Childlike Wonder, and Prompt for You

Think what a better world it would be if we all – the whole world – had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap.

~ Robert Fulghum

Coming down off of the holiday season is always a bit tough for me…I so enjoy all of the preparations and music and sparkly magic of everything.  And this year, in particular, was at moments, more chaotic than usual for us.  We had company for extended visits, which is unusual for our little family.

It all seemed a bit noisier than usual.  We were catching up on some school lessons, and I had a lot of business work to get done.  Suddenly, the holidays are over, and I have been mildly fighting that let down that happens after a huge amount of activity and focus.

Do you get the let down?

My kiddos, however, just don’t miss a beat.  They keep right on playing, imagining, creating.  They don’t lose any magic, doesn’t matter if it’s the holidays or the summer or right in the middle of a school week.

So I took some lessons from them.  I’ve been dressing like my four-year-old baby girl: skirts and leggings and layers of shirts, all put together just because I like them.  Not because they necessarily go together, and not just because the patterns match.  She’ll wear eight different shades of pink, with flowers and stripes and stars.  Then she’ll top it off with a sparkly pink tutu, Happy New Year tiara, and costume jewelry.  Oh, and her pink snow boots.

Okay, so I don’t have a tutu, but I did wear clothes that felt pretty and colorful and comfortable (and warm!).

Then I spent time playing with them at the kitchen table, trying all of the new crayons and markers and glitter glue that Santa put in their stockings.  We made colorful drawings of giraffes and little kids and hearts and rainbows and trucks.  We glued together little bits of sparkly wrapping paper and coloring book pages.  And we hung them all over the fridge with magnets.

When’s the last time you made a colorful drawing to hang on the fridge gallery??

To play like a child, to keep a hold of the childlike wonder of a child’s eyes…that is the gift that my kidlets continually bring to me.  They think that I’m teaching them since I run our school day, they think that I’m supposed to be showing them how to be in life.

When in fact, they show me.  How to play, how to let go of my angst, how to remember what the best things in life are.

Art Papers 2Yesterday afternoon and evening I spent some arting time playing and making some artist papers (I have no idea “artist papers” has some other meaning usually, I just kind of categorize these beauties as my art paper).  I use them in all kinds of projects, collage and mixed media works and in my art journals.  I hadn’t sat down and made a batch in some time now, and whew, it was so satisfying!  It seems I’m always working on a planned project these days, I have so many in my head waiting to get out.  But last night, I just enjoyed playing with paint and stamps and making a mess (and it has been too long since I last really thought about Child’s Play)!

The details:

  • I used colorful or interesting magazine full-page ads, spread a very thin coat of acrylic craft paint around on the page, followed by stamping shapes and textures on top of that with other colors of acrylic craft paints.
  • I use my fingers to spread the layers of paint on, no brushes involved in this play!  Sometimes I let layers dry before applying more paint, sometimes I just start with the next layer, not worrying about whether or not the last layer is dry.  
  • Sometimes I spread the layer of paint on the page and then take another page and press it onto the first page and get paint on both pages that way.  Makes for some added neat-o texture.
  • Then I stamp.
  • I typically use stamps that I’ve cut out of craft foam, bubble wrap, rubber bands wrapped around kids’ blocks, that sort of thing.
  • Sometimes I stamp in a pattern, sometimes it’s totally random.
  • All kinds of stuff works as stamps…Broccoli stems, plastic wrap bunched up, fingers, bottle tops, burlap, bubble wrap, q-tips, shapes cut out of styro foam packaging…no limits here.  I love making my own stamps!
  • I will make a bunch of pages at one time, kind of assembly-line-style.  I’ll end up with a few pages in the same color schemes, then I’ll switch it up on other pages.  Drying space is the only limiting factor here 🙂
  • These pages make for awesome fodder for other projects later!  I’ve made art journals, collages, mixed media projects, all using these papers (I usually spend some time just looking at and pondering my favorite pages for a while before using them…I also get wonderful inspiration from them!).
  • This is also a great use for those old magazines you have no idea what to do with…recycle?  give away?  save for a rainy day?  I watch craigslist for those people trying to give away magazines, too.

Art Papers 1

Your Prompt:  Go. Play.  And make some artist papers.  Pull out an old magazine and throw some paint on it.  Use your fingers.  Don’t worry about the mess.  And see what you can find around your house or your studio to use as texture stamps.  It’s fun!!

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