In some ways, when we moved into our new house, the question of how to decorate Xavier’s room had a simple answer. It had to include his favorite color: orange. But when it comes to decorating with bright, juicy orange, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. I settled on painting the bottom half of the main wall orange (Benjamin Moore’s Fruit Punch, to be exact) and the rest of the walls and ceiling a nice off white (BM’s Vanilla Milkshake) to balance the look. Indeed, a little orange goes a long way. But the wall opposite this accent wall still looked pretty, well, empty. It needed something big, bold, and colorful to complement the orange and brighten up that big white wall.
There was just one minor snag. Two, really. First, big art is expensive. Second, the space in question was above Xavier’s bed. I wasn’t about to hang something dangerously heavy in this prime bed jumping real estate. And god forbid it fall on him while he was sleeping… So what to do? I decided early on that what I needed was art on a big canvas–lightweight with no glass. But everything I was finding in the stores was either too cutesy or just too…bleh.
When I saw large canvases on sale at the craft store, inspiration struck. Why not let Xavier (my art-loving child) create his own art? I picked up a canvas on sale for just over $20, a few larger bottles of paint to supplement our current collection, and some new paint brushes, and we were ready to go.
Xavier finished his masterpiece during Quinn’s afternoon nap. After putting our paint clothes on and setting out the canvas on a large drop cloth on the screened porch, we got out our paint and brushes. We started by covering the canvas in a bright blue color since I knew a white background would just blend into the white wall. After that, I tried to intervene as little as possible and let Xavier do the rest. Art is all about the process for him these days, and much less about the finished product. The name he chose for the work reflects this mindset: “Painting Colors.” He enjoyed making circles and lines, flinging paint on the canvas, mixing colors together, putting the paint on in thin layers so you can see the paint underneath, putting it on thickly so that it created big blobs on the canvas, and painting from different angles. Towards the end of Quinn’s two hour nap (yes, the boy painted for two hours and could have kept going for much longer), I gently nudged him towards wrapping it up. He could let it dry and add more later or finish now, I told him. He opted for the latter. He just had two more color combos he wanted to try, he told me. The work was finished when he was done, not when the painting reached any particular stage. He loves it and couldn’t wait to show it to Daddy. I think it’s perfect, and so perfectly him right now.
Most importantly, he is inspired to make more art. “Maybe I can make one for Quinn’s room? And one for Mommy and Daddy’s room?” Bring it on, I say. Bring it on.