Painting with your toddler is one of the most interesting ways to jazz up your art practice!
One of the most fun collaborations that I did last year was to paint with my 2-year old niece on video call! I showed her some of the paint tubes that were lying on my painty table, and she dictated all of my color choices, as I threw down paint, made marks, and combined colors that I may not have used on my own.
This is the final piece from that first collaboration. When the little toddler and I finished painting together, the page was filled with colors and marks — a vivid explosion of blues, pinks, purple and green, along with some really bold crimson.
When I looked at it the next day with my adult eyes, though, I immediately wanted to tone it all down and push that color back! I happened to find a face in the layers of paint, so I sketched in a loose figure and pushed all the color back with some white.
But I didn’t want to lose my niece’s bold color choices in the painting, so I decided to keep the colors in the figure largely intact, adding in a bit of white and blue to calm some of the vividness, along with some dots and marks in black and gold.
Would I have put all of those colors together in a painting? Probably not. But I have to admit, my inner child had a lot of fun playing with a 2-year old toddler, and I told my sister we had to do this again!
And we did. Just last week. And this time, the vividness of the painting was absolutely stunning! Never in my wildest imagination would I have combined the colors that this little child chose for the painting.
And this time, I most definitely wanted my niece’s “hand” in the painting. No pushing things back or muting the colors down — or not much, anyway. I added a stacked collage in subdued colors along with a simple black and white floral illustration, just pushing back some of the color around the illustration so it could pop out of the page. Next, I added a little found word quote, and called this page done!
The child-like wonder, vivid color choices and lack of inhibitions is like a breath of fresh air when you paint with a child. In fact, it’s like a master class on color, experimentation and play, and an excellent chance to ignore your inner critic and allow your inner child to come out and play! In my book, that’s a win-win!
Have you painted with your children, or with the toddlers in your life?
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Wow! That must have been one fun session!
Your post made me realise it’s so important to bring out the inner child, shut the inner critic and enjoy life every once in a while. We take life a bit too seriously, and fret over what others might think. Kids don’t do that and hence they are so happy, so relaxed, and so free of inhibitions.
What I learned from your story? Losing our inhibitions is important to prevent ourselves from growing into grumpy and grim senior citizens. I am noting that down in my diary.
It was SO fun!! And yes to bring out your inner child, especially when you’re making art!
Gosh these are gorgeous. I absolutely love the colours and textures. I don’t know how you make your paintings so striking and soft at the same time. The quotes add more depth and meaning to the artworks. Your niece already has a wonderful sense of color combination.
Thank you so much, Raj! I’ve started enjoying adding quotes to my artwork recently — pairing up the painting and what I was thinking or feeling really feels like a snapshot of my mood and life! And kids — their vibrancy and love for color, uuf! I want to bring a bit of that boldness into my work, too!
I’m sure these will be experiences she will look back on with so much joy!
Her colour choices are brilliant. Stubborn hope? I love that!
I sure hope she will. I know I look forward to painting with her; they’re such fun sessions! And don’t we all need to stubbornly hold on to hope sometimes?
Stunning. If only we could look at the world with the eyes of the child at all times. This looks like such a powerful to have simple fun.
I know, right? Their way of viewing the world is just so imaginative and refreshing!
What a great Idea to shake up out of our creative lull
this is seriously a game changer for all creatives!
thank you for writing about your experience and sharing this.
I was curious about your Ig post and had daydreamed about what if I invited my neices to my creative routine in this way.it is similar to how I invite my younger cousins to update my music playlist.
looking forward to more.
Oh, you should invite your nieces to your creative routine! I really look forward to the days when my niece wants to paint together. They’re so fun and the colors — they just take my breath away with their vividness!