new people have joined our little campfire. I’d like to say “Welcome!” Come have a seat!
I’ve been getting a ton of new questions about how the kid & I doodle our little doodles. I’ll start off by saying this didn’t begin intentionally. I didn’t plan this out. As I described in the post, my “art life” was very separate from my “mom life,” and that’s how I thought it had to be. When our daughter first hovered over my sketchbook & asked to draw on one of my drawings, it was a lesson in letting go for me, and allowing her to be a part of something I have always been very passionate about.
But based on the comments I get on external blogs (probably because they don’t always link back to my original post, which describes the experience), I think some people misunderstand the process. Or maybe they don’t. In any case, I thought it’d be fun to walk you all through one of the pieces we did. Maybe it’ll give you some ideas to doing it yourself!
First off, I love drawing from old black & white movie stills. For some reason, the far-off looks, the black & white imagery–I don’t know why, but I could draw those all day. I like playing with the shapes, changing them a little, slightly altering them, and sort of abstracting the shading a bit. I work in ballpoint pen (because I love it, and I’ve used it over the years and years and years). This time, I worked from a picture of Bette Davis. Probably this one.
(Now the very first time, this was as far as I had gotten before my daughter asked to “help.” Later, I started just drawing faces & heads because she kept asking for them. Plus, that’s my favorite part to draw anyway. So when she asks to “draw the body,” I choose to let her.)
I’m always curious what she’s going to draw. I can give her ideas, but she usually will decide what it’s going to be AS she’s drawing it. This was quite nerve-wracking for me in the beginning. It was HARD to let someone take something you worked on into a completely different direction. Did I always handle it with grace? No. When she drew lines across the faces of some of them, I silently clenched my teeth, did a mental gasp, and squinted my eyes. But you know what? It all turns out fine in the end.
For this one, she drew this funky crescent-shaped body, and said, “She’s a slug.” Um. Okay. You turned her into a SLUG?! Some of the ones we had done were easy to collaborate on…a dinosaur, a bird, a dragon. But a SLUG? I kept any judgement to myself, and instead, decided to laugh with her about the lady with the slug body.
Thankfully, I’m always up for a challenge. And over time, doing these doodles with our daughter, I often think of my part as translating her ideas to make sense to grownups. It’s a fun challenge to try to figure out a way to make her kid-doodle potentially exist in a 2-D environment. For those curious as to who did what, the basic idea is always hers. She did the body, the antennae, the flower, and the sunshine on this one. Nowadays, she even gives me guidelines: “Don’t forget, mama–her wings should be BLUE.” Or, “That’s not a cracker, she’s holding BREAD. Could you please make sure you color it to look like bread?” In the end, we’re both always pretty surprised at the result.
So after she decides what it’s going to be and does her doodles, I do my part. I color in with markers (sometimes she helps).
I used to use plain ol’ Sharpies for base color, until Jerry’s Artarama sent me a HUGE box set of my favorite Prismacolor brush-tips. (big shout out to Jerry’s! Woohoo!) So these days, when I get to this step, I use those instead, and I love love LOVE the color blending you can get with them.
I add some white highlights with acrylic paint or sometimes watercolor.
Now’s the fun part. How the heck to make this look like a slug, as opposed to a random, crescent-shaped doodle? I looked up some slug references, and did the best I could to fit those patterns into the shape she had drawn. I think the little “lip” underneath is what finally made it feel more “real.”
A little more acrylic for the background. I added a little hopscotch grid to sort of put her in some sort of context. I don’t know why, it just felt right. And because plain ol’ grass gets boring. I did a little fine-tuning to bring the lines back with ballpoint pen. Often, I go back over the lines she and I both already made, to bring them out a little more.
And there you go! I called it “Slugs Need Hugs.” One time, playing outside, my daughter said it would be hard to try to give a slug a hug. When I finished this one, I felt a little bad for the little slug lady, trying to play hopscotch, while most likely being unable to perform the required “hopping.” She seemed in need of a hug.
As for any meaning or symbolism in using Bette Davis and then drawing a slug? There is none. AT ALL. I just like to draw faces. She just felt like drawing a slug. I usually alter them enough that I don’t always remember who they started out as.
As for my daughter’s drawing skills? I understand that I’m her mother and I while I can see all the beautiful, wonderful magic in the way she draws (and while her teachers have commented on how focused and detailed she is at drawing), I am the first to admit that maybe her drawings themselves aren’t particularly masterful. But, you know?–for that matter, neither are mine. Anyone focusing on that aspect is sort of missing the point.
