Thursday, February 16, 2017

Snow Days

Out of the last nine weekdays, all three kids have only gone to school two.

Three days all three of them had snow days; two days either one or two of them did; and the other two days, they had early release.

Needless to say, I haven't been getting much done these last couple of weeks.

(And next week is school vacation!!)

I should, in theory, I suppose, be able to work when they're around, but I can't. Or not much anyway.

It's "Hey, mom…" every few minutes.

And even when they're not bothering me, I feel obligated to engage them in other activities so they don't turn into total screen zombies (which, I admit, is a serious danger right about now).

And then there is the bickering, and the need to feed them occasionally.

So I heave them outside on a regular basis (and myself, too, because a daily dose of light—no matter how dim—and fresh air and body movement is essential to surviving February).

Last week's Artist's Way question was: what is your favorite creative block? That was an easy one: my kids. What to do about it (which the book doesn't ask, not yet anyway) is another question.

This is the best I could do for a Valentine heart this year. Can you see two of them?
In addition to outside time and puzzles and games and movies we all watch together (which feel a little healthier than each to his own screen), I've tried to engage them in a little creativity, both to keep them busy and to help me in my creative recovery.

One of The Artist's Way activities is to create an image file where you store pictures of things you want or that represent who you want to be or what you want to do. I figured, why create a file when you can make a collage? And E and I spent a happy evening cutting up old magazines and gluing the pictures onto big paper. My collage, necessarily tending toward nature and birds and travel, because that's what kind of magazines we had available to us, tells a little story about what kind of life I'd like to lead.

"Make art" is a phrase that keeps popping up in my mind—and in my Morning Pages—when I think about how I want to spend my time, and I was able to get all three boys engaged in a little painting project with me (when paint and canvas are involved, I can usually even get M to play along). I'd had an idea for monochromatic landscape paintings, based on a project E and Z had brought home from art class a while ago, and gave each of them a cool paint color, plus white, and had them draw a series of mountain lines.

We started with white with just a little color mixed in for the sky, and then added more color as we moved toward the bottom of the painting (foreground). I suppose I should have talked about value a little more, and maybe it would have made sense to pre-mix the different values to ensure there was enough of a range, but, well, I'm not an artist or art teacher, so we bungle along as best we can. I was left with black (though I thought sure M or Z would pick it) and it was surprisingly a lot more interesting to paint with than I expected.

Z had the idea of adding snow to his—using a mostly-empty squeeze bottle of acrylic paint, and I thought it was a pretty good idea (especially considering the blizzard swirling around outside at the time). E suggested I use an old toothbrush to flick paint on my canvas to make the snow (a trick he learned from a former art teacher), so it was a fun, collaborative project and we all learned from each other.

Another aspect of The Artist's Way is to take a weekly "Artist's Date" all by yourself. I had planned  an extended Artist Date for last Friday, thinking I'd head down to the coast, but I wanted to get some work done at home while the kids were actually at school, and it was brutally cold and windy (not a nice beach day, in other words), so instead I took a shortened date to a nearby not-quite-coastal (but on a tidal river so it feels like it is) town, where I sat in my warm car with hot tea and ate  sticky bun while watching ducks on the river and writing in my journal. I also went to a book store, which I seem to do every Artist Date, but was very good and didn't buy anything.

1 comment:

  1. That's a lot of snow. Love the art work...think I will give it a go with my little man this weekend, they are beautiful.


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