"Sea Monster" - A Collaboration with my Toddler

December 18, 2015

A Collaboration with my Toddler

"Sea Monster"

by Eve & Ruth Oosterman

Eve is obsessed, and I mean obsessed, with every single Octopus she sees. We make up stories on the daily and do so by incorporating the things we saw and did that day. Inevitably, Eve ends up being the heroine of the story and saves the day by making friends with the villain (by persuading them to change their ways.) Her latest and favorite story is that of the Sea Monster Octopus.

It all began one day when Princess Eve decided she no longer wanted to be a princess. I mean, why on earth would you want to be a princess when you could be a PIRATE!? So off she went to find her very own pirate ship and gathered a loyal and boisterous crew to join. Many adventures they had, whether the high seas or monsters, they overcame them all and soon Captain Eve's reputation was known and feared by all. 

One day though, on a day like no other, everything changed. As Captain Eve's eyes scanned the horizon she noticed the strangest of clouds with an odd, dark, stormy purple hue to them. The wind began to pick up as the clouds raced towards them and the calm sea began to ripple, and ripple, until sea foaming waves began gnawing at Eve's ship. Knowing something was amiss she called to her crew to stand their ground. All of a sudden, out from the crashing waves, came the longest tentacle she had ever seen. She watched as it ever so slowly climbed into the air, soon joined by several others. She peeled her eyes away from the tentacles and looked straight ahead and found herself staring directly into the eye of a giant sea monster. The famous and feared Octopus seemed to peer into her very soul and for once she had no idea what to do! 

Eve heard a deep, bellowing sound that shook them like an earthquake. A few minutes passed and all you could hear was the knees of Eve's entire crew knocking together. THERE! There it was again, that sound that shook the world!

Eve couldn't believe her ears and took a step forward," Excuse me, did you just say... Hello?"
"Yes" thundered the Octopus, "I did." 
"Oh. Hello Mr. Octopus." Eve replied, "Might I be so bold to ask what you want from us?"
"You are the very first person to ask me this," a surprised Octopus said, "thank you for taking the time to see past my intimidating appearance. Every other ship tries to run away from my hugs and get all tangled up in my tentacles, but you ... you actually listened to me!"
Eve could not believe her ears, Mr. Octopus didn't want to harm them, he was just lonely and wanted friends. "We shall be your friends, Mr. Octopus!" And so, after some convincing, her crew saw what Eve saw. They saw a gentle, giant Octopus who was just simply misunderstood, and by not judging him on his looks they all gained a fabulous friend.
Mr. Octopus, Eve and her crew spent the rest of the day enjoying each other's company, he even let them use his giant tentacles as water slides! From that day on, their Sea Monster friend joined them on many adventures and their friendship was one that legends are made of.


Eve and I created this story as we painted "Sea Monster," and has become one of her favorite stories. Collaborating through stories is so simple yet amazing, you just begin a story and pause at the end of every sentence to let them incorporate a new aspect. Between the two of you, you direct the story through many different pathways to create something completely unique. It reminds me so much of the story games you play in camp when you are little.

The painting began as most of our recent pieces do, with a simple pencil sketch. I always ask Eve what colors we should use and she pours them out of the tubes onto the palette. After a year of collaborating I have discovered the best way to keep her incorporation at the forefront without taking it over, which is sometimes very easy to do. It is difficult to balance what you put in to ensure it doesn't overpower your partner's work. What I have begun to do is wait for her to put color down, then I will take a wet paintbrush to dab some of the color and use that to paint with. This way I am not introducing any new or distracting colors, it is all Eve's color scheme. My favorite part of this piece was her dark purple clouds and large blue waves and for her I know she loves painting in all the little fish.

I do hope you enjoy this piece! This will most likely be our last collaboration for the year as the next two weeks will be a whirlwind of family, friends and holidays. We wish you a very Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and New Year. Thank you for following our journey thus far and hope you continue to do so in 2016!

Don't forget to watch the video timelapse!!


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