So what IS the point? To me, it’s about enjoying the experience more than the end result. It’s about combining the “internal” life of an artist with the “external” life of a parent. It’s about helping your kids express themselves without limitations. It’s about sharing your passion with someone else. It’s about taking that thing you love and placing it in someone else’s hands, and trusting that everything will be okay.
Okay, we’ve been sick. We’ve been feeling all around miserable around here this past week. So I’ve been slacking in the blogging department. Hey, I can’t keep it ALL together ALL the time. I’d run out of duct tape.
So I thought I’d share this quick little project as a sort of mini half-post. I promise I’ll write a better one in a few days.
I’ve told you before how much our daughter loves Star Wars, and has a crush on C-3PO? So I should also mention, she’s a pretty rough-and-tumble little girl. She’s not afraid of a few bumps and bruises. Which also means sometimes she wears holes in the knees of her jeans. When I decided to get a little more life out of those jeans with a patch, I thought, “Oh, cool! I’ll put some simple, cute design with iron-on patches, and BOOM, done.”
…Until she said, “Can you do one as C3P0 and one as R2D2?”
Well, darned if I don’t like a challenge. So I did.
It took me AGES to figure out if that was even possible. I thought about hand-sewing felt, about stitching the detail on with embroidery thread. I thought of all kinds of magically impossible ways this could possibly work, and was coming up blank every time. Until finally, I lowered my standards.
I finally just cut a simple outline of the body out based on the references I printed out (in black & white in the center), filled the detail in with Sharpie, and ironed them on. Bam, easy peasy.
She liked them so much, she insisted she wear her Lego Star Wars shirt to match.
FAIR WARNING: One trip through the washer, and the edges started rolling and looked horrible, so maybe this isn’t such a cool project after all, unless you’ve got wicked mad sewing skills. …In which case, can you please sew my daughter some Star Wars patches?
Anyway, we’re all on the mend here. Hope you’re all feeling well!
For those who have never heard of it, “exquisite corpse” is a surrealist game played with either words or drawings, in which several artist collaborate on a piece by only being able to see the tail end of what the previous person contributed.
When I did the collaborations with my 4-year, a few people commented that it reminded them of the “exquisite corpse” game, in having to elaborate and expand on someone else’s work.
By chance, a coordinator with Exquisite Corpse Festival contacted me about doing a page for a potential comic book idea with the same premise–picking up where the previous person left off, and elaborating on it. They thought the idea of me working with my daughter fit in well with the project, and might make for an interesting page. I thought it sounded fun.
When the time came, I was surprised to get not a drawing to elaborate on, but a snip of text. It was something that sounded like a large creature confessing to a therapist of some sort. …And that was it. I had no idea what this creature was supposed to look like or anything. No clue of what had happened before it.
So I started by just drawing a dragon head. I tried to make him sort of expressive…if he was confessing his tale, he’d probably be pretty personable, right? I wanted to make him very “foresty” (maybe just because it’s autumn, and I wanted to use the colors), but that’s about as far as I got. I wasn’t sure WHAT to do with him next.
I showed our daughter. It was strange–it’s nothing at all like what we usually do. But we love experimenting and having fun drawing together, so I was sure she’d come up with something cool.
Sure enough, she drew a big circle body and looked at it for a minute. Then she added some zigzag lines. He was in an egg. “He’s hatching!” she said. And certainly, he was. Awesome! I decided for my part, to have him telling a story about an “awkward phase” he had gone through. That way, it didn’t matter WHAT he looked like in previous pages. Pretty unintentionally clever, kiddo…!
Now, we’ve been playing around drawing monsters, which are quite fun. We’ll see what comes of it. After all, it’s all just one big surrealist experiment, right?
(What looks like a pink arm on this red & blue one is actually…um…an udder? Apparently, they just learned about milking cows at preschool.)
(This little purple fella is combing his beard)
I had planned on making my own R2D2 costume (at my daughter’s request), but since Halloween plans were dampened by a bad week-long case of strep throat for the little one, I was a bit distracted, and time sort of slipped away. Luckily, inspiration struck at the grocery store, when I found a sad little kid’s Vader costume for 6 bucks in the Halloween aisle. It came with a tiny cape that was way too tight around the neck, so I just extended it by sticking a longer piece of velcro to it where the ends met up. I mean, technically, Vader DID CREATE C3PO, so I think it’s a better companion piece than R2. …At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.
