Tag Archives: children

Art in Action: How to rock it out with the wee ones!



“Aunt Stephie, um, can we paint?” This said in the softest, sweet voice that belongs to my 5-year-old niece.

This request is almost certain to pop up after family dinner at my house. My well-mannered sister-in-law has no doubt instructed her that the polite thing is to wait until we are all fed. Claire is asking on behalf of herself and her older brother, Colton, and it’s a request that is met with a resounding YES!

I save old cardboard and T-shirts just for this occasion. I roll out a sheet of plastic and set out water buckets and bring out the tub of paint and we play right on the floor. It’s the greatest thing ever I don’t have to offer suggestions; they are kids, not yet old enough to have lost their imagination. They always attack their pieces of cardboard with the authority of one who knows what they are doing. I love this bit. It reminds me we are all born artists. To paraphrase Picasso, the key is to remember how to stay one as we grow older.

Looking at their masterpieces — both bought from the artists for $5 each (I can’t bear to see them go, and Colton and Claire like the cash) — I said to my husband, “I love the abandon in their work. I wish I could paint like that, totally free and without regard for outcome.” He smiled, admiring their work. Kids have long inspired me in this way.

I’ll leave you with this thought: Paint with your children — or other kids you love — often. It takes nothing more than the basics: a surface to paint on, paint, a plastic throw and brushes. And join in the fun! Don’t have them paint alone — fun is not reserved for the wee ones. An imagination is indeed a terrible thing to waste!

A welcome interruption: Claire and Colton take a break from painting to watch the wildlife outside the studio!


Claire’s finished rendition of Muchacho Libre. I see the resemblance, don’t you?

Ethiopia, Day 13: Between Two Worlds



As I take rest in Frankfort overnight before returning home, I reflect on an inspirational, thought-provoking trip. I look forward to using my language of images to express all that was experienced and felt!

From the road…


Um, yeah, happy to have stayed safe.


We stayed safe due to the best, friendliest, happiest, makin’ friends everywhere driver, Jimmy. (Which, to answer the question I asked at the beginning of our journey, was indeed his real name.)

Just about every time we turned around, Jimmy was experiencing the people, from the time we returned to the car to find him borrowing a local bike, to being dressed up in full tribal wear, to dancing and singing with the local children. We felt lucky to have Jimmy along!


The tribes …

The schools …

The players in this adventure: Aklilu, Helen, Elaine and myself … (The scarf over our heads was to protect us from the crazy intense sun — it was 42 degrees Celsius this day. I think our smiles were even an effort.) Moments afterward, Elaine almost fell in a fire. The locals had a blast laughing it up on our account. Always happy to be of entertainment, us ferengi!

Thank you for following my journey! More soon …

In transit,