Painting Lessons From A 3 Year Old

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything aside from lists of things I want to do, and the things from my lists that I have done. And that’s not what I want my blog to be, so I’m not doing that this year. I still have my list, and I’m still crossing things off, but I’m not posting about it. Instead, today I want to talk about art. Because with a name like A Desire to Get Creative, this blog should have a LOT more creative posts.

My daughter Charlotte is now 3 years old, and lately she’s been wanting to paint a lot. I have acrylic paints and brushes and canvas board, and we are using them. It’s a lot of fun to watch her. She mixes the colors to see what happens. She swirls the brush onto her canvas board, and then she’ll make dots, and then she’ll zig zag the brush back and forth again and again. She gets one color, then goes for another. She never rinses the brush, she never waits for the paint to dry before choosing the next color… She just has fun. She enjoys the process. And I really admire that about her.

So the other day, I decided to take a page out of her book. I did my best to just imitate her style. I chose some colors and just had fun. And when I thought I was done and it looked great, I asked her how it looked, and she told me with childhood honesty, “Actually… it doesn’t look that cool.” And I laughed. And I kept working. And I asked again, “Char, how’s this? Now is it cool?” And she said, “No, Mommy, it’s not cool yet.” And I painted more, and covered up parts I didn’t like, and mixed more colors, and by the time I finished this time, and she told me that now it was cool, I realized that I absolutely LOVE the finished picture. Not only do I love it, but it’s better than it had been at any of the previous stopping points. I actually was thinking of giving up, and would have, that first time I asked her opinion. But by continuing to work on it, I was able to come up with something that is, if I do say so myself, stunning.

So now is the fun part: our own little art show. Charlotte’s first online exhibit! (And my own painting, which is the last one.)

Charlotte’s painting for Aunt Krissy’s office.


Charlotte’s painting for Grandma and Papa.


Charlotte’s painting for her cousin Kahlan.


Charlotte’s painting for her own bedroom wall.


My painting, trying to capture Charlotte’s style.

100 Things, 2017: December Update

I slacked off with my posting and updates, and I slacked off on the “doing Things” part of it too. I’m not gonna do a complete update, but I did check off things on my official list in my 2017 My Shining Year workbook. Saturday night, December 30, and I’m at 49/100 done. I’m bummed because I wanted to beat last year, which was 58/100. So my goal for the next 26 hours is to do as many Things as I can…. which is just 5 more. The videos (#7-#9) will be easy. I can also write a poem (#22), and do 20 minutes of silent meditation (#24). So that will bring me up to 54 – it’s more than half, and only 4 less than 2016. I can settle for that.

Another goal for the next 26 hours is to write my list of 100 Things to Do in 2018, and to work on other activities from the 2018 My Shining Year workbook. (Actually, I think I’m gonna backtrack to the first year, which was 2010 and I still have the ebook on my computer.) I’m going to write things from the ebook into a notebook that I can color and doodle and write in throughout the year.


If you click on the progress bar in the right side of the page, you can see the complete updated list.

100 Things, 2017: September/October Update

43/100 – Thing 62 – take Charlotte on a picnic at Bowdoin Park, 9/8/17
It wasn’t a picnic, but Charlotte and I went to the park with my parents to play at the playground. And we did sit at a picnic table and eat Smartfood White Cheddar Popcorn, so I’m counting it.

44/100 – Thing 66 – go to the Mid-Hudson Valley Gem & Mineral Show (September-ish), 9/16/17
I was so excited to go to the gem show, because this year I actually saw my high school Earth Science/Advanced Geology teacher! I have gone to the annual show a few times since graduating, always hoping to see him. I took Earth Science as a Freshman, and then chose to take his Advanced Geology class as a Junior. And then, he asked me to come help him out when I was a Senior so I was a student teacher for him. He took up a half page in my Senior yearbook when I asked him to sign it, and I stapled on the opposing page the graduation card he gave me, which had another long personal note for me. I’m sad that we lost touch, and surprised he still has the same email address he had when I graduated 17 years ago! I was almost giddy when I saw him again, and I’m glad to have another chance to keep in touch.

45/100 – Thing 43 – throw Charlotte a 3rd birthday party, 9/23/17
We had a great day! After going apple picking (that should be on my List next year) the Sunday before, we made an apple cake for Char’s birthday party. It was delicious. I used a yellow cake mix and added a teaspoon of cinnamon. I left out the oil, and instead I used two grated apples, and two diced apples. I used a plain white buttercream frosting. My mom was concerned that I added cinnamon and no sugar, but the sweetness of the apples balanced it out. Charlotte had a wonderful birthday, and her favorite present is definitely her LeapPad tablet from Grandma and Grandpa!

46/100 – Thing 26 – attend a flea market, 10/7/17
Mark and I left Char with Grandma and Grandpa, and went to the Stormville Flea Market. Wow, is it huge! The land used to be an airport, and the rows of vendors go on and on. We didn’t buy anything aside from food, but… we did have some really yummy food! It was fun, and it was nice to basically have a date with my husband.


