"Best Friends" - A Collaboration with my Toddler

December 23, 2016

A Collaboration with my Toddler

"Best Friends"

by Theodore & Ruth Oosterman

My little man, Theodore, is now 15 months old and quite the rambunctious ball of energy. He is sweet and shy but man does he fly across the room, climbing anything and everything he possibly can. While Eve and Theo are similar in many ways they definitely differ in this area with her being more calm and focused, perhaps it is just the age difference.

One of the few moments he is quiet and calm is when he paints. Eve has taught me so much over the last 2 and a half years and one of the most important lessons is that no one is ever "too young" to paint (or too old!) Theo started painting at 13 months with brushes and watercolors, earlier than Eve did, his fine motor skills are already allowing him to hold onto even the smallest of brushes. This has opened the door to a whole new world and it is incredibly exciting to watch his developing passion for creating and experiencing the paint. This passion and raw need to feel the textures and paint slide across the surface is such an inspiration for me and I am so blessed to witness both Eve and Theo create. I don't have just one muse, but two now.  

Of course, this also means being able to collaborate with him at an earlier age and watch his artistic skills develop in their own way. I think he has created at least 100 paintings by now with no signs of stopping.

This collaborative piece titled, "Best Friends," was inspired by Theo's deep love for dogs and what I think he will look like in a few years. The minute Theo sees or hears a dog, whether in person, a video or picture, he literally drops everything and comes running at full speed. He even says,"Awww," and begins to pet the air even if there is no dog around, it melts my heart every time.

Above you can see Theo's original painting and the collaborative piece inspired by him. Through trial and error, I continue to discover what works best when creating collaboration. If you take it too far and collaborate unevenly then your work takes over and their magic disappears. To avoid this, I try to work quickly as a reflection of their spirit and make sure to step back every few minutes and reassess. I know I could have used some of his paint marks to create a butterfly and flowers and add more to the dog's back and arm, but then I risk losing his original lines. What makes these collaborations special is ensuring that the fine balance to each of our contributions remains and their portion continues to shine!

I hope you enjoy this piece and make sure to check out the time lapse video down below!

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