But Vader alone wasn’t enough–I wanted to spice it up a little, so I wore a sugar skull shirt (because it’s black and I already own it), which gave me the idea of painting the helmet. There are a bajillion sugar Star Wars characters online (which I love), so I just grabbed a paint pen (which I already had) and BOOM–two minutes later, my costume was complete.
The kid was feeling better, but still pretty sick, so we just went down the street & back. She had a chance to do her thing, and then she had fun handing out candy. People seemed to dig her homemade costume. We even saw a kid dressed as Vader, one as Yoda, and another as a Jawa! Star Wars still lives, if you ever have your doubts.
So if the costume giddiness is over and you’ve got the dressup blues, I present, for your consideration, a paper doll I made ages ago for an art show I once had. She’s got a mix of old-skool circus performer, pinup girl, derby blocker, and steampunk fanciness. And if paper dolls aren’t your thing, just head on over to that bucket of candy. There’s one in there calling your name….
So we’ve been drawing animals lately, my daughter and I…
After the post about the collaborative illustrations I did with our 4-year old daughter lit up, I was flooded with a ton of wonderful, inspiring ideas from people all over the world. Make some kid ones! Make some happier ones! Make one that looks like your daughter!
And we did. And we had so much fun. The thing is, when we made them the first time, it’s not something that was very well-planned out. It happened initially by chance. It was, as Bob Ross said, a “happy accident.” We did it for fun, just because it was something we loved to do together.
But sometimes I found myself trying very hard to draw faces that I thought people would like. As an illustrator, I am VERY comfortable working with other peoples’ ideas. But when I try too hard on my own to make something I THINK someone will like (as opposed to what I just enjoy or would like to make FOR them), it always falls flat. So we laid off the heads for awhile, and took a little break.
Until one day our daughter asked me if I could draw her some heads again. “This time can we draw an elephant one?” she asked. “Of course!” I said.
…Man. She always has the best ideas.
And so we did. And the life was back! And as much fun as we had with heads, I realized that the reason it was starting to feel so strange was that I was trying too hard to do something that I THOUGHT people wanted to see, as opposed to what I really REALLY enjoy doing with her.
So we started simply–by drawing an animal for every letter of the alphabet. She would think carefully about what animal would be for each letter, and then focus intently when I’d give her an animal head to draw the body on.
She had so much fun choosing animals for letters! I said, “maybe we could spell your name with them?” And we did.
I laid out letters for each of the animals. I thought it’d be fun for her room to be able to spell out her name with each print. I thought it’d be fun, too, to do a print of all of the animals together…
Then we kept going, beyond the alphabet, to whatever animals we both felt like doing.
And you know what? I love them! And we had so much fun.
It really would be nice if, once you learned a lesson, you never had to learn it again. I still constantly have to keep myself focused on letting go of my expectations; on enjoying what IS instead of what SHOULD or COULD be. Usually I find the best things come that way.
Our head collaborations are not over. They’re still a very fun project we do together. But it’s good to mix it up sometimes, too.
The lesson I keep learning and have to relearn again and again is that other peoples’ input is SUCH a great source of inspiration for me, but that trying TOO hard to create something specifically that other people might like is a dead end. DO WHAT YOU LOVE and do it with all the joy you have, just for the sheer joy of doing it, and people are bound to enjoy it and feel that love in it.
And if they don’t…well, why do you care, as long as you’re happy?
Because I liked them so much, I decided to put all the letters on RedBubble as prints. And some of the plain animals are there, too. If you like them too, or if you want to build your own name out of animals, that’s where they’ll be…!
Call me old fashioned, call me overprotective, but I’m a little weird about having my daughter’s face all over the internet. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that the internet, while a wonderful and amazing resource, can be quite creepy.
If there’s anything that I’ve learned from the “Collaborations” post going viral is that nothing is sacred. People are free to say and do anything from behind the protective shield of a computer screen. And they do.
I am reminded of an installation piece by Iraqi artist Wafaa Bilal, who lived in a room for a month with an internet-controlled paint gun. Anyone at all could log on and shoot him, with no repercussions, no consequences. And they did. A LOT. SO much so that he was haunted and traumatized by it. As this article states, “…when people no longer fear reprisal from their actions then they will become monsters with little regard for other human beings.”
