cloistered away | enjoying simplicity

artist expression Archive



June 2012



our summer mantra: simple, unscheduled, & cheap

written by , posted in other

Each May, I stand at Summer’s doorstep, overcome with her freedom and bounty, only to watch too many events and activities drain those warm days like a funnel filled with fine, white sand. This year, attempting once again to savour our days and resist the temptation to over-schedule, we’re planning only a couple of out-of-town trips and keeping our activities at home simple (and cheap). Here’s some of the ways our family is embracing a “less-is-more” mindset and easing into our summer days:

  1. riding bikes together (mostly in the evenings now)
  2. freezing our fruit to keep us cool
  3. playing in the rain (We have to enjoy the rain when it comes here in Texas!)
  4. watching clouds and looking for familiar shapes
  5. creating poetry-inspired art (I read a poem and provide art supplies for the kids to create the imagery however they choose)
  6. taking trips to the library
  7. treasure hunting in nature (i.e. Find something red.)
  8. picking berries at a local farm
  9. swimming anywhere and everywhere from our backyard blow-up pool to friends’ and family’s “real” pools

How do you/your family simplify your summer days?






January 2012



a colorful commendation

written by , posted in other

Dear Blythe and Olive:

As your crayons, markers, and paints, we wanted to commend you for the passionate and endless ways you have used us. Most art supplies are created, packaged, and fated to be sent to homes for ordinary purposes such as coloring books and construction paper. The majority of paints have an even darker fate: a home where the mother puts them away in a cupboard out of the children’s reach. Can you imagine? But not you. When your mother tucked us away, you faithfully retrieved us, spreading paint all over the blank canvas of your body, carefully reaching between your toes, and even the bottoms of your feet (to make sure we painted the floor when you walked). Genius! You, Blythe and Olive, knew the world needs color, and your mother must have recognized this too. Why else would someone paint their house in shades of white and light neutrals or have entirely white bedding, except to create a place for us, the tools of your artist expression, to shine? Even when she and your dad insist they intended the blank spaces of wall and cloth for their own beauty and design, you know better. Yep. You joyfully persevere in full force, swirling with varied intensity all over those forsaken places. And when they repaint the walls or use those horrid Magic Erasers, it increases your resolve to start again or try a new space, such as the windows, your clothing and toys, and of course, our personal favorite, the interior of your mom’s car. We, your loyal art supplies, want to reassure you: we value this, even when your parents do not.  And of course, we will highly recommend you to our relatives, the permanent and even more versatile art supplies, who can thrive well beyond the Magic Eraser.

With deep gratitude,

your washable art supplies

p.s. Forgive us; we should have included your mother’s make-up in this letter as well. In lieu of our oversight, we’ll include a lipstick-used-as-paint picture. I don’t think they’ll mind.

p.s.s. Blythe, we’re sorry. Your parents had “discovered and dealt with” all of your projects before we could document them. We’ll try to arrive more quickly to scene next time.