I’m so glad we packed our travel art bag on our trip to the D.R. because the vegetation was incredible! I collected leaves and flowers obsessively. I was the strange American lady who kept jumping into the bushes to pick up fallen leaves and snap off flowers. (Even my kids started taking a different route back to the room.) These were some of our lessons.
I set up the watercolors by the pool on a rare cloudy afternoon. Teaching them to observe and paint from a still life was interesting. I always love watching their eyes and their hands trying to coordinate. My daughter got frustrated because she couldn’t create the fine lines in the leaves. But I love the gesture and life that she put into her painting. My son’s leaves are more delicate as he is a very prolific artist. He spends no more than 12 seconds on any particular piece of art.
Back at the room, I put some of the cut flowers in a glass. My oldest daughter and I both painted the same flower. I don’t really like painting the same thing as my kids because they tend to look over and say that mine is better. But actually, this time my daughter became so focused she never even looked up. And it was fun for me to paint, too.
My last little lesson was with my son. I really wanted to paint the palm trees because they were everywhere! And there were so many different varieties. I told him to just look right in front of him and pick a tree or a leaf and just really try to observe. He looked at the light and shadow, the different greens, the bark and the roots, and the direction of the leaves. I loved watching his head look up and down as he was drawing. I’m not sure he understood me at first when I said “observe”, but now he is very confident with that word.
These paintings mean a lot to me. I am really proud of how much they cared about their work. Maybe they were just amusing their weird mom, but I even appreciate that! Wait until I take out all of the leaves that I’m pressing in between books in the living room right now. I hope they are ready for round two.