So if I’m so protective of her, why post anything at all about my daughter? Simply put: she is an enormous part of my life. I know the things I do with and for her are things another mother or father might like to know, or might feel better for having read. People can be nasty, and while I’m a big girl and can handle it, I feel there’s no real reason (other than the fact that she is, in fact, super adorable) to show her face. Cropping and sideshots, folks. That’s just how it goes.
But since my artistic likenesses aren’t exactly photorealistic, I feel fairly comfortable sharing a painting I did of her. My first one of her, actually–and it was pretty intimidating. Photos rarely capture someone’s personality, and I find with portraits, I will sometimes paint it as closely as I can to the photo, and yet there is something always missing: the personality, which (unless you know the person) is difficult to grasp and (even if you do know them) is difficult to separate from.
One time, my daughter told me she wanted a “gown” to play dressup, so we got some pink thing (a dress? A nightgown?) at my friend’s vintage clothing sale for $3. At the time, her kid-drawings were nothing more than circles with faces, and lines for arms and legs. She called them “monsters,” so I recreated them in acrylic in the background.
When she saw the final piece, she looked for a minute with a critical eye and said, “…is that me?”
“Yes,” I said.
“Is that mine drawings?”
“Yes,” I said. “I put them on the painting. Do you like it?”
She paused for a long time. “I think it is beautiful.” She said.
And that’s pretty cool.
My husband just left on a very long trip. I mean like 9 months. (Although the last time it was for a year, so I’ll just be thankful for that.) There are already a million and one ideas all over the internet, but having been in and around the military for nearly all of my life, there are a few things I’ve picked up that have worked for me to help pass the time while loved ones are away (for whatever reason), and a few more things I’ve learned to help a KID pass the time.
For the grownups, the main thing anyone will tell you is to KEEP BUSY. My husband calls me a shark, because apparently they cannot stop moving or they’ll die. He used to say that each time he went away, he would come home to my having built an entire shelving unit or having done a dozen home improvement projects. That’s just how I roll. Keeping busy, for me, helps keep my mind from watching the clock.
Roller derby was a good distraction in the past. Work. Friends. Projects. Family.
I always warn family and friends to expect a ton of conversation if they call—I work from my computer at home, so I can sometimes go days without talking to an actual grownup. When you call, you might want to be sure you have a little time to chat with me. I’ll probably talk to you about all kinds of random things, down to a new detergent I’m trying or something. Sorry. This is the kind of stuff I bore my husband with on a daily basis.
This trip, I started keeping a little notebook by the bed to sort of write little notes in at the end of the day. Last time, it seems like day to day moved so quickly that I’d forget the seemingly inconsequential things, like a road being repaired, or a new chair for the bedroom. When he came home, I can imagine it must’ve felt like he hadn’t been a part of any of it. It may be boring to read when he gets back, but that’s okay.. I don’t ALWAYS write in it, but if something’s on my mind, it helps. And if he never reads it, that’s cool too. As a matter of fact, maybe it should just be a journal for yourself. There might be all KINDS of crazy stuff in there…
Usually, we pick a TV series to watch together. Well, separately. Or you could both read the same book in separate places.
The first deployment, our daughter was so little (not yet 2 years old), it was difficult for her to understand what was going on. There are all kinds of fun projects for older kids, but not so much for the littler ones. I found with our daughter, what helped was a book from a place called Flatten Me. My husband thought it was a bit silly, but we put daddy’s face into a visual storybook we could read at night and see, and that really helped. We had a “Daddy Doll” that ACS gives free to families, and that was fun to hug the last deployment. This time around, he sits by her bedside table, and we kiss him goodnight.
Now that our daughter’s a little older, she’s a lot more able to understand that daddy’s gone for a long time. I can involve her in sending care packages or writing emails. There are a TON of ideas out there for kids to count down time, but the key in parenting (I find) is finding out what works for YOUR kid, and being totally cool with that, and not letting anyone else make you feel bad for doing anything differently.
For us, with a crafty artsy daughter, I decided to make a paper chain. My friend Ashley B. is a crafty schoolteacher with two kids, and she gave me this idea she used with her kids when her husband was gone: She made a paper chain with her kids, and every day they would tear off one chain as a countdown to when daddy would be home.
