Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Sleepy Owl

Last night my 5yo and I sat at the kitchen table after dinner and worked in our art journals.  She has her very own sketchbook which she treasures like a jewel. It's wonderful to watch her sit in the big white arm chair in our lounge and scribble away feverishly, or sprawled out on the floor with her crayons.

Her sketching habit came from two sources; necessity, after spending hours in hospital rooms and doctors offices with her baby brother, and reading.  You see she is a prolific and gifted reader, and has been since a very young age.  With such a ferocious appetite for books we've spent many many hours in libraries. One of the things we enjoy most is choosing books based on how beautiful the illustrations are.  We would read the book then pour over the pictures, chatting about the beautiful colors and the funny way the artist would draw things.

One day I looked over her shoulder as she was sketching and noticed she was trying to copy some of the pictures out of one of her books.  I grabbed my art journal and watercolors and sat down with her.  From that moment on she was hooked on art journaling. Now we have so much fun copying illustrations from children's books, changing them, exploring them and even writing about them.  She chooses the page, and off we go. At first she was very literal, trying to copy a picture EXACTLY...right down to the exact colors.  But now, I'm helping her understand that its OK for our pictures to look different from the originals, in fact it's better that way. Now we play a game where we think of ways to make our pictures look different from the one in the book. She thinks she's far better than most of the illustrators we copy, and I agree with her.  She certainly has her own little style and her own very definite ideas about the way things should be. I love it.

It's been a wonderful way for both of us to develop our art technique somewhat, trying to work in a style we wouldn't normally own.  Of course these pictures remain firmly within the pages of our journals. They're mostly unrecognizable when compared to the originals, and we make notes about the books they came from with full credit to authors and illustrators.  I talk to her about how important it is to give credit where credit is due. It's lots of fun.

In the spirit of this, this is the page I did last night from one of her library books.  It's a strikingly beautiful book call "The Sleepy Owl", written and illustrated by Marcus Pfister. He has a fabulously loose style of watercolor painting where everything bleeds into everything else.  Quite different from my own usual style, but lots of fun. The challenge in this case was to change the colors of the owl and draw him awake instead of asleep.  She wouldn't let me show her picture, when I asked her she said "Mom, it's my secret journal". But take my word for it, her picture came out much better than mine.

Thanks for checking in. xx