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12 Days of Thanksgiving: A

Art.

I’ve been looking at pictures this morning. Little Drummer Boy, Bug and Baby Girl are fond of creating pictures and selecting prime locations to place them in my office. They each have a unique way of expressing themselves through lines and colors and pictures. Their varied creations are such a tangible reminder of the blessing they add to my life at every turn. And they are a reminder of the precious value of their own imaginations that I hope to instill in each of their hearts.

Little Drummer Boy is the storyteller. His pictures are illustrations. They record whatever seemingly random series of events playing out in his mind. He has recently been much more interested in recording these images in shapes and density, a penchant I credit to his kindergarten class where each day they “write” in their jourals, even if “writing” is really drawing. It’s communicating in written form.

Bug is the free spirit. His pictures are a symphony of line and color chosen with deliberation–the exuberance of his spirit unsquelched by the limitations of a crayola box. He makes much less of a production about presenting his work. I often find Bug’s creations scattered about in unexpected places–little slips of paper inside my desk, propped on the piano, inside his pocket, on stickies attached to various furniture surfaces, occasionally embellishing the furniture itself. He sees no need for a “finished” product. It’s not uncommon for him to add lines and colors to the same piece of paper for weeks. The act of making the lines just seems more important to him.

Baby Girl is the newbie. She’s more interested in the tools themselves. While she’s moved beyond wanting to eat the crayons and the paper, she would still rather make her creations with a crayon unencumbered by it’s paper wrapping. So her preparation time is filled with peeling it away to explose more color. Still, fueled by her brothers’ examples, she has begun making her own haphazard scribbles.

I find myself in each of their creative tendencies.

Since I began working from home in July, my office (and it’s many surfaces for artwork display) has become a center of excitement for my children. I suppose they feel that they are getting to do something special when they can hang out in Mommy’s office. I’ve tried to cultivate an office space that is inspiring for me, since I spend most of my time here creating and designing. But, I also wanted it to be a place where they feel comfortable and welcomed. It has been a wonderland for them to visit because they have never seen so many of the things that exist in the Small Pond Graphics hub.

Oddly, that’s one of the biggest blessings of this year. Before I started my business this summer, all they knew of Mommy’s work was that she did it. She dropped them off at daycare and went to that place in town they sometimes visited to do whatever Mommys do when they work. That was the extent of their exposure to the creative life that fills so much of my time. I’m so thankful that now they know more. Of course, they don’t understand it. They don’t know what the computers do beyond providing photo slide shows and access to Sesame Street games. They don’t know what all the books are besides colorful spines and strange pictures. They don’t know what the shelves house except the ready crayons and construction paper. But, they know something interesting happens here. And they know Mommy does it.

We are born creative. Of that I am convinced. There is much debate over whether humans are born good or bad, perfect or flawed, natured or nurtured. But, when I read that we are created in the image of God, the core common element I see is creativity. Of all His glorious and inexplicable actions, creating was the first act recorded for the Almighty. In His benevolence, he chose to imbue OUR existence with that same tendency. The opportunity to show my children that reality about themselves has become very important to me. However that creativity manifests itself, I want them to see how it shows up in me and to explore their own creative bents.

Several years ago when I started this blog, part of my motivation was to find a personal creative outlet that wouldn’t disrupt my time with the children or provide any hazard to them (in the way so many art supplies can). But, I had also come to the realization that there was this whole part of me that my children had never known beyond crazy cupcake and party decorations. I’m an “artsy type.” It was quite a jolt to realize that my children might not really KNOW me and the pursuits that matter to me. EyeJunkie provided a way for them to watch me, to see me writing, to see me thinking, to see me making pictures on the screen. Small Pond Graphics and its downstairs home has been another catalyst for them to know their Mommy in a new way.

Art in one form or another has been a large part of my life for a very long time. From my youngster days watching my mother use her creativity in various ways, to my years studying Architecture, to my day-to-day work life, “the arts” have impacted me. Because I work as a graphic designer, I’ve spent my adult life “doing” art every weekday. And although I would probably more accurately classify my work as “communication” rather than “art,” it’s been part of my job to expose myself to many vehicles of inspiration and to immerse myself in the work of other creative types.

With the launch of a new venture, I’ve had the opportunity to explore that creative inspiration with fresher eyes. It’s allowed me to focus more on the sheer act of creating. Given the freedom to set my own schedules and parameters, it’s allowed me to examine my best creative habits and tendencies more carefully. It’s given me the opportunity to get back to the basics of my own creativity–a blessing that can be so easily snuffed by the cares of real life. It’s a joy to me to infuse my day-to-day experiences with the expression of art and creativity. It’s a privilege to be paid for that sort of thing. It’s a blessing to share that love with the little creative minds I’m nurturing.

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