DIY family therapy: get your brushes ready!

paintbrushes.jpgFor those who don’t know, my kids and I go to family therapy once a week. We need it. We don’t always meet together for the whole time: sometimes Luka exits for things that are beyond his need-to-know level, sometimes one of the other kids will leave. Lately, Luka has been using the big white board and markers to draw while we prattle on. He draws Pokemon characters, makes up his own characters, sets out dramas and battles, or does math. Last week our therapist turned all the focus on Luka and the drawing he’d been working on for almost half an hour. The therapist started asking Luka about his drawing. Tessa, Graydon and I were all skeptical—obviously, Luka’s “guys” were action/hero/anime characters, and any therapist trying to turn them into family members was hokey. Until he got Luka talking, and thinking, and explaining, and then, hey! some of that psych-talk started to make a particular sense of what Luka had been doing. More the dynamics of it than a literal translation.

I did three years of fine art history ad studios for my first degree. I loved painting, but I don’t think it loved me. My instuctor in second year, looking at a beautiful abstract painting I’d done in pale blues and sand and white, with some texture and some glossy, transparent glazing, said:

“That’s a lovely painting. It would look good in a bathroom.”


Well, Don, it is in the bathroom. And it looks lovely.

I digress.

Graydon went through a painting/pastel/drawing phase a year and a half ago. Tessa is always arting something, most recently the inside of her closet door. But we’re all feeling something in the air, and we’ve been building up supplies for this weekend’s DIY family art therapy event.

• gather all old paints (my acrylics from university—have I mentioned I never throw anything out until it is finished?)

• gather all paintbrushes and test them (if a brush is shedding bristles, out it goes)

• assemble all paintable surfaces—Graydon rescued some canvases on recycling day, I’m donating a couple of my old paintings, we have some pieces of boards that’ll be great

• find anything in recycling that can be used for water

• scavenge old sponges (from the tub and makeup drawer and the kitchen), feathers, toothbrushes, rags, and a couple old sheets for dropcloths

We went to an old art supply shop I went to when I was in school—does this sound like a walk down memory lane? We bought acrylics in 500ml jars (much cheaper than in tubes), a palette or two, a set of brushes for the boys—the girls use my old ones—and some stretched canvases and boards. Tonight, we’ll gesso everything, and tomorrow, we paint.

I’ll share the results Monday, good and good and extra good (there are no bad paintings!).

QUESTION FOR THE DAY: how do you “honour” your kids’ artwork? Do you put it up all over the house with masking tape? Temporary showings? Do you frame? Restrict art to bedroom, playroom and fridge? Have you embraced the digital world and record the children’s art to CD? And a huge question: what do you save?!?

Thanks for replying, commenting, whatever we call it. If you want to leave your name or email out of you reply, just tell me and off it comes!

Have a great weekend!


One Response

  1. We always let the kids put whatever they wanted on the fridge, spilling over to the cupboards. One day I realized that what I wanted to keep was not necessarily what they wanted to hang. So I have been plaquing some of my favourites over the years. I figured some day when tthay have that first apartment, or decorate their first baby room, they may appreciate my choices! Hey, they may never want to take them, but at least I saved the art that I liked!

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