27 June 2010

birthday paintings

We have a tradition in our house. When one of the kids has a birthday, they paint a small canvas, and we prominently label it with their new "age number." I wish I could remember how I came up with idea, because it might have been my best idea ever. This birthday tradition is so special to me, if we could only have one birthday event, this would be it. I would even choose this over birthday cake. Shocking, I know.
It's amazing to see how the kids progress from year to year. I always hang the paintings grouped together, in order, in the artist's room. In this photo, we can see that my daughter played with all the colors and used her fingers to paint when she turned one. At age two, she discovered mixing colors. Her third birthday was the first time she used a paint brush for her birthday painting. And when she turned four, she made her first real "picture"--a cake with a candle.
Right now, the canvases are hanging in rows, but as the kids grow older and paint more canvases, I'll hang them in a grid. (I'm quite excited about that, actually. It will make quite a focal point in their rooms.)

The kids love this tradition, too. They jump at the chance to paint on canvas instead of everyday paper. They compare current paintings with past paintings. They notice changes in their work, as we do.

I know that we will continue this tradition for as long as the kids are living with us. (And, I suppose, as long as they are willing to participate.) My hope is that they'll do this with their own kids some day. Or even better--come up with their own birthday traditions for their kids.

One note about the numbers: I usually write them with Sharpie or paint them myself with black paint. But occasionally we'll find a fun substitute, like this acrylic "4," stuck on while the paint was still wet. And sometimes the kids choose to paint their own, as in the "5" above. I liked the consistency of the black numbers, but seeing as this project is all about creativity, I couldn't deny her when my daughter wanted to do it her way.

12 comments:

Simply Mel said...

This is the greatest idea I've seen in a VERY long time! Now...how can I cheat and go back a year with the crumb? hmmmm?

Anonymous said...

This is such a fantastic idea!!

abby @ tales and trials said...

Great idea Marisa!! Can I cheat and go back three years? :)

Indie.Tea said...

That is such a great idea...I'm sure they'll really appreciate those when they get older.

Amber said...

That is the sweetest most fabulous idea! I really love that! What a great way to see their artistry skills develop! And so sentimental. You can't buy that! It's priceless!

house 09 said...

such a precious tradition. it will just make their childhood memories even more special!

Marisa said...

Thanks to everyone for your generous comments. :)

Mel and Abby--how about doing a painting every 2 (or 3) years?

Megan said...

I wish I had seen this two months ago before my daughter turned one! This is wonderful!!!! We haven't tried painting yet but I have a closet full of acrylics that we could use. She's made some crayon drawings, but this would be great. Thanks for sharing!

mrs. c said...

I think this idea is super. I am a pre-k teacher and I will suggest this to my parents! I frame their work and give it as a mother's day present, we let them paint a picture then take a photo of them painting and put it in the corner, we always date work but I like putting their age in the corner. Thanks so much!

Marisa said...

Megan--Do it today! No one will know if it's two months late. :)

mrs. c--Thank you! Even in my 30s, I still love getting approval from teachers. :) Thanks for visiting!

Mother★Lode said...

fantastic!!!!

Mother★Lode said...

i've included this wonderful idea in my weekly roundup of inspiring projects and posts - blogged here:
http://www.camilledawn.com/2010/07/tuesday-tumblr-6.html

i an definitely starting this tradition with our own kids, i absolutely adore the idea!

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