Things Done Each Month:
January – 8
February – 10
March – 6
April – 5
May – 2
June – 2
July – 7
August – 2
September – 3
October – 1

If you click on the progress bar in the right side of the page, you can see the complete updated list, even before my monthly update posts at the end of the month.

Creating my system of Magic #NaNoWriMo #Preptober

This year I am re-writing my 2007 NaNo novel, Quest for Serentasia. There are a LOT of reasons for this, some of which are:

  • 2007 was my first NaNo, and my first attempt at anything longer than a short story. In ten years, my writing has improved in general.
  • I wasn’t nearly as mean to my characters as I need to be. In fact, 2008’s novel was written solely as an exercise in torturing a character. I killed my main character’s dad. Then I killed her, and her mom became the main character. I gave her depression and delusions related to the deaths of her husband and teen daughter. I made her paint when she couldn’t sleep because of the nightmares, but she would paint things like a bloody heart pierced by swords (classic Tarot imagery for the 3 of swords), and used this as my inspiration for realizing she’d had a miscarriage too that she never told anyone about. This time, I think I’m a lot better prepared to kill my darlings if needed.
  • I wrote a sequel in 2012 that introduced new characters, and I want to put them into this novel.
  • Most importantly, I didn’t have a system for the magic in the novel, and even as I was writing it I knew that I would need to define the magic before I could rewrite the novel. I didn’t define the magic for the sequel either.
  • There is a lot of dumb stuff that needs to be removed, even if I love the characters. I took on a couple NaNoWriMo dares that were fun to write, but have no place in the final story.

I decided it was finally time to write a new draft, but first I needed to come up with a system of magic that I can use as part of my Story Bible. I may or may not rewrite the sequel, but having a system will make this book much stronger. I took into consideration Sanderson’s Laws of Magic, but ultimately decided I needed a list of questions that, in answering them, would lead to a full, fleshed-out system of magic that would ultimately follow Sanderson’s Laws anyway. There are a lot of web pages and articles and books that would potentially help, but I settled on this questionnaire.

I filled in the questionnaire, and skipped around and came back to questions, and it took me several days to get a version I like. I took into consideration what I want my characters to be able to do, and what I need in the novel to stop or stall them. I thought about my villain character, and what I need him to do, and what could explain him not being defeated already, and what makes sense as far as why this time is different, why this time he will be defeated.

And I thought about how the magic is actually done. I don’t want magic wands like Harry Potter, but I also don’t want my characters to be gesturing, such as with a nose twitch (Samantha), a pointed finger (Sabrina), or a head nod (Jeannie). I thought about how I want to incorporate the elements, but it’s not fair if characters have to be near their element to do magic – then my air element fairy could always do magic, but my fire element fairy would have to carry around matches or something? No, that won’t work. So then I need a different source for their magic that could potentially lose power either partially or completely.

I am not going to post details here, but I am pretty much done now. I’m so glad I spent this time figuring things out before November, because the writing is definitely going to be easier. On to character sketches and plot outlining!

Writing Resources: #NaNoWriMo #Preptober

At some point I should probably look at my page with fave NaNo resources and give it an update, but for now I want to share a new one I just found. I’ve spent the past week or so slowly but surely working on worldbuilding for next month’s NaNoWriMo novel. I intend to write a new-from-scratch draft of my novel Quest for Serentasia, which I wrote for my first NaNo in 2007. I may be including elements of the second novel, Return to Serentasia, which will in turn, perhaps, get its own second draft next year. I am not even going to reread the original drafts first – I know enough of the storyline, and really want to improve it more than proofread it, so I don’t need to reread it.

The biggest problem I’ve had with these two novels is that I don’t have rules for the magic used in the magical fairyland that is home to the kingdoms of Serentasia and Felicimora. My biggest goal for Preptober is to define the magical system, which is going to make rewrites easier and more cohesive. So I have been doing a lot of research on worldbuilding and creating a system of magic for fantasy fiction.

Enter Eva Deverell‘s site. She has a ton of great writing worksheets and resources. Come for the PDFs on magic, stay for the PDFs on every other aspect of noveling. Actually, the amazing worksheets aren’t even why I’m posting, although they are certainly awesome enough to merit a post (and please, if you are a writer then go explore her site).

No, what I am so excited about today is the Novel in a Month Notebook. I will admit that I was a little nervous at first. A cute little booklet whose success depends on my printer’s ability to perfectly print double-sided pages, my own luck in flipping the pages the right way in the printer, AND my precision in cutting all of the pages? No small feat, but I was up for the task. And while I would prefer to buy a perfectly printed and stitched book, I’m really happy with the outcome. I haven’t decided what I want to do about binding (staples? rubber band? string?) but it actually looks really good.

My fountain pen soaked through the first page a little bit, which is a flaw in the system and obviously has nothing to do with the PDF. So I will be using my colorful, fruit-scented, glitter gel pens to fill out the notebook instead, and that’s turning out to be a lot better anyway. 😉 Here’s a quick photo of the notebook as I’m working in it. I will try to remember to post more pictures in December when I’ve filled out a lot more of it.