New Painting Reveal: Love! (An Explosive Sound)

To say that I’m excited about this one is an understatement. I’m so freaking excited about it!

I’ve been toiling away at this one with a rare approach to my work: only work when inspired to. This means that the timing, the external pressures, the weather, the paint supply, every single little thing had to line up for me to feel that surge of raw excitement to work on this. Even the moon had to line up with Venus AND Mars! (Kidding. I’m a little weird, but not that weird. Yet.)

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This large piece started out as something else altogether. I tried a few different paintings on the canvas, but they never went anywhere. I kept painting over top, and on the eve of Magnus’s first birthday, I was reminiscing about the last year with him. He joined the family as #2, but is a force to be reckoned with. Wild, hilarious, creative, independent, and musically driven. We spent the first two months sleepless as he screamed and it seemed that only loud renditions of Sia’s Chandelier did the trick to soothe him for short bits of time. He’s grown into this unique, incredible person, all his own.

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In an attempt to capture his vibrant, bursting personality, I had the vision for this piece. I immediately named it Love! (An Explosive Sound) to honour his energy, his vocal skills, his smile that bursts a room into laughter, and his amazing musicality. He hears any rhythm, stops what he’s doing, and breaks into dance. This piece is an Ode to Magnus. It’s a visual representation of the bursts of love that explode every time I think of him, look at him, kiss him, talk to him, see a picture of him … everything about his being, I tried to throw into this piece.

I think it’s sometimes overlooked, to put a piece of art in a child’s room that isn’t filled with cozy animals and soft tones or primary colours. Yet, I wanted to give him something special. Something he would love now, and as he grows.

And so, here are some photos of my process, and of the beautiful, wild Magnus with his original piece, created on canvas with acrylic paint (neon and metallic tones included), crayon, paper (dictionary pages and the sheet music to Mockingbird), and white charcoal pencil.

This video is from when I first started the process, after a couple of base coats.

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And then, some progress shots of the instruments:

Finally, Love! (An Explosive Sound):

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You Remind Me Of You

I was driving home tonight and had Jack Johnson on shuffle on my Apple Music stream. This song came on, and I’d never heard it before (somehow) and it seems to me like it could be the most important song for parents to hear.

The simplicity of the lyrics is the perfect metaphor for the simplicity of it all: everyone is just who they are.

We so often seek identity for our kids. We want them to be like us. We want to see ourselves in them. Strangers will comment on who they look like and so will the closest family members. “He got that from his daddy!” or “That’s you when you were little.” These are common choruses.

But the thing is … no.

He’s his own person. I am not the holder of his identity. I am not the one who decides his interests and I certainly never want to be that, either.

So here, so easily, Jack Johnson sums it up perfectly, without a single complication:

Well your mama made you pretty
And your mama made you sweet
Your daddy gave you daydreams
And more cushion in your seat
Your mama gave you those windows
To your beautiful soul
Your daddy got more love for you
Than you could ever know

You remind me of you
Yes you do now
You remind me of you
Yes you do

Music For You & The Kids – Session 3

Music For You & The Kids – Session 3 is a mellow mix of acoustic sounds. This was our soundtrack for Sunday morning, as we tinkered away baking muffins, eating the muffins, and cleaning up after the mess. It was the perfect backdrop for a rainy day.

If you want more music, check out Music For You & The Kids Session 1 and Session 2. These are curated by me, and are music my family enjoys listening to without the nasty (albeit catchy) of some of the music out there (that seems to always come up when you just hit “shuffle”!)

Enjoy, and leave me your feedback!

The Playlist:

Lennon & Maisy – Lean On (cover)

John Mayer – Daughters (live)

Karen O & The Kids – All is Love (from Where The Wild Things Are)

Arcade Fire – Wake Up

The Temptations – My Girl

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes – Lullaby

Jason Mraz – Shine (live)

Jack Johnson – I Got You

Ingrid Michaelson – You & I

Weezer – Island in the Sun

Israel “IZ” Kamikawiwo’ole – Somewhere Over The Rainbow/What A Wonderful World

Music For You & The Kids – Session 2

Music For You & The Kids – Session 1 has been the soundtrack to many evenings after supper as we do dishes, dance around and tidy the house.

Session 2 has all new songs and can be found here.

Enjoy! 🙂

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Music Monday: A Playlist

Sometimes, it’s hard to turn on the radio and be okay with the stuff that is played. Don’t get me wrong, I love bouncing around to it, and so does my kid, but as he grows older, and standards become lowered for what can and can’t be played, I like to turn to playlists. This gives me ultimate control of what’s being played, without having to run to the media player every time a song ends. It also means I can listen to adult music that is kid-friendly. The content and words are appropriate for kids to listen to.

