Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Bringing autumn indoors

When we first moved to New Mexico, I was underwhelmed by her seasons. The dry climate seemed to mute the annual display of leaves and blooms, and many of the plants that I associated with seasonal color don’t grow well here. But as the years have passed I’ve become attuned to the splendor of our native plants and the local traditions that mark the seasons. Hot air balloons dotting the skylines, chiles roasting in front of every grocery store, and bands of bright yellow aspens on the mountaintops all mean autumn to me now. This year, the mounded yellow masses of wild chamisa that surround our house have been magnificent, and doting Luke has picked many a stem for me. I displayed a few of those sweetly given yellow blooms inside for our autumn mantle.

My beloved crabapple tree in our backyard has been a glorious masterpiece of orange and yellow leaves and deep red berries.

The perfect backdrop for my little artists’ glittery pumpkins. They’re still cute even though most of the paint has flaked off, thanks to curious hands.

Inside their aquatic themed costumes are foreshadowed on the dining buffet along with grandparents’ sweet Halloween cards.

More autumn d├ęcor near the entry.

And a painted pumpkin craft in the front window. I just love how these wooden ones turned out with liquid watercolors!

In case you’re bemoaning the lack of kid pics here, you can check out an autumn decorating video featuring our little pumpkin pair here!

Preschool party

Luke and Eleanor had so much fun at the Fall Festival at Luke’s preschool. The biggest hit may have been the box maze. They raced through the twisting tunnel of boxes with sparse lighting countless times. But it was in the dim courtyard and came at the end of the evening, so no maze pics here. Most of the evening was spent on various throwing games. They led us to discover that we could work with Luke a little to improve his accuracy before next year’s fall festival, but the ‘prizes’ were awarded indiscriminately at each station so no heartache was caused by our less than stellar throwing skills.

He did nail a few shots given close range advantage and some sisterly encouragement.

We also made masks,

And sticker quantity was of course valued over visibility concerns.

There was a book walk and this was where we received my favorite prizes! Here I’m coaching the kiddos to ‘stop!' as the music pauses.

Eleanor was aglow with joy at being included in so much fun and excitement at her big brother’s school. Since then, it’s been even more difficult for her to say goodbye to Luke on school mornings, and I’m looking forward to when she can join the 2’s class next fall!

{More Halloween pics here.}

Monday, October 1, 2012

Plein air artistes

It thrills me to see Luke and Eleanor standing side-by-side at an easel engrossed in spreading colors on canvas.

Not only are they churning out almost-free masterworks that I can hang on the wall, but there’s something so idyllic about seeing them working harmoniously, expressing their unique creative visions. Eleanor leaves plenty of white space to balance her colors, and has to be coaxed a bit to fill the other half of a canvas. I can quickly pick out Luke’s work on the preschool wall due to his commitment to covering every inch of the page with paint. You sometimes have to take a picture away before his zeal leaves a hole in the paper.

Our easel has especially helped Ella blossom as an artist since it was harder for her to perch above a paper on the table to properly paint.  We’ve hung many of their masterpieces, both in tempera paint and liquid watercolor. I love the texture and depth of the tempera (above), and the bright blotches of the watercolors (as seen in the Luke original below).

Luke has just started to draw his first non-abstract pictures, with underwater scenes being a favorite subject. Here’s his first realist work – a tiny gray boat with a huge colorful anchor that is visited by various sea creatures.


It’s so exciting to see what he draws and how he portrays it. I hope they grow to love art as a form of imaginative exploration more and more. Here’s the artist adding a little more to his underwater piece.

We still do plenty of team-produced pictures, such as crayon resists with a requested scene drawn in white crayon by mom, or paper plate animals that I cut out and they tape and decorate.

Eleanor’s passion for art goes beyond paper and canvas applications. No painting session passes without at least a little self-adornment for this little carnival chick. So precious and so much contentious clean-up at the same time!

Despite the perils that are obviously posed by running in to grab the camera, we have oodles of adorable artist pics. See our most recent gallery for a few more from September!