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    Load Your Brushes

    “It doesn’t make much difference how the paint is put on as long as something has been said.  Technique is just a means of arriving at a statement.”

    Jackson Pollock

    How long has it been since you painted a picture?  I’m always facilitating artistic activities for Pip, and often we create things together, but it has been awhile since I felt compelled to paint MY VERY OWN PICTURE!  Pip inspired me.  She introduced me to a cool technique and I had to try it out.

    Our medium was tempura paint on heavy, watercolour paper.  Pip loves gooping the paint on paper in thick, creamy dollops, then adding several colours to the mix.

    initial globs

    The way she loads her brush is impressive; check out these colours:


    I try to stay completely out of Pip’s creative process, only offering suggestions when it comes to cleaning and caring for the brushes.  I often ask questions along the way, but I never ask what she’s painting.  She doesn’t have to paint a what.

    After Pip had been painting for awhile, she said, “Mama, I’d like to use a tampon to paint with.”

    “A what???”  I asked, silently questioning my decision to use correct terminology when Pip discovered my stash of feminine products.

    “You know, a tampon, like we did before.”

    Thankfully, I remembered that we had used Q-tips to paint with last week.  “Oh, you mean Q-tips, honey.  I’ll get some.”  I could understand how she confused the two bathroom staples.  (Thankfully I’ve never made the same mistake.)

    Pip proceeded to swirl the Q-tips over her painting with furious intensity.  Her arm moved quickly and expertly, like she’d been using the technique for years.  It was awesome!  A vision of Ed Harris playing Jackson Pollock flashed through my mind.

    qtip action

    loaded tip

    “I’m finished, Mama.  Want to play a game?”   Kids switch gears soooooooo quickly.

    “Whoa there Pipster.  Slow down a minute so that we can take this in….you’ve created a masterpiece!  Your painting is absolutely stunning!  You were so creative to use the Q-tip to swirl the paint around, and it looked like so much fun!”


    I’d been occupied taking photos up until this point, but I realized that I wanted to try the Q-tip technique.  “I’m going to paint a picture now Pip.”

    “Okay.  Can I help you Mama?”

    “I’d like to make a painting of my very own, Pip, but you can paint another picture.”

    And so we created; side by side.  Pip couldn’t resist donating a few globs of blue to my painting:

    mamas paint

    and I added some purple to hers:

    stellas second

    I must reluctantly admit that when Pip told me her second painting was done I asked her if she was going to add more swirls.  (Shame on me.)  Her response was perfect: “That isn’t what’s in my mind, Mama.”

    Needless to say, my experience with paint was incredibly satisfying.  I’ll do it again.  Soon.

    If you haven’t sat down in front of a glorious array of paints in awhile, you’re missing out.  Let me offer you this challenge: load a brush.  It’s good for the soul.


    1 comment to Load Your Brushes

    • Aurora

      Loved this one, Karen. A few laughs along the way as I admired the work of an up and coming artist. You’ll have to guess which one of you I think has the talent!

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