The Sunflower Princess

September 10, 2014

The Sunflower Princess

A painting collaboration with my toddler 

Today's collaboration portrays my most precious treasure, my daughter. Once she was finished her drawing she thrust it at me saying, "Paint, Paint, Paint?!?!" to which I obviously responded, "SURE!". I then asked her what she wanted me to paint and she said, "EVE!"

 O boy.

I began to wish she said something easy like a wooded forest or a porcupine!

As I sat their staring at her drawing I had no idea where I was going to even begin. Slowly but surely I found a home for her beautiful face using one of her lines for the jawline, once I had that the rest just flowed.

I struggled with certain areas due to the amount of lines she had drawn and that the black ink bleeds when wet, changing the colors I initially paint with. I am still learning to find a balance of what I can paint while staying true to her original lines. Due to this learning process there are some collaborations where either mine or Eve's work becomes more dominant.

As all of our collaborations start, Eve created her own sketch with an ink pen which I then use to turn into a watercolor painting. The sketch is completely her own with no instruction given from me, I simply use her creativity to inspire me to create a painting. 
Make sure to watch the time lapse video of the process from start to finish! 

 I also wanted to answer some recent questions I have been asked about the process.
 How long does each painting take to finish?

I find as we leave childhood we begin to over analyze the things we do and lose that precious aspect of letting go, because of this I have chosen to speed paint the pictures she provides. All of the pieces are completed within 30 - 60 minutes, the reason for this is I don't want to give myself any wiggle room to over analyze or second guess. 
As an artist I struggle with letting go and seeing "mistakes" as part of the painting and this helps me quell the desire to fix them and appreciate them instead. 
 Why does Eve use an Ink Pen and not a marker?

That started off as an accident, she had found my ink pen and loved using it. That was part of the reason I used watercolor on that very first drawing because I knew the beautiful effect it would have on the paper. The ink pen marks immediately become a type of paint once you touch it with a wet paintbrush. It makes it easier to blend into the colors I add and also adds a dark intensity that I wouldn't be able to create otherwise. It's part of Eve's collaborative effort that gets to make an impact throughout the entire painting.

HOWEVER I definitely look forward to having her try out a variety of colors and am excited to see how it changes our future collaborations. 

What does your daughter think of your final drawings and the changes you make to hers?

She thinks it is hilarious. I'm not kidding. I know a time will come where she will limit my side of the collaboration and take more part in the process, which is something I look forward to, but right now she loves it. She likes being able to choose which drawing I get and stands by helping me choose what colors to use. Once she sees the video time lapse we create of our process she makes me put it on repeat over, and over and over. We shall see how long that lasts! :)

To purchase prints of this painting please visit our Etsy shop at:

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  1. enfin de l'art ! j'adore, fabuleux.
    vous êtes une vrai artiste !
    malheureusement, elle va grandir, et donc fini les gribouillis ! (plus d'inspiration dommage)
    mais ce la dis, il y a des tonnes d'école, avec des tas d'enfants et de gribouillis ! :-)

  2. Dear Ruth,
    Came to your site via Buzzfeed to see more of your amazing collaboration with Eve.

    First of all, Eve has such a natural talent on her own -- even the way she holds a pencil is very painterly. With her hand relaxed and sitting way back on the pencil, she is able to produce loose strokes. Her drawings have nice composition and reveal her deft hand. Brava!

    And then your inspired additions to hers really resonate with me, as I like corroborations, too -- of any kind. Like "Two heads are better than one."

    So lovely you discovered this sweet activity to do with your daughter. We'll stay tuned -- I think we'll be hearing more from Eve and you!


    1. Hello Josie!

      You are completely right about Eve's natural talent, I am actually learning from her through her way of holding the pencil and brush. She is so relaxed and doesn't hesitate for one second, her confidence inspires me to be more confident in my own work. Children are truly amazing aren't they!
      Thank you for stopping by and following us on this journey, I look forward to collaborating with Eve for many days to come.
      All the best,

  3. Useful article, thank you for sharing the article!!!

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