How to commission an abstract painting from your 2-year-old

I found this large frame and canvas at a garage sale several months ago for $10.

I thought it was a steal because the frame alone is worth more than that.

The art that came with it, eh, yuch. Not to mention it was just a paper print that had been glued onto the canvas. And it looks like someone already started painting over it.

So, the frame has just been sitting on my mantle, all by its lonesome for several months.

Recently I placed Luke’s first non-watercolor “painting” up on the mantle. And the more I looked at it, the more I liked it! It was fun, colorful and it was my baby’s :)

!Lightbulb!

I could have Luke paint over the canvas that came with frame! And it would be an original piece of art, and it would mean more to me than any other painting ever could, AND he would have so much fun doing it. (he LOVES to paint!)

After putting it off for a few weeks, I finally decided it was time.
I prepped the canvas by rolling 3 coats of white acrylic paint over the print.

Then it was time for Luke to go!

Here are some important tips:
PREPARATION:
1. Begin by recruiting a well-rested, well-fed, paint-loving, non-paint-eating, happy and excited 2-year-old (if any of those qualities are missing, ABORT!)

2. Cover a corner of your kitchen with cardboard and plastic.

3. Strip your toddler down to his skivvies or put them in an old shirt (acrylic paint does not come off once it dries).

4. Choose the colors for your toddler since they prob haven’t had a chance to take a class on color theory yet.

5. Have at least 4-5 clean brushes on hand. El-cheapo kids’ brushes from Wal-mart is what I used.

6. Squirt the paint onto a plastic plate or cheap plastic artist’s palette, also from Wal-mart.

7. Recruit a spouse/helper (willing or unwilling) to be nearby – just in case your toddler decides to jet from the designated painting area and decide to go hug a white wall (we were fortunate not to have this happen).

8. Put on your painting clothes and your most patient self.

9. Have a large roll of paper towels/old towels and baby wipes on hand. You will need them!

Although Luke did all of the painting, it was not without a little direction from mama :)
TECHNIQUE:
1. Let him choose his first few colors and just go for it!

2. After he uses 4-5 colors, switch his brush out for a clean one. This will keep the colors from becoming muddied. (and the switching of the brushes didn’t appear to stifle his creativity any ;)

3. Suggest to toddler that he should paint on the white areas. This will get your canvas covered much faster and keep the colors from mixing too much and turning into the color of dirt.

4. Keep an eye on the paint palette and top off the paint with fresh paint as needed. If they use the same brush for multiple colors, there will be a lot of cross-contamination.

5. Once the masterpiece is completed (mama makes this call), remove from the area and let dry.

6. Supply your toddler with poster board and let him use up all of the paint from the palette.

7. Paint a purple “Mickey Mouse bear” for your toddler per his request.

8. Throw in a little bit of learning by painting his name on the poster board.

9. Show toddler that if you paint his hand, he can make hand prints. Let toddler dictate which color he would like for you to paint on his hand.

10. Then suggest he paint his feet, sit back and watch the real fun unfold!

11. Once baby is completely covered in paint, take some pictures and then it is time for a bath.

12. Take a minute and enjoy the feeling of being a cool mom or the mom-I-had-always-hoped-to-be. Smile :)

Aaaaaaand, for the piece-de-resistance!

Amazing abstract art or just a pre-school painting?? You Decide :)

After all, art is very subjective, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And what is more beautiful than a cost-effective, memory-inducing, sentimental, colorful work of art?

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3 comments
  1. Naomi C. said:

    I love it. Nothing beats personalized art, especially by a toddler.

  2. It is just too precious,way to go mama…the colors are amazing, I want one!

  3. Mimi said:

    Wow! That is an awesome painting. Way to go Luke! Mimi loves it and loves you more!

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