The last couple years has been a shift for myself and my family in our understanding of art, culture and specifically what makes an artist? The reason this happened was in no small measure due to my role with the Local Library collective.
I’ve never would’ve self identified as an artist – to me, it felt arrogant or presumptuous – despite the fact that I have always been a writer, poet, drawer and creatively driven person. These efforts were always hobbies, distractions, add-on or just something that was part of a larger more productive role. However, in the past 2 years as I’ve grown in relationships with artists and seen a bit more about the once mysterious world of “arts and culture” I’m much more willing to embrace the artist within me.
As a family we’ve also been doing this. As parent’s we’ve been intentionally more supportive of creative endeavours of our children and have been proactive in keeping the arts on our children’s radar (through the museum, talks about what they want to be when they grow up and in the activities they participate in).
This week we completed our first family painting. It is a large canvas and each one of us has contributed towards its completion. Truth be told – the canvas has been in our basement for years – another one of my quickly forgotten pet projects.
A couple years ago I had an idea for a painting. One night after the children went to bed I began my project at the kitchen table but didn’t get anywhere near completing it. Leaving it dry overnight I awoke the next morning to find all 3 of my children covered in paint as they were “finishing daddy’s painting”. They wanted to surprise me and were quite worried about the glaring sections of the canvass not covered in paint. I took the canvas, stored it in the basement to be revisited at some undisclosed time.
We cleaned that basement this week and the canvas resurfaced. Rather than throwing it away or farming it out to co-workers or friends I put the canvas on the wall as is. My base coat and the children’s touches. Liking what I saw and seeing a long forgotten opportunity to encourage artistic expression I grabbed a bottle of paint, used a throw banket as drop cloth and got each kids to stand on the couch and paint “their mark” directly on the mounted canvas. It was a playful and fun experience that the kids have been proudly broadcasting to all their friends. We are artists.