Tag Archive | paint on canvas

The Rainbow Connection

I picked up a really lovely book a while back at the Grand River Book Store at the Five Oaks Retreat Centre outside of Paris, Ontario: God’s Dream, by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams.

God’s Dream
Cover art by LeUyen Pham

It’s fitting that I picked it up at the beginning of February, Black History Month, as telling Ben and Molly about Archbishop Tutu sparked a conversation about apartheid and racism. Ben was shocked at the idea that anyone would think that people should be treated differently because of what they look like, citing examples of his friends at school who had different-coloured skin but were just the same as him. We also talked about Archbishop Tutu’s own experience of growing up in South Africa during apartheid and witnessing and experiencing the mistreatment of black people by white people, but always advocating for both change and forgiveness.

God’s Dream comes in both a large hardcover edition with a dustjacket or a smaller board edition; I chose the board book in the interests of durability. The language is simple and the pictures bright and appealing, making the book suitable for children from infancy to school-age. In 28 sentences and 15 illustrations, the book covers love, racism, ageism, diversity, apology, reparation, forgiveness, theism, and universality, delivering as its core message that we are all God’s children, worthy of love and respect, and called to love and respect one another.

The engaging illustrations depict cultural and religious diversity (sadly, as with so many children’s books, it is missing pictures of children with disabilities) and the universal message makes the book relevant to and suitable for families with any theistic worldview not specifically Christianity (or organized religion at all): You could read the story to a group of Muslim, Christian, and Jewish children, for example, and they could each recognize their faith’s core message.

God’s Dream ends with the message that when people fulfill God’s dream by loving one another, “God smiles like a rainbow,” and ends with a picture of a rainbow made up of children’s handprints.

Book illustration

Final page of God’s Dream
Art by LeUyen Pham

Ben and Molly immediately asked if we could do a craft like that, and I suggested that in the interests of size we try fingerprints instead. We started with rainbow-coloured paints in an egg carton…


Rainbow-coloured paints in an egg carton
©PicklesINK 2013

..then took turns painting each others’ fingers with cotton swabs…


Molly painting Ben’s finger yellow
©PicklesINK 2013

…and stamped the painted fingers on the canvas to make the rainbow.


Ben stamping his yellow fingerprints
©PicklesINK 2013


Ben painting Molly’s finger purple
©PicklesINK 2013


Molly painting my finger pink
©PicklesINK 2013

Finished painting

Finished rainbow fingerprint painting on canvas
©PicklesINK 2013

The finished product was a complete team effort and is now proudly displayed on the playroom wall.

~ karyn

Have you read any particularly meaningful children’s books lately? What would you recommend?

Molly has quite the ‘eye’ for art

If Ben is my intellectual, Molly is my visionary. She has a flair for the artistic and attention to detail that I find quite amazing. I talked a bit in my Santa letter post about supposed gender differences when it comes to fine motor skills. In my kids’ case there is definitely a Ben/Molly difference but the jury is still out on whether or not this relates to gender.

As early as a year ago, her teacher was marveling at her focus when it comes to crafts. One of the first crafts she did in her toddler program was a sheep – Molly’s was evenly covered in cotton balls and her teacher told me, wide-eyed, that Molly (under 2 at the time) had sat at the table for half an hour carefully gluing on cotton ball after cotton ball until she was completely satisfied with the end result.

She loves working in mixed media (aka “cutting and bluing”) and has an obsession with googly eyes. Here is the first piece she created when given a supply:

First googly eye picture

Mixed media art by Molly –
Googly eye arch
©PicklesINK 2012

That piece was from about 5 months ago. In the last little while she has developed a sort of a trademark – Can you spot it?

Googly faces

Three mixed media pieces by Molly
©PicklesINK 2012

Today while Ben was at school Molly decided that she would like to paint, so I gave her a canvas, paint and Q-tips as well as some glue and things to glue (googly eyes, jewels, sequins, wooden hearts, and “crumplies,” which are crumpled squares of crepe paper). NB – I’ve become a really big fan of Q-tips for crafts. In addition to paintbrushes they make excellent glue wands.

Molly mixed media 2

Molly with art supplies deciding on her first move.
©PicklesINK 2012

She started by painting shapes – a yellow “rainbow” (arc) and pink circles, followed by orange squiggles. This was all deliberate – she described what she was painting to me as she worked.

Molly mixed media 4

Molly paints a yellow rainbow and pink circles.
©PicklesINK 2012

She then carefully filled in the shapes with purple.

Molly mixed media 7

Molly fills in shapes with purple.
©PicklesINK 2012

She added pink and red “slides” (think playground slides) and then added a red jewel.

Molly mixed media 10

Molly adds a red jewel to her painting.
©PicklesINK 2012

At this point, she got distracted by another work in progress – a little while ago, Ben and Molly collected some fall leaves outside and I tried to organize a craft for Ben that was a bit of a flop. I drew a tree and suggested that he glue the leaves they had collected onto the branches. Unfortunately, it turned out that white glue is not particularly effective on freshly fallen (not dried out) fall leaves, and once they dry out they are really too crumbly to work with, so we abandoned that project. The picture has stayed taped to the cupboard door (It’s the best easel I’ve found!) and every once in a while Molly adds something to it (previous additions include the three hearts and a googly eye on the left).

Molly mixed media 12

Molly’s tree picture – a work in progress.
©PicklesINK 2012

She worked on this piece diligently for a little while and then asked me to take a picture, presenting it with a “ta-da!”

Molly mixed media 17

Molly showing me her picture – “Ta-da!”
©PicklesINK 2012

She had painted the pre-existing googly eyes green (“Ben will love this because he loves green!”), and added the rest.

Molly mixed media 16

“Ta-da!” New additions to tree picture:
Two painted hearts, one with eyes.
©PicklesINK 2012

After that she went back and forth between the two projects, adding bits and pieces here and there until she was satisfied with the finished products. Did you spot the trademark googly-eye, crepe-paper-mouth faces before? Here they are again!

Molly mixed media 21

Finished tree picture has 3 faces –
Can you spot them all?
©PicklesINK 2012

Interestingly, when Molly first asked for paint, she specified that she wanted every colour except green: “No green, mommy. I don’t need green.” I gave her the green anyway, and the only place she used it was on the eyes on the tree. Apparently her vision of her original project (the canvas – see below) had no green, and she remained true to that vision. In fact (and I’m probably reading too much into this now) the heart-shaped jewel was originally pale green and she painted over it in red, so there is absolutely no green on this picture – maybe this is her way of making sure it is clear that this was her work alone, completely independent of Ben?

Molly mixed media 22

Finished mixed-media on canvas
©PicklesINK 2012

If you’re still not convinced about both Molly’s attention to detail and googly-eye obsession, feast your eyes on what happened when she was left unattended with craft supplies for about 10 minutes yesterday:

googly eye sculpture

Mixed media paint and googly eye
egg carton sculpture.
©PicklesINK 2012

If you look very, very carefully, each googly eye has been affixed to the edge of the egg carton with identical-coloured paint with the exception of purple paint substituted in the absence of blue.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – my kids are nuts.

~ karyn