Category Archives: Tiny-Small

Dragonfly In Mixed Media Day 17 of 30 Paintings In 30 Days

Mixed Media Art On Canvas Day 17 of 30 Paintings In 30 Days
Dragonfly In Mixed Media 8×10 on canvas board by Lillian Connelly and T.S. age 4.

I love this dragonfly in mixed media. It was another painting collaboration with my daughter. She painted the background using acrylic paint, graphite, and sharpie markers. Then it was my turn to add some ink, paint around some shapes, and create the dragonfly. I really like the marks my daughter made. They are typical of the pretend writing she is doing on all of my important papers, empty notebooks, and occasionally on my furniture. The mom in me is shrieking, “Stop the madness!” but the artist in me is quietly smiling at her desire to create and leave her mark on the world. Thank goodness for paint, canvas boards, and somewhat structured activities! I am glad we have something appropriate for her to “work” on and a more permanent recording of what she is doing at this stage in her life. I know at some point we will refurbish the furniture, repaint the walls, and toss the old notebooks. At least with a painting we can frame it and hang it on the wall for future reference.

I am hoping to start a dog painting next week and maybe do some paintings in watercolor. I have a few small portraits sketched out and I am also thinking about working on something really big that may be a work in progress over a few days. We’ll see what happens!

Jim and I are planning to go shopping for a four-wheel drive vehicle so we don’t get stuck at home when it snows or rains too much. Living on a dirt road does have some disadvantages. Shopping for a new vehicle may take up some of my painting time next week, but I’m already planning ahead so I don’t get off track or lose my momentum. Sometimes a small kink in my plans can throw me off for days. That certainly happens with my exercise regiment anyway! Hopefully, with a little planning, I’ll be able avoid that pitfall. Painting consistently helps me to be more productive in other areas of my life.

I hope you have a happy and creative Saturday!

P.S. If you are interested in guest posting on my blog  and talking about your art please let me know. I am working on scheduling posts for Wednesdays in February. You can find more information about what I am looking for by clicking here.

You’ll Never Be President Because You Are A Girl

The other night, as I was folding laundry, Tiny-Small ran over to me and said, “You’ll never be president, Mom.” I turned to her and was about to respond, but, before I could, she said, “…because you’re a girl.” Now I have no desire to be president and obviously never will be, but to have my four year old daughter state so confidently that girls cannot be president just made my blood boil.

I decorated her nursery in yellow and green to keep it more gender neutral. I bought her toys from both sides of the Toys R Us store. I’m a huge advocate for gender equality and human equality. I am raising a little girl during a time period where a woman very well may be president. Fingers crossed. Prayers answered. I am hopeful to see that happen in my lifetime.

Sadly, I am repeatedly shocked by how little an impact my beliefs and values seem to have on my daughter. She is completely rooted in gender stereotypes. She likes pink and ballerinas and thinks boys cannot be pretend princesses and should only have “boy” hair.

We have had long conversations about whether boys can have long hair or even wear dresses. I told her that, despite what she thinks, some boys do wear dresses, have long hair, and even wear makeup. We have also discussed at length that some girls have short hairstyles and drive trucks and even play with swords. To really blow her mind I told her that men marry other men and women marry other women. She couldn’t fathom it. We live in a place where she doesn’t see these things happening very often. So she often doesn’t believe a single word I say. She has to see it to believe it.

You'll Never Be President Because You Are A Girl

I asked her to explain why women couldn’t be presidents. She said, “Because they don’t dress like presidents.” That’s when I realized what she was getting at. The other day when a bunch of men in ties walked by she said, “Where are all of those presidents going?” She clearly believes presidents wear ties and that wearing a tie means you must be a president. She doesn’t see people in her life wearing ties too often. We are pretty laid back in the West. People often joke that to dress up is to wear “new” jeans. She mostly sees men in ties on TV during elections and Presidential debates. For her, clothes truly make the man…or woman.

I try not to worry about what our culture is teaching her about men and women. I hope the examples we set at home and the conversations we have (or she overhears) will help form her opinions, but sometimes her perceptions are truly a slap in the face. When she said girls couldn’t be president I had no woman president to show her, as an example (or proof), that it was possible. I mean, we haven’t had a female president in this country yet. In some ways what she says rings true…I find myself wondering, can a girl really be president?  She’s right about other things too because what people wear really does seem to be an important factor in how they are perceived by others. When Tiny-Small wears her pink tutu and has bows in her hair people stop to compliment her. When she shows up in sweatpants and a Batman T-shirt nobody says anything. She is paying attention. She knows, at the age of four, that embracing gender stereotypes is rewarded with social acceptance. She has witnessed another parent berate his son for wearing a dress and pretending to be a princess during pretend play. She sees the writing on the wall and there is little I can do to persuade her otherwise. At times it feels like there is little I can do to prevent her mind from being polluted by harmful social and cultural expectations.

The other day I went to a thrift store and bought a bag of doll clothes for Tiny-Small to play with. When we opened it we discovered a child-size clip on tie in the bag. Later that day as I came around the corner she had her dolls set up on the coffee table. She was wearing the clip on tie and delivering a speech to her audience. I almost cried because finally she believed she could be a president. This gives me hope that maybe at four years old her brain can only process so much information and that as she grows and has new experiences her ideas about the world will change. That her world will expand beyond what she has seen in the small town she lives in. That she won’t feel limited by stereotypes, or judge people by the clothes they wear, or think she cannot be president even if that is what she truly wants to be.

We Made Clothes Pin Mermaids

Our weekends are starting to get packed with craft making. Tiny-Small likes to make presents for the holidays and we are starting earlier than usual this year. I think that is a good thing. We recently made clothes pin mermaids. If you’d like to make some too visit Red Ted Art because that is where we got the idea and the directions to make them.

We Made Clothes Pin Mermaids
Making fabulous mermaid tails.

Tiny-Small had a blast painting glitter glue on the fins, and then, because we like to be extra fancy, we glued some other things on for extra sparkle. You really cannot have too much sparkle when you are a four year old girl…or a mermaid.

We Made Clothes Pin Mermaids
Here they are!

We were thinking they might make cute refrigerator magnets or Christmas tree decorations. I found some pipe cleaners and strung them through the clothes pin slots and they doubled nicely as a way to hang them and as mermaid arms.  We used whatever yarn we could find in my craft stash for hair and sharpie markers to draw the faces on. It was a blast!

We Made Clothes Pin Mermaids
It’s blurry because she was too excited to sit still!

After they were dry, Tiny-Small decided to select a few to play with as dolls. She sat and played “house” with them for quite a while. She even asked if we could make them some dresses. We might do that on another day.

I did see a tutorial for clothes pin ballerinas go by. I am all about making little tutus. We might try making some of those next time instead.

Every year we make a big portion of our gifts. Most of the people we give gifts to are adults and they have everything they need. So we tend to focus more on how we can use our time to express our love. This usually includes a lot of painting, gluing, and baking. I am pretty excited that we are starting earlier than usual this year. Hopefully that will take some of the pressure off once the December crunch rolls around.

I am also really enjoying Tiny-Small at this age. She is getting old enough to follow some directions and her drawings and creations delight me to no end. I am really excited about the possibilities and art-making activities ahead of us this year.

Are you making any crafts for the holidays or with your kids right now?