Monday, February 13, 2012

Lessons at the Art Festival

A beautiful painting displayed at the Fort Myers Art Fest

For years I shut down my creative side. I decided to be a mom and to put my kids first and do everything for them and be everything for them. As I'm sure you know, I have 5 boys and a husband who all play sports. They have pretty much tried them all. When they aren't playing sports we are talking about sports or watching sports. It's a big sports household.

There never seemed to be enough room for my interests...OK, that's wrong...I never made it a priority so therefore there wasn't enough time for it. For the most part my kids didn't even know how much I loved art. It's really strange the things we do.

When I decided to go back to the thing I loved I began sharing it with my kids and I was pleasantly surprised that they were open to it. They enjoyed looking at art, talking about it and creating it. My youngest son Aidan really jumped on board. He decided that he was an artist and started drawing like crazy.

Exploring the techniques used in the paintings was great fun with the kids.

So this year when we went on our vacation I noticed that there was an art show going on and I decided that I wanted to go and I wanted to bring the kids too. This may seem like the obvious thing to do as a family but you have to understand that in the past my husband may have come along with me and we would have left the kids home thinking they would be bored and uninterested. In fact, I had to tell my husband twice that yes, I wanted the kids to come.

It was a BIG show. There were tents as far as the eye could see and then there were more around the corner. My dad and step mom joined us too. It was hot and holy cow was it crowded. I immediately got uptight. My internal voice started going off, "Oh my gosh, they are going to hate this. They are going to get bored. It's going to take too long. I'm the only one who likes this and I'm going to make everyone suffer."

This is something I do to myself so even when people are doing things for me I have so much inner chatter that I don't allow myself to enjoy it. I rush through, I think about everyone but myself and I leave feeling very unfulfilled. Well not this time!

Professional chalk painters creating works of art on the street

I caught myself and I said, "NO! Not today! I am going to enjoy this for me!" I set off and my sons were right there with me. We stopped in all the booths that drew our attention. We looked at the brush strokes, the techniques, the use of color and the innovative creations these artists were sharing with us.

I was surprised at how into it my son Aidan was. He wanted to stop at every booth and look through the bins of prints. He spent more time in some of them then even I wanted to. I watched as his brow crinkled while he was in serious thought analyzing the art. I watched him take pictures of the things that inspired him and I introduced him to some of the artists so he could learn how they made their creations.

The funniest thing was having him look at the prices. There was no real sticker shock for him. He saw a small glass paperweight that cost $40 and he said, "$40? That's not very much for this." Ha, here I was thinking $40? Too much! I love the innocence and love he brought to art fest.

A beautiful work of art that will be gone in a few hours.

I am proud of the fact that I have embraced who I truly am and shared that with my children because I think it is making them better. They are being exposed to parts of the world that can make them richer, more whole people. It is giving them the opportunity to know all the parts of who they are and uncover talents they may not have known they have.

It's funny, my son came home from school one day and said he stood up and shared that his favorite thing to do was to draw. He said one of the little girls said he couldn't be an artist because he was a wrestler. I explained to him that a lot of people have beliefs that if you are smart you can't be athletic or if you are athletic you can't be artistic. I told him that it's all a lie. That he can be anything he wants to be and that the cool thing is he is good at all of it so he could be any combination he wanted.

Having a little fun decorating piggy banks

Do you think he would have had the opportunity to learn this lesson if his mom was hiding away, afraid to be who she is? Do you think he would know anything about the arts or the joy he experiences if his mom hadn't shared her passion and encouraged him to explore? Maybe, but more likely not.

It's sad to say that my older children didn't get that mom. They got the mom who didn't know who she was, who didn't embrace her passion, and didn't share her love and dreams with them. Are they wonderful? Yes! Might they have turned out differently? Definitely! But I take solace in the fact that they are getting to watch me bloom now with adult eyes and I feel like they are still able to learn lessons from it.

I was watching Anerican Idol last night and there was a woman who made it to Hollywood and she asked Jennifer Lopez for advice because for years people were telling her that she couldn't do it because she had kids. Jennifer told her in no uncertain terms that she could do it and she could always make it work and that her kids would be better for it.


To all you moms out there, let that sink in. Following your dreams and passions does not make you a selfish mom. It makes you a mom that is an inspiration to her kids. It makes your children learn how to believe in their dreams and follow their passions and isn't that what we want most of all for our children?

Dream on my friends!


  1. I love it! I think a lot of the reason I'm so terrified of motherhood is because part of me believes I have to put my interests completely aside, but that's not true. I hope I can use my love of art the nurture whatever creativity my future children will have, because ALL children and people have it.

  2. This is wonderful-opening youself up to your family by sharing your passions with them. I really loved your journaling and have I told you lately how blessed I am to have found you!
    Check out the documentatry "WHO DOES SHE THINK SHE IS" this movie addresses the issue of women, mothers and following your passion for art.

  3. I love this!! I put my interest's aside for awhile too and it did me no good and by not putting it aside my kids have learned so many new things from me and the things I am passionate about. Thank you for the reminder to keep doing that because it gives them the okay that they can do the same! Love that everyone enjoyed the art show!

  4. Hello! i found your blog through my dear friend Ann Faison. and i have been looking and reading through it all morning. it is a really beautiful expression of YOU! thaank you for sharing everything so opening and freely.
    i wanted to comment about this post and what you said at the end about kids being more enriched because of the things their mothers and fathers do with passion, and although i don't have kids, and i can only speak from a place of having a mother who did this. she was a silversmith and made AMAZING jewelry. and when we were young she didn't stop - a few days a week she would get a babysitter and go down to her studio and work. and it was so important for me to see that growing up. and it made me incredibly proud to see what she would create in that time, and see her having her jewelry shows. they are memories that have stayed with me, and especially now as i am an artist, getting ready to think about starting my own family.
    anyway - i had to share and say that i think that is SUCH an important message you are getting and sharing!

    lots of love to you