Grandma’s Morning Cup

Grandma's Morning Cup

A child’s art is a moment of bliss that continues to give.

My favorite cup features art from our oldest granddaughter. She drew this little row of flowers when she was four. I need to make an updated cup, she is seven now. Perhaps the new one will include refrigerator masterpieces from her younger sister and brother.

For parents looking for something special for Grandma and Grandpa, consider art from grandchildren. Grandchild art can be featured on an everyday item, like my favorite cup, or simply framed or on the front of a card.

I often receive treasured showpieces from our grandchildren. The gift of art from little hands is a moment of bliss that continues to give.

Repository of Bliss

Local Art Gallery

I was so excited 11 years ago to get our new stainless refrigerator. Until I plopped the first magnet up. Thankfully, one side still allows us to have an open gallery. Hint to refrigerator manufacturers, if you make a magnetic panel on the stainless front, sales to grandmas will increase.

The refrigerator has transformed our world. I am not talking about the obvious benefits of extending the life of fresh foods.
The rich sustenance provided by a refrigerator comes in the form of an art gallery.

I am always fascinated by this local gallery in homes. Grandparents, parents, extended family and friends – they all have one. Oh, yeah people post, pin, like, tweet, blog, and G+, but really their greatest treasures will be found in their personal gallery at home. If you want to know where their heart lies, look at the refrigerator, the obvious repository of the heart of bliss.

A Tip for Sneaking Bliss

A long holiday weekend is upon us. Here is a little tip for sneaking bliss.

The kids were tired, the day was hot and we were all sticking to the car’s seat. The AC was out. Again. One more stop. One more store then we could call it a day and go home.
Unbuckling, we all peeled ourselves off the hot seats and crossed the parking lot, picking up a little gum on our shoes along the way. It appeared that everyone in the store was having the same kind of day. Frowns everywhere. Tired, hot, sweaty, frowns.

“Mom, nobody is smiling,” the worried little voice broke through the grim silence of the grocery shoppers.

Without thinking, I blurted my automated reply, “Smile anyway.”

“Mom!  She smiled back, that lady smiled back. That one there, with her hair up and the sunglasses.”

Everyone in earshot stared. Then… they all smiled.

Our little family game was born. From this day forward it was our tradition, how many smiles could we get when in a store.

It does not sound like much. But try it. Smile. Count how many you get in return. And don’t worry about the ones who do not reciprocate, they need your smiles the most.

Not only will you sneak a little bliss, but you will share a little as well.

Color My Family

Our grandkids love to color. Using predesigned frames, I inserted line drawings of each of their family members, from siblings, to great grand-parents. The smiles make them great. Our smiles, whether shy or bold, are remembered by our grandchildren.
Sneak a little bliss, smile.

Another Odd Duck

Remember this? Donald in Mathmagic Land

I recall seeing this in film format, back in the days of projectors and traditional film in classrooms. In our case, the entire school viewed the film. I was absolutely fascinated.

This animation by Disney attempted to convince kids that math was important. Even though it utilized animation and a familiar character, this little film did not awaken math for my fellow students, rather, it cemented their dislike.

Not to pick on my daughter-in-law, but when she uttered the words, “I hate math,” I was compelled to show her the video of Donald. Yes, I have a copy. Her poor face contorted into a twisted ball of raw pain. This experience, at her expense, really enlightened me. Start with art. She, too, is a photographer. We can talk about f/stops, shutter speeds and light temperature without missing a beat.

Since drawing is innate to a child, really to the human creature, it is a more functional approach to utilize art to teach math and science rather than trying to tell people the reason they like art is math.

The paper Drawing on Student Understanding, Using illustrations to invoke deeper thinking about animals., By Mary Stein, Shannan McNair, and Jan Butcher exemplifies a more modern approach to recognizing the interwoven nature of art and science.

The enrichment program I started in middle school and continued through high school lacked this interrelatedness. A few successful instructors invited all disciplines for students to expand their understanding of the world around them. For most, however, they appreciated math and tolerated art in student achievement.

Years later, as I bring my personal art out of hiding, I am awakened to a sense of wholeness.

Odd Duck

I was different.

One of the boys grabbed the snake from her cage, she bit him. He dropped her and she quickly hid behind textbook boxes. The kids all stepped back. When I reached into the six-foot boa’s hiding place, she calmly slid into my hand. We became friends. It was the first week of school, I turned 11 that week. I liked drawing pictures, racing bikes, climbing trees, snakes, and math. I was an odd duck.

In all fairness, I understand her perspective. The program instructor from Seed Planted 4. When the program instructor told me that I was not good at art, that I should focus on math and science. I was crushed. She did not do this to be mean, she was trying to help me. The circumstances were such:
I lived in a poor community.
I was from a poor family.
I did not have a good home life.
I had a high math and science aptitude.

The instructor viewed math and science as my way out of cultural poverty. This was back in the days, those unenlightened days, of girls don’t like math. I was an odd duck. I liked math and was good at it. The numbers just made sense. So when she announced that I had a class where I could learn anything, I said, “I want to learn to draw,” my request did not sit well with her plan for my future.

Truth be told, I don’t think she relayed the message from the expert who looked at my art. I did not receive direct feedback. It came from the instructor, not the source, and the instructor had an agenda.

The saving grace for growing up. My favorite teacher. My grandparents.

Art finds a way in, no matter the path we take.
When the front doors are closed, we may just find a back door left ajar and have a chance to sneak bliss on the naysayer’s watch.

Kids – the original backdoor artists

Many parents have stories of various hidden locations where their child’s art had to be removed when preparing to move from one home to another. I believe this was the sole inspiration for the product Mr.Clean® Magic Eraser®.

Children seem to sneak creating art wherever they can.
On the wall.
In the closet.
Under the bed.
The backsides of doors.
On the inside of clothing drawers.
On toys like wooden blocks and trains.
And my personal favorite… on their siblings.

To a child, any surface is a canvas. Kids are naturally backdoor artists, sneaking a little bliss even when they know it’s a “no, no.” I ponder this thought, because today is my eldest son’s birthday. Framed, on my office wall are creations from when he and his brother were little.

Hot Air Balloon

by Chris Livingston (age 5 years, 11 months)

He continues his creative aspirations, sneaking in art while programming games and apps. http://www.korphane.com/

Happy Birthday Chris.
With love,
Mom