A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of being interviewed by Shelby of Shelby at Home and she was gracious enough to write a wonderful guest post for me as part of my “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words” series. She’s a talented artist and blogger and I love this story she shared behind one of her pieces of art. Oh, and stick around till the end where you’ll find a link to the process video behind her piece of art. Without any further ado, here’s Shelby:
Let me be honest, when I first became a mother I truly believed if I just did what I was ‘supposed’ to do as a mom I could shape them into the well-behaved, perfect children I knew I was destined to have. The reality: they are their own little people, through and through. They are just born that way. Another thing I learned: there is no ‘supposed right way blue print.’ The way my parents did it may have no effect on the beautiful little monsters that bless my life.
Let me back up. I was born to two amazingly loving parents who were young and not really prepared for a baby. I don’t know if anyone is ever really prepared, truly. But they were good people who knew how to work hard, taught us that if you work hard you can accomplish more than you ever thought, and they taught my sister and me what it means to have parents that love you. My mom always says, “the only two things a kid really needs is one, to feel safe, and two, to feel loved. We had that.
My parents always encouraged my sister and me to pursue our dreams and be who we are at heart. That being said, I don’t know why I ever got the idea that being a parent was going to be easy and that, again, I had some major bearing on who they are. I have a bearing on what opportunities – good or bad – that I allow to be put in front of them. But they run the show of their own little life… and it is amazing!
I have a son, 10, and a daughter, 8. They could not be more different little people. I’d like to blame my husband for some of their quirkiness, but he is often just as baffled as I am about where their little personalities came from. My son doesn’t have a shy bone in his body. We would go to the zoo when he was 2-3 and he would make best friends with some random kid. I would end up having to walk the rest of the day with a complete stranger because he refused to leave his new best friend. This was honestly painful for me seeing that I am a bit of an introvert and small talk with this kid’s grandma was killing me. He is an amazing kid and I am envious of his infectious, likable attitude toward life.
My daughter is the complete opposite: she’s always a momma’s girl and wears all emotions on her sleeve. And she has emotions! She is moody and tries every ounce of patience I have as she is the most stubborn person I have ever met! She has massive amounts of separation anxiety, yet does the announcements at school for the whole student body to hear. I can’t keep up. Her heart is the size of Texas and she shows all sides of it. I ask her, “where did I get you?” She replies, “from God.” She says it like, duh mom! I love her and her fiery personality.
A couple months ago, I felt that we needed some sunshine. My hubby was not yet home from work and it was just me and the kids and a nice day. Sometimes I love just seeing where their little personalities will come out. It’s unpredictable and fascinating. I gave them each a camera and told them to take some great pictures they could use as inspiration for their art projects.
Art is the one thing I have tried to always have around them. It’s an expression of our most inner parts and I think it’s good therapy even for kiddos. We left on our walk and I was anxious to see what direction they would go with their pictures. Mason had a very deliberate straight-forward approach to his pictures. McKenna wanted a full story. She wanted me to take the pictures of her posing here, posing there. She is such a ham.
The pictures were meant to inspire her. It turns out I was the one who was inspired. I felt like the time I spent with them both that day totally exemplified their personalities. Art is emotion and that day ‘my cup runneth over’ as they say. I had to paint my daughter just as she was – silly, sweet and all heart.
This painting I did in two sessions. I am more of an illustrator at heart. Despite art lessons and tutorials that tell you otherwise, I start with a pastel drawing. I am also a figure painter, so highlighting the most important part that I want to be the focus is always first. In this case, it was her face. That took one session and then the more loose background and such took another session.
I think it may be one of my favorites. Emotion is the driving force behind all enjoyment of paintings. If we didn’t care about that aspect any ol’ painting from the dollar store would be fine to hang on our walls. But our love for what the painting represents is what makes it into a real work of art in our eyes. This painting might as well be my heart on the canvas.
There is no making these little monsters into the people I thought they should be, I wouldn’t even dream it. God sent them here far more amazing than anything I could tried to make them.
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Y’all, how amazing is Shelby’s art? I love to hear her heart behind this stunning piece. You can see more of her work over on her website Shelby at Home and on her Instagram and Facebook page. And as a bonus, here’s a Leaves in the Wind Process Video so you can watch the mesmerizing work in progress.