The Family That Paints Together Stays Together

The original saying, “The family that prays together stays together,” was a slogan invented Al Scalpone (not to be confused with Al Capone) and was first uttered on March 6, 1947 as an ad during the radio program, Family Theater of the Air (click here for more info).

You’ve probably just learned something new.

You’re welcome.

The two-story blank wall in our entry way has always been the bane of my husband’s existence. Blank walls really get on my husband’s last nerve. He’s an architect. I think that sums it up.

After ten and half years in this house with this blank wall, my husband finally decided that he had had enough. It was time to do something about it. He’s a professional on deliberation especially when the decision is important (it took nine years of dating before he decided that I was the one). During Christmas break of 2011, Mike and the kids brainstormed and the solution was the Family Art Wall (FAW).

This solution was presented to the Family Manager (moi) and was approved with reservations.

It’s a two-story blank wall, people.

However, I really wanted to be viewed as encouraging whimsy in our house since I’m usually dubbed, “the funsucker”. (Say it carefully.)

The FAW was to be done by December 31, 2011, but due to multiple delays (we all got hit with a long-term mokus) it did not get done until this summer (around the 11th anniversary of living in this house).

It turned out really well and we all love it. When we tried describing it to our friends and family, some were like, “cool” and some were like, “huh?”. Those in the “huh?” category were probably worried we were turning our household into some weird liberal-art colony-free love-free thinking hippie commune. Maybe we did and maybe we didn’t (wink, wink).

Without further ado, I present to you, my loyal followers, the Family Art Wall:

In order from Top to Bottom:

Jack’s creation: He combined his love of making a mess with his love of Origami.

Rachel’s Creation: Her piece is a thinking person’s piece. The phrase is in contrast with the background – very artsy.

Mike’s creation: His piece is a compilation of the people in his life. Not to be too cliché, but family is important to him. He really could give Ward Cleaver a run for his money.

My creation: If you have been a long-time follower of this blog, you know that artsy stuff is an extreme challenge for me so please don’t judge too harshly. One of my friends said it looked like a gay foodie poster which wasn’t my original intention, but she does have a point!

Maddie’s creation: The girl LOVES to bake so this is a perfect representation of one of her many interests.

As you can see, the kids have taken after their father in the creativity/art department! Aren’t they talented?

Next project? The other blank wall in our house. It’s located our fancy living room that we never use (and only one-story). Look for an update in the summer of 2013.

Still Searching

Yesterday, I read an interesting article that showed up in my Twitter feed (thanks, JS!) – This is the Worst Career Advice You Can Get. It’s posted on the blog, Resume Bear.

The title was provocative enough that I had to read it. The premise was shocking to me. But, by the end of the article, I was nodding my head. It actually gave me peace.

As you may or may not know, I’m in the 4th year of my mid-life crisis (at what age do I have to stop calling it that and just say, “crisis”?). So, this article was timely for me. It made me feel a lot better because I don’t know what I love to do. I like to do a lot of things and am pretty sure most of them aren’t career-worthy.

As a curiosity, I did order the book mentioned in the article – Do What You Are. What am I and what should I be doing? Well, I will let you know as soon as I read the book. I can’t wait to find out!

As stated in the article, “Try stuff!” That’s what I’ve been doing over the last 4 years. I’ve tried knitting, oil painting, blogging, cooking, food blogging (fogging?), kick boxing, swimming, running, etc. Now, I’m going to add another new thing to my list – drawing. 

Yeah. . . . . while in my painting class, the realization that I was severely lacking in a critical skill became glaringly clear. I really needed to know how to draw.

Take a gander at these babies ~

So, I’ve decided to learn how to draw (so I can paint better). I’ve been having a little trouble finding a beginning drawing class for my age group (they have classes for ages 10 and under). I’ve had visions of looking like Billy Madison sitting in a tiny chair at a tiny table watching 10-yr olds blow my stick-figure family drawings out of the water!

No. Thank. You.

With that image in mind, I went to my local craft store and purchased some art books for beginners, pencils and a fancy tablet of paper. I’m going to “teach” myself for a bit until I can find an appropriate class for middle-aged break-out artists like myself.

These art “things” have been sitting on the  “fancy” dining room table calling to me, “Hey, when are you gonna open us up and start drawing?” I put them there so I didn’t have to look at them – I rarely walk into the “fancy” dining room.

Why am I so intimidated? Every time I think about drawing, I’m thrown back into my 7th grade art class with Mrs. Rose. I hated art class. I was NOT good and Mrs. Rose seemed to point that out to me on a regular basis. Now, in hindsight, was she really that insensitive? Probably not. But, my insecure 12-year-old self interpreted her comments that way. You know how certain memories stick with you?

Okay, I’m drawing my Camaro using the grid process to do so. Do you know what I mean?  You rip a picture out of a magazine and using a ruler, make grid on the picture with quarter-inch squares and then you transfer your picture to a large piece of paper with a corresponding grid – do you remember doing that? I hated that project! I thought art was tedious.

Well, to make a long story short, I drew my car which I was really proud of (it actually looked like the Camaro in the picture)! She came around to my desk and . . . . . . shot me down (I can still recall this event vividly). You see, the sun that I had drawn on the horizon was “too childish and immature-looking” (see top part of the reconstruction). I needed to make it look more “artistic and modern” (see bottom part of the paper). Ummmm….. “What about my awesome car which was the whole point of the freakin’ project?”  Not a word about my car. I thought art was subjective and up for interpretation – an open-ended question with no right answer. Apparently not.

It was that day in the year of our Lord 1978 that I decided that I hated art class and anything to do with art. In my childish brain (I was twelve), it didn’t matter what I did, apparently I wasn’t good at it. That’s when I turned to and found comfort in numbers, equations and mathematics. There was only one right answer and 99% of the time I knew how to find it.

Note to Self: Be careful what you say to your children, it can make a serious impact. I try to remind myself every day.

So, back to the present. I’m trying to break out of my insecure 12-year-old self trapped in a 45-year-old body and do some drawing! Last night I finally got the courage to break out my supplies and start sketching. I read the first chapter of one of the books and, as instructed, looked at the pictures of the model tulips, put pencil to paper and Voila! A tulip was born!

You are witness to my first sketches since 7th grade art class. Behold!

Only reassuring and artistic-talent-confirming comments and opinions please. I’m still a little fragile. Of course, the hubs and the kids “said” that the sketches were “good” and “not bad”. I have a good support team.

I’m supposed to sketch about 20 minutes a day – practice makes better (I can’t say perfect in this scenario). It’s hard to find that much free time (I’m supposed to be working out 30 minutes a day too), but I’m going to make an effort.

Here’s to breaking out and trying new things!