I love watching my children paint. The way they freely express themselves – there is no self-consciousness, no worrying over whether their painting is “good” or “true to life” – just the innocent and carefree joy of getting messy and making a beautiful picture. They paint from the heart, paint for the love of painting and are proud of what they create. It’s interesting to see how their paintings evolve over time and look back at all the different types of painting that they have produced.
1) The treasured footprints and handprints
The first moment my children encountered paint was that moment when I tried to capture the smallness of their hands and feet and preserve it forever. Those baby toes wriggling as the paintbrush tickled the sole of a tiny foot. The funniest expression – a mixture of surprise and wonder – as if to say “what is this strange stuff that Mummy is painting on my foot?” And then trying to quickly press their foot against the paper before they wriggled again. One tiny footprint, captured in time. It seems hard to believe that those little feet were once that small.
The first captured handprint came a little later. Try as I might, I could not get those tiny little fingers to uncurl for long enough – the first few attempts ended up with paint everywhere but on the paper! We got there in the end though.
Later on, with more willing participants, footprints and handprints were perfect for personalised gifts and cards – this year’s Christmas presents for the grandparents were handprint ceramic tiles.
2) A milestone moment – the very first painting
Those chubby little fingers gripping a paintbrush and dipping it in the pot of paint, before grabbing the end of the brush and feeling the slippery texture of the paint between their fingers. Some of the paint ended up on the paper; most of it ended up on the child! The finished result – general splodges on a piece of paper but treasured nonetheless.
3) Abstract art
The stage of getting more used to painting with a brush or fingers, stamping with cookie cutters, cut-out potatoes or sponges or using anything else with interesting shapes or textures. Creating lots of colourful pictures which were declared to be “animals” or “Mummy” or whatever word happened to come into their head at the time. Sometimes if you squinted at it for ages, you might have seen some vague pictures in amongst the swirls of colour, a bit like looking for pictures in the clouds. Sometimes the paintings even ended up looking vaguely like what they were described as being although this was maybe more luck than design.
4) Muddy brown splodges
Ah the joy of mixing colours into one big swirl of muddy brown and covering the entire piece of paper with it! One of those pictures where your little one holds it up, proudly announced “finished” and you smile broadly and say “oh that’s lovely, darling!” while mentally deciding that this one will end up in the recycling sooner rather than later!
5) Recognisable pictures
That proud moment when your child paints something that is recognisable for the first time. Their picture of Mummy might have a huge mouth, green hair and elephant ears sticking out of the side of her head but it’s clearly supposed to be a person at least.
I love seeing the paintings that my children create (yes, even the muddy brown splodge ones!). Whilst ultimately most of them end up in the recycling bin, or cut up to be used as backdrops for making cards (thus helping provide another outlet for my children’s creativity!), I try and keep the odd one here and there in my children’s artwork folders. Those I want to remember, but cannot keep, I photograph instead. These wonderful pieces of art with their coloured splodges of paint spread randomly across a page are precious mementoes of this time when my children are small, carefree and completely uninhibited in their creativity.
Inspired by Mum Turned Mom for The Prompt #98 – “Paint”