My name is Brad. I'm a former lurker.
A bit about me...
I started with a crayon on the walls and took as many art classes as I could in school. I heavily favored ink and graphite as they were cheap. Eventually I abandoned all regular practice in any media for most of my 20's. I'd dabbled in stone sculpture, glass mosaics, and digital art in my 30's. Now 45, happily married 15 yrs, two boys 6 and 8.
I decided to come back to art as a more serious personal practice 3 years ago, when the youngest son was 3 yrs. old. At that time he showed a particular interest in art that his older brother did not, and I really wanted to foster that interest within him. As a result I rediscovered "adult" watercolor painting only to fall in love with the immediacy, and challenge of it. It was a natural match. I now do art primarily as a personal practice, which for me functions like Zen meditation.
So, I've been working with my son at least once a week with his art in a structured way, primarily freehand drawing with markers and pens, but also practical color theory, proper brush handling, and general basics to the medium at those times when he chooses to paint acrylic or watercolor. We've just recently discovered a low temp modeling clay called sculpy which has been lots of fun and has gained the interest of both boys.
About a month ago the youngest wanted to stall bedtime. He asks to paint watercolor. So I agree, but on my conditions. 10 minutes timed, one brush, 4-5 colors maximum, try to mix on the brush and paper, I select the subject - birds. I thought that might discourage him so as to get him to bed... I was wrong.
Having no choice, and happy to paint birds, he agreed. I set him up to paint, showed him a picture on a tablet... and then he strongly objected to the image - too hard! So he gets a quick refresher on shapes, watercolor basics, some encouragement, timer set, go... paint or go to bed. Paint what you see.
He challenged me to also do the same challenge along with him as he studied the picture and loaded his brush. Challenge accepted.
He uses Canson XL, his favorite flat brush, and my studio palette. I grabbed his pad of Bee marker paper, a quill brush, and my sketch travel palette to join in.
He finished first, I finished last, and we both painted perhaps 5 minutes each to beat the clock.
It was a fun, spontaneous competition, and I loved his brush work and vision. I gave him an "A" for effort, but he doesn't understand that grading system, thinks I'm acting dumb, and it should be "E" for effort.
Although I think he's less than satisfied with his result (typical artist trait?), he was super proud to have conquered the "too hard" challenge.
I'll end with a Q.
Any suggestions for future art challenges I can use with him?