Life happens and when one understands that life is for learning then anything is possible.
The plan can act as a road map, but sometimes you just need to chuck the map aside and go off road.
A couple of weeks back the girls and I discussed a few possible paths forward for their current interests, one being portraiture and painting in general. Studying Georgia O'Keefe seemed a good plan as we have read a bit about her before and looked at her paintings. We also have some interest in studying bones right now and so have some specific subject material for her New Mexico phase.
So all was set......and then we visited a friend last weekend. In her lounge, a large painting of a female nude hangs on the wall - voluptuous and goddess-like. The painting immediately captured the girls' attention, drawn in by the subject, the colour, the lines, curves and shadows. They wanted to know how the painter had made her so life-like.
They wanted to paint a body too.
Now I don't know anything much about the nude in art history nor do I know very much about techniques for drawing the figure (any tips in the comments greatly appreciated).
What I have learnt is to recognise when curiosity is sparked and interest is engaged and really listening to and tending this glowing tinder is the only way to truly respect our children as constant knowledge seekers* and competent learners.
This image of the child is a vital starting position without which we cannot fully take seriously their lead. We hold this image and are excited to follow their lead.
And so we are figure drawing and where best to start but with your own mama.
I realise this isn't for every mama. I'm ok with it.
In fact, the unexpected route bears surprising gifts - a chance to really study a real body, the challenge of translating the complexity of the human body onto paper, conversations on anatomy and more.
As we are all in new territory here, I emphasised staying playful and light as they began drawing.
So far they are excited by the process and ok with the results too. There is talk of sculpting a figure from clay further down the track and I'll suggest trying one with wire too. They are also keen to model themselves and so they will draw each other sometime.
With the girls directing their own learning at times it just feels like I fling a few books around, suggest possibilities, help set up and clear away and otherwise just keep up with the enthusiasm.
I'm ok with that too.
*This term I took from the Reggio approach.