An Artsy Birthday and Blessing For My Boy

Yesterday we celebrated Laurent's tenth birthday. It was a wonderful day dedicated to him. Special foods, an exemption from all chores, and a party all about Laurent's passion - art.

Laurent is a very easy going kid so it's not hard to plan a special day for him because he appreciates the little things. But a birthday is a day to go above and beyond and so although our lives are fairly intense right now we took a break from all that to focus on Laurent for the day.

We started the day with our traditional birthday breakfast of waffles and whipped cream (birthdays are non-vegan in our house). But before we even got that far Laurent received his first present - a cardboard castle handcrafted by Celine. She has been working very hard on this creation for the last month and she woke up extra early to set it up on the dining room table so it would be the first thing he saw in the morning. (I will be posting more about my childrens' homemade castles in the near future.)

Laurent spent the better part of the day drawing with his new professional markers. He is so happy with these tools and we are just as happy to help him on his artistic journey.

The big plan for the day was a late afternoon and evening art party with friends. This was finally our opportunity to make hand carved stamps. This activity was a big hit - with adults and children alike. I'm so glad we finally made time to do this craft and I highly recommend Geninne's Art Blog for inspiration and instruction.

We prepared make your own veggie pizzas for supper (food art) and served chocolate cake for dessert. Laurent decorated the cake with his own art. We originally thought he might do a self portrait but decided that was a bit tricky.

Laurent drew a tree instead, which I thought was very fitting since he loves nature. As he was decorating the cake the first book of Psalms came to my mind. I read it as a blessing and prayer for him before we cut and ate the cake. This morning Laurent drew another tree (with his new markers) and I added these verses.

Happy Birthday Laurent.

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  • Shannon

    Shannon on Feb. 27, 2011, 8:51 p.m.

    Wow, 10 years old? It's hard to imagine that they grow so fast. His artistic ability is amazing! Really beautiful and I love that picture of him so excited to open his present and his sister cracking up. Really beautiful, Renee.


    • renee

      renee on Feb. 28, 2011, 12:04 a.m.

      It's insane Shannon how fast those little boys grow. Laurent is closer to manhood now than babyhood. This is exciting and scary all at the same time.


  • Anonymous

    Anonymous on Feb. 27, 2011, 9:42 p.m.

    your son is really inspriring! his art is beautiful. i would love to hear from you any advice how to help inspire younger children with doing art. different people tell me different things and i'm not sure what i feel is right. for example, i have a friend who teacher her little kids how to draw things and on the other hand, a friend who tries not to draw by her daughters side so everything will come from her. any advice here???

    thank you and happy birthday Laurent!!!


    • renee

      renee on Feb. 28, 2011, 2:24 a.m.

      You're in luck! I have a few "encouraging creativity in your own home (school)" posts coming. This week I will share the start of a supplies list (there's a lot so I divided it in two) and on Friday I have a post on Simple Homeschool that I think will help to addresss your very question.

      I also have this to add with art and younger children. I never set out to raise artistic children, though I have always encouraged their unique creativity. Each child is different and some are less "artistically" (in the drawing/fine art sense) inclined. Laurent has shown natural aptitude in this gift so we have encouraged it along.  

      When the kids were younger we did crafts together. As they've grown they've shown interest in different artistic and creative endeavors. My oldest daughter is a skilled seamstress and likes creating things with her hands. I've featured her work on the blog a lot. Here's a couple posts you could check out.

      Education and Doll Making

      Celine sews a Sock Monkey

      Tristan's New Clothes

      There are multiple artistic talents and "drawing" art might not be what your child likes to do best though most little kids do like to draw.

      But... let's say your child is interested in drawing, here's what we've done:

      When my kids were really little I didn't teach them anything specifically other than how to use & care for the tools (pens, markers, paints) correctly. I let them do whatever they were inspired to do. 

      When Laurent was about 6 or 7 we enrolled him in a 6 week kids community art class. The main reason being it took place concurrently with Celine's dance class. That has been his only formal art lessons and after taking them he said if he were to ever have classes again he's want to focus on drawing (his love and passion). That class included clay, paint, paper mache and other mediums. 

      Then a couple years ago we did a short stint of lessons with the book Drawing with Children by Mona Brooks. The ideas in the book where good but following lessons of any sort (and the fact I had to plan them out a bit) is not our strong suit. We got halfway through the book but I don't honestly think that contributed much to Laurent's skill. But it was a fun activity to do with the kids and it was something we all did together, me included. 

      I hope that helped to answer your question. My own skill in this area is rather limited so I haven't taught Laurent really anything, except the lessons we did together. Damien has a bit of an art background and he has artists in his family so I think it's in the genes.


  • Claudia

    Claudia on Feb. 28, 2011, 1:18 a.m.

    Happy Birthday Laurent! I've actually been thinking about you lately because I've been using the knitting needles you made and that I won right here on Mom's blog! I haven't commented in forever, sorry. I am knitting some cotton washcloths and the needles with cotton on them feel so nice in my hands! I also wanted to comment on your amazing artwork - wow, you are very talented - keep up the great work :) Hope you had a great day! ~Claudia


  • Ginger Allman

    Ginger Allman on Feb. 28, 2011, 2:39 a.m.

    Oh Renee, the picture of Laurent opening his gift is so perfectly precious! The expression on his face is great but the real treat is seeing Brienne's face. Seeing the love in your family just makes me feel so happy!


  • Stacy of KSW

    Stacy of KSW on Feb. 28, 2011, 4:55 a.m.

    Happy BIrthday Laurent! What a wonderful way to spend a birthday and what a fabulous boy you have on your hands. My daughter turned 4 yesterday and we had a very similar day. Homemade waffles, lots of art, but doll houses instead of castles. Hope she stays as true to herself and the things she loves as your children have.


  • Renee Siff.

    Renee Siff. on Feb. 28, 2011, 4:30 p.m.

    Very happy (belated) birthday to Laurent! His artwork is growing and maturing just as he is! Very best to him and the next 89 years of being a "double digit" :)


  • Jenn

    Jenn on Feb. 28, 2011, 6:27 p.m.

    We've done the home made stamps here and they are so addictive!! I love it as much as the children do! :) In fact, we loved it so much that I sent kits to my niece and nephews so they could make some. (home made kits, very little cost) We just use erasers to carve into...much cheaper than actual stamp making material.

    Happy birthday Laurent, your art is amazing!! Beautiful and professional looking!


  • tara

    tara on Feb. 28, 2011, 8:02 p.m.

    Happy birthday, Laurent! I really love his drawings, especially his trees. Thank you for sharing his drawing with us. I hope he continues to want to share with us in the future. Now I want a set of those markers for myself. And the castle is awesome. Wonderful details.


  • Wendy

    Wendy on Feb. 28, 2011, 9:10 p.m.

    I'm always blown away by how each birthday celebration is "so right" for each one of your kids. It's so wonderful to see gifts chosen that are perfect for encouraging your children to grow in their God-given talents!


  • Nola

    Nola on Feb. 28, 2011, 10:13 p.m.

    How wonderful! You certainly have a boy with a lot of artistic talent. I love the tree with the verse next to it.

    10 years old...My oldest is 5...and THAT scares me! So little time to teach and be with them before they grow up...


  • Dee

    Dee on March 1, 2011, 5:13 p.m.

    Happy Birthday to him! I love Ten...having a 10 y/o son myself at present. I am looking forward to your art supply posts as I see an item or two on your table that my art loving family doesn't have yet! Oh, and that castle!!!! Now my kids want to make castles immediately. :)


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