Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me & Other Milestones

I celebrated my thirty-sixth birthday over the weekend, and again was reminded of how uneventful birthdays can become once you're an adult, and especially a mother! I always sort of expect to have a day where I get to do anything I want. Well, I guess if cleaning up toys and taking care of cranky kids is what I want, then I got my wish! Ha ha!

No, I'm kidding (sort of...!). It was actually a pretty nice day. We went to the beach in the morning, my sisters and their families came over for cake in the evening, and my husband took care of the kids for a few hours so that I could do my annual birthday piece of art.

I'm real happy with the way it turned out. Each little "room" of the house signifies something about the last year of my life. The journaling reads, "It's been a year of trying to find BALANCE. Balancing my weight (I lost a bunch of weight after Noah was born), balancing my own time with the kids' time, balancing responsibility between Jason and myself. Sometimes up, sometimes down."

One thing I'm really pleased with is the little bear family. These were actually all separate images that I placed together and modified to form the grouping. They worked perfectly to represent me and the two kids, and my husband watching us.

Then, besides my birthday, we've also had some other small milestones in the house lately. The first is Noah learning to talk. He's been saying a couple words for several months now, but now all of the sudden he's talking up a storm, learning new words every day! So I figured I'd better do a spread in his book about it... Two of the first things he said were "bye-bye" and growling like a lion, so I illustrated those, then also listed several of the other words he's now saying.

And, how thrilled do you think I was to see this come out of Riley today??

I know the little labels I've written are probably too small to read, but we've got eyes, eyebrows, nose, mouth, hands, and shoes! For a few days, I've sort of suspected he was drawing "face-like" images, but everytime I'd notice them, he was already onto something else, so I wasn't sure if it was just a fluke. So today, I sat and watched him draw, and sure enough, he told me what each of the items were as he drew them! I'm just so excited, because now the fun begins with his art, instead of just scribbles and stickers!

I'll leave you with a laugh today. Here is where I found Noah a few days ago. Don't let his innocent little face fool you- he can be a real troublemaker sometimes!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Here's a piece I did yesterday. (I think you can see a larger version on my Flickr site.) I usually don't go into these pieces with the intention of using "personal imagery", but I guess I'm just drawn to certain themes, etc., so that's usually what ends up coming out. Here I started with the two little boys on the steps, then added the two bunnies on bikes. At that point, I was obviously representing my two boys, so I added the swimming pool and picnic table at the top, since those are what a good portion of our time consists of these days. And I'm just now noticing that the tree which wraps around the top of the house is separated into two sections, which could represent my husband and myself, protecting and nurturing the family...

See? Your art really does speak about you, even without that intention. For those of you who have seen my book, this is the sort of thing I'm talking about, especially in the section about analyzing your artwork. I constantly discover themes and imagery that I've used without "meaning to"...

Anyway, I hope all you mothers had a great Mother's Day on Sunday! We decided to go to the beach with the kids. It's amazing to me that I live 15 minutes from the beach now, yet we rarely go. It's just so difficult with babies, but now that Noah's walking, it's a lot easier, and I think I'll try to make it a more regular thing.

I took my camera, and got a lot of really great photos. The beach is such a great backdrop for photos! My kids are difficult to shoot these days because they never want to sit still for a photo, and ask them to smile? Forget it! So this was a perfect opportunity to get some shots while they were naturally having fun.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Journal Pages

Even though I have more fun doing the sort of art I showed in my last post, I still feel drawn to work in the boys' journals. I do have to admit that at times it feels like a "chore" to work in the journals when I'd rather be doing "fun" art, but every time I complete a spread, I'm glad I did it, because I know how much these journals will mean to me (and hopefully them!) as we get older.
The first is in Riley's book, about his favorite color, yellow. He is really obsessed with it! I think it began with his favorite pacifier, which was yellow, and then progressed from there. Now, it is definitely his first preference if there's ever a choice between colors. The photo is of him standing in front of a wall with yellow pieces of paper on it, which resulted from a game we play about colors. As you can see in my journalling, he has a little trouble pronouncing it, so it comes out "yeyyow"!

It's funny, because my plan was to do the whole spread in almost entirely yellow. Obviously, that didn't happen- I just couldn't seem to get things to work. But I still think it feels like a "yellow" piece for his sake!
The second spread is about Noah's first haircut. There wasn't much to cut, but he was getting a pretty long curl in the back, so he was risking looking like a kid from the 80's (remember those "tails" people had? Yuck!). He was perfect throughout the haircut, just sat and watched. I kept a little bit of the curl from the back and glued it to the page here.
It's staying consistently warm here, so we're getting some summer things set up, including a sprinkler. Noah had a fun time checking it out for the first time!
And here's a photo of Riley painting. I'm really excited, because this week, I'm starting a toddler's art group, inspired by this blog. I'm not sure what to expect with this age kids-both my kids tend to lose interest in art projects pretty quickly, but I'm hoping that having other kids around will keep their attention a little better. If nothing else, it will be fun to watch them make messes of themselves!