Eleanor the Artist

One of my favorite things about Eleanor is that she loves to paint.

We started with her first painting experience here at about 13 months old.  I was definitely the driver in that experience.  Now though Eleanor knows exactly where her paint set, brush and paper are and will go get them out by herself.  I just have to supply the cup of water and then she takes off painting.  It is the best activity in my book because it keeps her happy and entertained and creative.  I occasionally sit down and paint with her but not always.

Since Eleanor's been painting pretty much daily once she turned 2 years old, we've developed quite the stack of her artwork.  I've been meaning to write a post about it for so long.  While there are so many ways to track a child's development I think how they paint and color is an especially fun one.  So here Eleanor's art journey (it's a lengthy post full of more children's art than the average person wants to see, just warning :)).

At two years old, Eleanor's paintings were looking like this...
She was using lots of water in her watercolors and doing lots of long, random strokes.

I love when she started experimenting, using the bottom of the paintbrush to make lines.
Then around 2 and a half years old, Eleanor became much more deliberate.  She started choosing her paint colors carefully and would do more shapes.  Sometimes she would have a specific idea in mind for what she was painting and would tell me all about it: "Mommy, this is a tree and this is Daddy and this is Mommy and this is a biiiiig mountain."
^^"Done! It's peeeerfect, Mommy!"

She also went through a major rainbow phase for a while (and still occasionally does them).  I usually start with the first few half circles and then she finishes the rest. 
Then her coloring started looking more deliberate too.  She'd pick up a crayon, do a little scribble in one section and then another little scribble in another section.  And repeat that with several colors until the whole paper was full.  I love these drawings, they look like bursts of happiness to me.
Out of the blue one day she asked if we could mail a letter to her cousin Wheezy and ever since then we've been sticking her paintings in the mail for various family members.
I think we've convinced her that her paintings can cure all sickness and sadness because if she ever hears anyone isn't feeling well then she said, "Oh I need to color for them!"  She also loves to send them as birthday cards like the one below...
We will go to doctors appointments and while we are waiting in the waiting room Eleanor will start coloring a picture for the "wadies" (ladies, aka receptionists).
And she loves painting with her friends whenever they come over.
^^This was when Aaron and Annie were in town

Then in August, I walked by the chalkboard and found this little guy on the board.
I asked Eleanor if she did that and she said, "Yes, it's Daddy!"  I was shocked because I had never seen her draw a whole person before.  She pointed out which lines were his arms and which were his legs, etc. etc.

And just this past month, Eleanor has started painting people too.  She painted all these people in just one sitting!  I was amazed.  They are all various family members and she even remembers days later which one is which.

Her other recent kick is working on her E's.  She's become very into looking for E's everywhere we go ("Look Mommy! It's an E for Eleanor!!).
^^She gets going on her horizontal lines and just can't stop :)

Her art is slowly taking over the house.  The paintings of family members were up in our dining room and then other paintings are hanging in our kitchen and her room.
Documenting it all on here is actually giving me a lot of relief because I so desparately want to remember all of this but don't want to keep every.single.painting.  The stacks of paintings build up so quickly if I don't keep them in check! I'm hoping to keep photographing her work and then just save the very best of her artwork up on the walls and in her file.

I love this girl and the way her mind works.  She's creative, kind and silly.

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