Two weeks ago, an artist friend of mine posted a photo on his facebook profile of a delicate charcoal sketch, drawn earlier that day in his back yard.  The drawing was of a tent his daughter set up, and he wrote of enjoying a spring day in Massachusetts, and the practice of drawing for the fun of it.  Usually, he paints.

That brief note and photo got me going.  First, I just wanted to get outside and enjoy our own spring-like weather, and second, do some drawing in the yard.  I liked the tent idea too, but that could wait.

So many interesting viewpoints to tackle, the hardest part was deciding where to begin.  I set up the table and folding chair, and moved it until I found a good, though not exactly level, spot.  The first couple paintings were nothing special, but each a beginning.  Before the ink was dry, I had a little painter at each elbow, wanting to do their own.

taking over the table

painting houses in the night

black ink drying

brush prints

Unlike their mom, the kids crank their paintings out, running through the paper supply in a blink.

looking over the paintings

M's painting

The best part of assisting the boys’ painting session was hearing their ideas about what they were painting.  The black ink inspired them to think of night scenes, and because I painted the yard, garage, and house, so did they.  My favorite was the nearly all black painting that was “our neighbor’s dog behind his fence barking at us.”

Just today I brought out white ink so my youngest artist could finish the dog, a black and white border collie.  Here’s what he came up with:


The dog is a barker, art does imitate life.  I had to laugh.

Three drawing sessions and lovely spring days later, I’ve done two ink drawings that please me.  Not surprisingly, these drawings came about after I warmed up, and the kids had moved on to the swing set.

two on swings

And the next, from another vantage…

from the patio


pots against the wall detail

And now I have a whole new appreciation for these swings!

This morning, unbeknown to me, someone was taking pictures of us as we painted together again (thanks, Paul!).  I only wish I had a recording of the conversation too, as the barky dog was carefully rendered, a little white at a time.

painters viewed from the window