Imitation is natural to man from childhood, one of his advantages over the lower animals being this, that he is the most imitative creature in the world, and learns at first by imitation.” (Aristotle, Poetics)

Preparing recycled material as painting surface
Children preparing recycled materials as painting surfaces

“Mom! I want to paint too….”

The balance of home/work/family life under the current global circumstances has brought issues to mind that might not otherwise have maintained a presence. Working from home as a painter, art professor, and single parent of twins has certainly structured an impact. My two seven year olds now witness every move I make in preparation of artwork, research for future projects, online lecture, or home care. Pre-pandemic these things were compartmentalized into blocks that coincided with their school hours, aftercare, or the occasional overnight visit with a favorite aunt.

Positive impacts are surfacing despite the difficult circumstances. The opportunity to teach through behavior is more clear than it ever has been before. If we consider the societal, cultural, and potential economic impacts of reigning in our behavior for the benefit of the next generation progress seems inevitable.

The time it takes to teach my children the proper process for preparing painting surfaces, for basic tenets of drawing, for compositional devices….the time spent is worthwhile, and allows movement forward into a space that our children will eventually inhabit, despite how silly it may seem; our children are always watching, whatever our process might be.

Planning for the successful integration of thought, beauty, culture, and kindness for future generations seems to be what has landed on our doorsteps. If we take a fraction of our own professional time to demonstrate a positive process for growth our generations’s children may overcome many of the challenges we currently face. Our children will copy us, whatever we do.

Children preparing painting surfaces with Gesso
Beginning to gesso a recycled surface for painting