Throughout the pandemic school closures I, like many, rode the waves of depression and anxiety on a weekly basis. I needed an outlet that I could pick up easily and that didn’t require any set materials. The last thing I wanted was to pull out tons of materials and have to put them up again when the house was already a constant clutter fest of kid projects and laundry.
Oh a whim I pulled out several old books and asked Katie to help me pick one to work back into. I decided that working without the pitfall of a blank page would help me feel less pressure to get started. At the time I had lost momentum on other projects and felt the need to pull something together to create some level of normalcy when I felt otherwise unbalanced.
Katie chose a vintage book on birds as my muse but it turns out it was her muse as well because it quickly became evident that she wanted to participate. As I was always searching for ways to integrate her into my studio practice to make these efforts more accommodating I immediately acquiesced and invited her to work directly with me to create imagery.
We tell “me part you part” stories all the time and have even created drawings this way many times. These paintings became more fleshed out versions of these younger explorations. I was hesitant at first to put too much influence on her but I realized that she often took inspiration from me as well, matching her themes and topics to anything I set out.
I was surprised how seriously Katie took the process and how much time she would spend on these collaborative works. I found myself frequently more inspired by her story telling than the imagery in the book itself. As she creates she verbally relates the stories behind the things she draws, pulling me into her world. It was an eye opening experience for me as a parent to see this little girls imagination unfold in such a tangible way.