(This is Ashley B’s paperchain. The giant rubber band ball is a decoration they use to hang up their kids’ artwork)
But since countdown days always change, I decided we’d make a link each day to add ON to a chain, and maybe decorate the house with it when he comes home. We have a little “Daddy Chain” basket, with strips of construction paper, a stapler, and stickers to decorate each one with, and I write the number of the day on the back of each one. If things get busy one day, or we forget, I just add a blank one on later. No big D. The thing with all these projects is to let them be there to HELP you, not to feel like they’re a chore. Last thing anyone needs is more stress, or pressure to be a Superparent.
We also spruced up a “Daddy Hat.” This is another idea I took directly from my friend Ashley B (the schoolteacher and fellow army wife).
(This is Ashley B’s daughter’s ACU hat. It’s okay to totally snatch ideas from your friends–that’s what military “family” is for.)
I got a regular ACU hat, and took a nametape (that my friend Ashley D made for a craft show, but that you can order from any clothing sales or alterations store) and stuck it on the back. (In aviation, the term “stick buddy” is like your copilot, your pal.) I found an easy flower tutorial on Pinterest and threw a few quick flowers together (my daughter picked the colors). Ashley’s cool tip was that the flowers are actually PINNED on (in our case, with a bobby pin) so you could change them out later if you want. And there ya go!
(This one is ours. A wee bit too big for her, but she loves it.)
Another good thing that helps is letting her decorate a package box. Just get a bunch of your favorite size of Flat Rate boxes from the post office, and bring a few home. Let her go crazy decorating the inside & outside. Take her to the store to pick some things out to put in the package. Let her be a part of it.
So, if you have a partner that’s gone for long periods of time, how do you pass the time on your own? If you have kids, what works for you with them?
First off, I want to give a great big THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH to everyone who participated in our little contest! Win or no, I think it’s amazing how wonderful it is that everyone was able to connect with someone else for such a wonderful experience. Myla said as we were looking through the over 200 entries: “I’m so very PROUD of those people!” And I am, too.
I sent each entrant a personal message of thanks, and our own doodle of the contest head, just for them. Myla & I spent a long time sorting through the entries, and I have to tell you, she was SO excited at what everyone had done. I mean, visibly excited and thrilled. It took a lot of honing down to get her to narrow it down–she wanted to pick them all. And since it was SO very difficult to choose, I decided to not only pick one winner…but THREE. I pretty much let the 4-year old take the lead on choosing, and I respected each of her choices. So, without further ado, here are the winners, in no particular order (since the prize is the same):
Now, when our kid doesn’t win, she gets upset. (She was actually a little upset at first that she couldn’t win THIS contest.) But I’ve taught her to say “I really really wanted to win, but I’m very happy for you.”
Telling a wonderful story was not factored into our decision, but in the spirit of stories, I will tell you some tales of the winning pieces.
- The girl and her robot were created by Christine Kenney and her 6-year old son Desmond. Since the collaborations post, Christine had been meaning to try this with her son, and hadn’t found the time until the contest idea came up, and they enjoyed it a great deal.
- The next (very colorful) piece was created by Susan Garver and her 5-year old Eden. Eden saw the woman as a unicorn with a flower friend. Later, when adding the final touches, Susan remembered the loss of a family friend’s child, whose favorite color was “rainbow.” She finished it with her in mind, and hopes to eventually give it to the family.
- And finally, Laurie Silverstein passed this drawing back & forth to her older daughter. The story goes that when her daughter was around 4, she was happily singing “zip a dee doo dah” in a grocery store cart, and then suddenly burst into tears at the thought of being a mommy…It occurred to the little girl that her own future kids might starve because she “didn’t know where the stores are.” Years later, the daughter got a shoulder tattoo that said “zip a dee doo dah,” to remind her, I suppose, that it will all be okay.
There were so many beautiful stories that weren’t told, and so many beautiful pieces that weren’t chosen, from ALL OVER THE WORLD. Teachers sharing it with their classes, nurses collaborating with patients, families doing the project at a family get-together. Friends adding to the piece from far away to combine a single piece. I sincerely hope it was a fun and fair experience, win or no, for everyone involved. The most amazing thing to come of the Collaborations post, for me, has been hearing about all the wonderful ways the post has inspired you all to do similar projects with your family & friends. And that’s the best thing of all, in my book.
So thank you again to everyone who entered! They were all so beautiful and we are all so very proud. Thank you SO VERY MUCH!
And please, go check out all the beautiful entries on the Facebook page!