Today, I’m sharing with you “Session 1” of my “Music For You & The Kids” series. I hope you like it. These are songs I love having in the background while we eat, play, art, and drive.

Music For You & The Kids (Session 1)

The playlist includes:

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Ukulele+Baby – Riptide Tutorial

Hi everybody!

It’s been too long since I’ve posted a Ukulele+Baby tutorial, so here is the second instalment. “Riptide” by Vance Joy is a personal favourite, and is also a favourite of Kingsley’s! We regularly sing this song, and he normally bounces and hums along. In the video, he’s teething and tired. BUT – music is healing, so watch how his demeanour changes.

Good luck and enjoy!

Looking for the FIRST lesson? The introduction and explanation of all the ukulele stuff? Find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHD6sP7emeE

Ten Ways To Bring Music To Your Creative Baby

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Music has always been a big part of our home, but since we’ve had our Creative Baby, it has become an even bigger piece of who we are as a family. We are not professional musicians by any stretch of the imagination, but music is something we just can’t get through a day without. Since he came home, music has been playing throughout the house for Kingsley – and I’m not talking kid’s music. We play very little of that.

Here are ten ways that you can expose your baby, or toddler, or kid, to music more than you might be now:

10. Make instruments and music yourself. Shakers, drums, whatever – you can build it and explore with it. Almost anything can make a noise, and noises make music. Explore!

9. Move the TV out of your main living space. By getting rid of the soul-sucking TV, you’re opening up so many more opportunities for exploration. Granted, you may not have anywhere else to put it. I get it. We used to live in a house like this. We now have a rec room space downstairs where our TV is, and it has made an incredible difference to how we interact, how much music we listen to, and how much music we make together.

8. Have instruments around – and use them! So you’re not a musician? That’s okay. You don’t need to have guitars and
ukuleles and a piano. Maybe you’ve got an old midi keyboard from when you were 10. Maybe you’ve got a shaker. Whatever you can get your hands on, have it around, and make a point of using it with your little one. Kingsley regularly tickles the piano keys ever so gently, and bangs on the Jambe drums we have in the living room.

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7. Learn an instrument. Yes, you, oh perfect adult! You can’t sing? You CANNOT PLAY? I don’t buy it!! Youtube is an amazing resource. I have even posted some Ukulele tutorials. There is a lot of learning that can be done for free, through the online communities or through friends. You don’t need to be a performer, or amazing, but you should be willing to learn and to be vulnerable for your baby. This is going to model for them how your “growth mindset” allows you to take risks, have fun and continue learning for your whole life!

7. b. Play that instrument with your kid in your lap! Talk about bonding!IMG_2074

6. Build a Youtube playlist of your favourite songs and music videos. We often listen to the Sesame Street Celebrity videos (particularly Bruno Mars’s “Don’t Give Up!”, Will.I.Am’s “What I Am” and Usher’s alphabet song). I know that earlier I said to not watch stuff, and to listen to music instead, but life is about a healthy balance. A music video here and there isn’t going to ruin any lives.


5. Play music in the car – and sing along!
So fun. A colleague told me that when learning a song we were putting together to sing for our school on the last day, she played the song over and over in the car every day. Her son (kindergarten) knew the words before she did! My own kid (age: one) cries if we put on Talk Radio, but is happy if there’s music.

4. Play music on walks. This is pretty easy for us because there’s only one other house on our country road. I turn up the volume on my phone and play music, and Kingsley sings along and claps his hands. If you’re in a high density area, this may not be something you want to do!

3. Find live music. It could be a busker, or a kid’s show, or a concert in the park. Always remember to be sensitive to your new human’s delicate ears.

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2. SING and dance. Creative Mommy will be the first to tell you that she isn’t a musician, but it hasn’t stopped her from learning to play some chords on the guitar, ukulele and piano, or from singing along when I pull out the guitar or ukulele for a sing along. When we are both singing and playing, Kingsley looks like he is in Heaven!

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1. Play music. Yeah, I’ve sort of said it. BUT … It seems simple, though so often we turn on the TV for noise, or just have nothing going. With music, there is nothing to watch, so the focus is on the sound, rhythms, beats, melodies … which can be enjoyed while playing, cooking, making art, eating – almost any activity. Try out a variety of music, too – just because they’re little doesn’t mean it has to be all Itsy-Bitsy-Spider. Play top 40, your favourite hair bands, or even classical. Exposure is key.