• Lawley76

An Illustrator’s Ever-Changing Art Wall By Amanda Kriese

There's a unique gallery wall in my house that's been a work in progress—I might call it a piece of art. Included is a macramé owl, handwoven by my mother in her youth; a narrow acrylic framed windmill painted by my paternal grandma; a charcoal sketch of sea turtles drawn by the talented hand of my cousin who passed away this summer (too soon) and was gifted to me by her mom; a large acrylic mountain/lake scene with "happy little trees" painted by my husband's maternal grandfather; and a simple painting of a Grand Teton waterfall done by my then-seven-year-old daughter. The display changes through the months as I add in elementary artwork I've saved from the years and tack them up with the season.

My children each enjoy art in their own ways. My oldest son is known for painting designs on his canvas shoes, customizing his skateboard, and pencil sketching. He's currently working on a pop-art painting to add to our wall.

My oldest daughter loves doodling. The most recent project was of all her junior high school teachers. She was proud of how "cartoon realistic" they looked but assured me they would be offended if they saw them. She loves hand lettering, quilling (using small rolled-up strips of paper), and buying old acrylic pictures from goodwill to then improve upon with her own goofy additions. She displays them all proudly in her room. Hopefully, one day she'll paint one to hang on our family wall.

My youngest daughter loves water coloring. We found some great websites that teach step by step, and she and I enjoy those moments painting together. Her room is covered in her artwork.

At night you'll find my youngest son in his bed with his sketchbook. His art is very simple, shapes built together forming abstract objects that he'll tell me all about as I tuck him in. He, too, finds calm within the paper and imaginative creations made with his pencil.

I bring my watercolor set with me on most trips with extra brushes and paper so others can join me. And I quickly learned that including a Crayola set for the kiddos was a must! It's an easy downtime activity that any age can enjoy! We've painted gorillas while at the beach under umbrellas with our feet in the sand. My teen daughter and some girlfriends made "Be Kind" New Year's Eve mantras on the trailer's back deck at the Sand Dunes. My mom and I painted sea turtles while on the patio of a beach house. I've painted Bald Eagles with friends while camping in the forest and made Valentine prints with my daughter and friends at a cabin while the snow fell outside. We gathered as sisters-in-law and nieces at a Thanksgiving family reunion, painting Christmas VW Bugs.

Art brings us together! It is time spent encouraging and complimenting each other, connecting and creating, remembering our roots, and recognizing the talents we have to share. It brings me joy to see each person dabble in his/her own art and see confidence rise as he/she creates. The wall is far from complete as I desire to keep adding family artwork—pieces of who we are and how we see the world. This wall represents the talents and love of art in our blood and a unique way to share that love with others. This way, our family members, past and present, still live on in our hearts and in our home.