In Which We Talk About Art, Doodling, and Fun Mail

by Cate on May 3, 2012

The love of art runs deep in our family.  Want to make any of us happy?  Appear on the doorstep with markers.  Or colored pencils.  A fresh stack of assorted paper.  Hole punches.  Washi tape.  You name it, we’ll love it.

When it comes to talent merging with passion, that’s where we all diverge just a bit.  My grandmother was into watercolors.  Acrylics.  Paintings on large scales.  She took a college art class for years and years and years.  And more years.  Every semester, she would drop out just before the final exam, so she could retake it the following year.  Her paintings were mostly flowers and cubes.  Arrays of pinks and purples.  I meant to take pictures of her art to add here, but alas, darkness came too fast, and that will have to wait for another day.  I have one of her pieces hanging in my office, and Madeline’s room, and my sister has one hanging in her daughters’ room.  The paintings remind me of my grandmother’s living room … modern squared off couches and chairs in bright purple, and thick pink curtains.  When we would spend the night there, and wake up and walk into the living room, it was bathed in the most beautiful pink ever.  Much like Madeline’s room is now.  Although my grandmother and I rarely saw eye-to-eye, I miss visits to her home.

My sister and mom definitely have my grandmother’s artistic bent, and can draw mostly anything you ask them to.  As for me?  I’m a complete doodler.  My home and office desks are littered with scraps of colorful doodles, drawn after being stuck on the phone too long, or after a frustrating day.  Nick now steals my doodles and has started taping them to his bedroom wall.

calendar doodles

“Mom, how did you do that?  That’s awesome!”

Um, I don’t know, just a bunch of lines and a little bit of free time.


I’m also a fan of doodling on mail.  You know, snail mail.  The kind we don’t get too often anymore.  I’m on a mission to bring that back.  Help me out with that, ok?
fun mail

The kids are always drawing, coloring, stealing my markers.  They both have gobs of creativity, more in their pinkies than I do in my whole body.

And I love that they’re so passionate about it.

Our mini art gallery at home (see more about it here) is a rotating display of things the kids make both here and at school. Two weekends ago, after amassing a small collection of paint chips, we made rainbows with the scraps.

art wall

art wall

art wall

Tonight we rushed through dinner to get to the Festival of Arts at Nick’s school.  It’s something they do every year, and it’s a terrific way to show off how seriously they take their art program.  Over seven hundred kids in the school.  Each student gets three pieces picked to display for the festival.  It’s fun to go up and down the halls, and see the different renderings from the different grades.  They study different artists and techniques throughout the year, and tonight’s festival is the culmination of all that.

(Nick’s birch tree art is in the shot below)nick's birch trees

birch tree wall

dot art


Here, after making the patterned splotches, they had to interpret what they saw, and write a poem (the one below is Nick’s).
splotch interpretation

This one below is from the first graders, but no surprise that I loved it. Can’t wait for Madeline to get there to do hers.
rainbow art

tree branch art explanation

tree branch art

I loved this idea:
i wish art

cubist hands studies

cubist hands art

color wheel art

monster art

The below pieces are part of the fifth grade display:
head art

head art

head art

head art

head art

Are those stunning or what?

Back tomorrow!

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Joanne May 4, 2012 at 6:35 am

I LOVE how into art your kids’ school is! I think it’s so great to have that creative outlet firstly because it’s so cathartic and relaxing and secondly because having a kid think, “I’m bored, let me draw something” is way better than “I’m bored, let me eat twinkies and sit in front of the tv” :P


Cathy May 4, 2012 at 9:31 am

hey…. that snail mail looks familiar!! Jason thought there was something REALLY cool in the envelope…


Cate May 4, 2012 at 1:29 pm

And there WAS! ;)


Meg May 4, 2012 at 1:07 pm

I’m all about snail mail, too, and try to send “real” mail as much as possible! I’m not much of an artist but occasionally include cute quotes and other ephemeris. Stickers are more my bag . . . I can’t send anything without stickers. It’s just too naked.


Cate May 4, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Yes, Yes, Yes!! I’m a sticker collector from way back and hoard my sheets and hide them from the kids. Do you have any awesome online sources for stickers? I’m also getting back into rubber stamping. I have SO missed those days.


Ramona May 7, 2012 at 3:49 pm

Great imaginations!


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