Painting A Family Canvas

On the last Friday of the school holidays, I had booked the kids and myself into a session at the Box Hill Community Arts Centre to paint a Family Canvas. That was all I knew about it really and I hadn’t given it much thought in the lead up, other that it would be a great opportunity to have some creative time together.

Things weren’t boding well for a bonding family time, when I left a friend’s place to go to the activity with a crying baby, a screaming preschooler who didn’t want to leave and was doing that thing when they arch their back and make it almost impossible for you to strap them into their car seat. Somehow we all managed to calm ourselves on the short trip to the centre and made our way in a relatively orderly fashion into the class.

For someone with slightly obsessive planning tendencies like me, it is times like this that having 5 children really makes you let go of planning everything. I just didn’t have enough hands or eyes to coordinate what was going on!!!! In this session of 2 hours, myself with 5 kids needed to plan and then paint a family canvas. My usually happy baby was very clingy and wouldn’t sit in the stroller or go in the baby sling (he later woke that night with a raging temperature), so I had to work with the other 4 children with a baby on my hip for the first half. For the last hour, he fell asleep on my shoulder, leaving me one handed. I am quite glad it worked out this way, as I think it allowed for a true reflection of our families work.

Kathy, the instructor was fantastic in helping guide myself and the kids through what we needed to do. We could paint what ever we wanted and had a very short time to decide what to do and agree on it. We chose to use inspiration from our family name. Once we had decided this, Thinker took the lead and started etching out the broader image. Little Rascal then suggested how we should be represented, we all agreed and then we were painting!

Although definitely no masterpiece, I adore this canvas. To me it represents our family at this moment in time and how we operate together. Of course we didn’t need to book into a centre to paint a family canvas, but I think that if we had tried this in the home environment we would have had such a different result. I think I may have contrived the situation more, would have made them paint one at a time as opposed to altogether and there would have been more distractions for the kids.

Painting this canvas in 2 hours, really required us to work together:

  • We needed to agree quite quickly on what to paint.
  • Find ways that we could all paint on the canvas at the same time.
  • Appreciate the abilities and limitations of each family member.
  • Find ways to make our ideas come to life on the canvas.
  • Enjoy and appreciate our work!

This is not something that I would do every year, but I do look forward to painting another family canvas when bubs is old enough to be awake for the session and paint too!