Two Years Later

March 24, 2016

 Collaborations with my Toddler

"The Red Boat"

Two years later

"The Red Boat" was the very first, and somewhat accidental, collaboration with my then two year old toddler, Eve. The last two years we have embarked on an artistic journey (more like adventure really) to discover how many ways we can collaborate. These collaborations have bonded us not only as mother and daughter, but as artistic peers. Intertwining our personalities and passions more than I could have ever imagined, pushing both of us out of our comfort zones.
While one might assume that I have become her art teacher I am quick to admit that she has taught me more than I think I could ever teach her. She has constantly pushed me out of my box and shown me firsthand that "mistakes" are just new opportunities that just hadn't presented themselves yet. They are simply happy accidents that add character forcing you to adapt and evolve as an artist.
When this video first went viral we received many mixed reviews, while many were supportive about the idea of collaborating with a child some were not. Unfortunately, the lack of info and background story that was missing from the initial viral video was mainly to blame so I thought I would provide one here!
Children are the masters of creativity. They are born with natural talent and a passion for life as it is, no biases or lack of confidence, they simply do what comes first with no second guessing. It has been an immense blessing to be given the opportunity to create with my daughter. She has full say in every single collaboration, start to finish, most of the themes are determined or inspired by her. As she has gotten older we have begun painting simultaneously with her choosing the color palette and subject matter more often than not.
There are so many positives to collaborating with a child as long as you follow some basic rules.
First, have fun. The end product is NEVER the goal, it is the journey that is the most rewarding and memorable. Second, always ask permission. Whether you are collaborating with a child or adult, it is of the utmost importance to realize there is no leader or teacher when it comes to collaborating, you must see and treat each other as equals. Allow your minds to combine as one for a brief amount of time, work back and forth in cohesion and accept that your own ideas can only be enhanced by your partners. It may be hard to let go but that is the beauty in collaborating. It is going on a journey with someone else and taking turns holding the reins with no judgement or criticism, and simply being open to any and all possibilities.
While there are many rewarding aspects to collaborating you must still be careful when working with others, especially children. Some children may be very sensitive to change or protective over their work and that is 100% natural. You should only collaborate with children if they are receptive to the process and it builds them up, the minute you see any negative results you should definitely stop. Every single one of Eve's works have been perfect in my eyes, I am truly her biggest fan, I would never collaborate with any of them if she hadn't wanted me to! This should always be a joint project that brings joy and excitement for all involved.
Collaborating with your child, when they have given their permission and show excitement about the process, can have so many positive side effects. Collaborating with them provides you the opportunity to teach them about teamwork, sharing, creativity, techniques, color theory, patience and so many more character builders. By fostering and encouraging artistic style it only enhances their strength and confidence to embrace their uniqueness. It is so important to teach them to find beauty in everything they do, for as long as they remains true to themselves, then no other opinion should matter. Not only does collaborating provide that crucial bonding time children so desperately need but it helps you lay the foundation for so many life skills and creates a bridge for strong communication. If they know you value their opinion and ideas they will be much more likely to come to you when they face a problem.
Thank you so much for following mine and Eve's artistic journey and supporting us with your kind and encouraging comments! We will continue to create together as long as Eve remains interested, I am careful to space out our collaborations to ensure Eve never feels any pressure.
To follow Eve's solo work feel free to like her FB page:
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