Throughout this quarantine thing, I’ve perpetually been unmotivated to make personal work. I dunno. Just don’t feel like I have a whole lot to say right now. On top of having to keep three small kids entertained 24-7, this just feels more like a time for observation. Im hesitant to try to latch onto an idea when everything is changing so rapidly from day to day.
Right now, my main gig is being a dad, and trying to help sustain some sense of normalcy in these unprecedented times. They’re observant, and I know they’re well aware that something weird is going on.
While I haven’t been painting a whole lot, I’ve been trying to draw with the kids more. They all have sketchbooks they keep out here in my shop. Each has different things they like to draw, and unless they specifically ask for help, I’m pretty hands off. I like watching them explore for themselves, and the last thing I wanna do is push them and make it not fun. I started drawing because I dug it, and still do. Regardless of how much they may want to pursue it, I want them to enjoy it and understand how to use it to express themselves.
Buuuut with Mother’s Day coming up, I thought it might be fun to harness some of this creative energy into making some self portraits for mom. Actually, I’ll be honest, I didn’t really plan it so much as it happened organically.
Milton, our 5 year old found a charcoal self portrait I’d drawn, and said he wanted to do one. We sat down in front of a mirror and I talked him through it, helping here and there, mostly explaining the technical stuff, how to use a smudge stick, eraser, gouache, etc.
Milton has a keen interest in drawing and painting. He has a very natural understanding and a focus that honestly kind of trips me out. He banged out a pretty sweet little drawing!
So good, in fact, that when Melvin, our 8 year old saw it, he was like “I want to make a self portrait too!”
So we sat down and I walked him through the same process. Melvin tends to be much more critical of his drawings, and throughout the process he kept lamenting on how he was screwing it up and blah blah blah…but he didn’t get super frustrated and he kept going until it was finished, so I’ll chalk it up as a win. In the end, I think he did a great little drawing.
When Milton saw it, he was SO impressed with it. You could tell it made Melvin feel more proud of it.
Elle, our daughter, is 2, and while she loves going through my paintings and demonstrates an impressive visual vocabulary, she hasn’t really shown much interest yet in drawing. She scribbles in her sketchbook, but it’s more just playing with colors and stuff. Buuut when I showed her her brothers’ portraits, and asked her if she wanted to draw one too, she was enthusiastic :).
Since she’s 2 and gives no shits, I helped her by far the most. However She contributed heavily to every stage, often drawing simultaneously with me. Boy you think you suck at drawing, try having a two year old scribbling over what you’re doing literally as you’re doing it!
Anyway she did awesome, and was totally into it every step. Especially the painting part. It was stressful at times, but overall it was a lot of fun. There’s actually a decent drawing under there, but it’s much better this way.
And in the end, we have these three rad little drawings! Found this triple matted frame marked down to 4 bucks on the Michael’s website that I think works pretty well and will keep them safe at least.
A couple days later, Milton wanted to try again, so we did a double self portrait where I sat him in my lap and we worked on the same drawing. He killed it-AND I didn’t help at all this time. That’s all 100% him! 😀
In addition to the little kids portraits, I had to squeeze in something too. Every year for Mother’s Day I try to do a drawing of the kids for mom. After doing these portraits with the kids, and doing a few material tests on my own, I drew this little piece based off of a photo of them I took about a month ago. It’s 11×11 inches, charcoal and gouache on Stonehenge paper. Tried to keep it loose and have fun with it. I like the challenge of working relatively small like this because it forces me to generalize shapes and use the paper texture more.
I haven’t shown her yet, but she never reads my posts so….
Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there. We love you.❤️