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Art & Motherhood: On Being an Artist and a Mom

Art & Motherhood: On Being an Artist and a Mom by Rachael Grad

Art Working at Home with Young Kids

My 3 kids of different ages all love making art. So I've learned the hard way that I have to work on art commissions and my own painting series when they're not at home.

Why can't I work on art commissions when my children are at home?

Because when they're home or in my art studio space my kids want to join me in making art. And I don't usually like the results when they go freestyle on my artwork series. Like most children, my young kids love painting and drawing. So when my kids are around we work together on fun artwork projects and crafts. This includes very supervised, occasional painting and drawing with my artist quality materials. Even kids can tell the difference with high quality paints and paper! 

Collaborative Art for Parents and Kids to Work On Together

bunny drawing with scribbles colloratiave art with mom and kid from Artist Rachael Grad

The bunny drawing shown here is a great example of why I can't draw or paint with my kids. My toddler insisted on helping me draw because “sharing is caring”! I was forced to share my pencils and draw together. Since this drawing, I now work on my paintings series and art commissions only when I'm alone in my Toronto art studio. I accept that when my children are around, art making is kid-friendly and based on joint fun. The results have been much better for both my own artwork and the collaborative art projects with my kids! 

Artist Mom Lessons Learned:

  • be careful what I say because it'll get repeated back, and
  • don't work on art with kids around unless I'm prepared to turn it into a joint art project. 

How My Art Practice Has Changed Since Becoming a Mom

Art & Motherhood: how my artwork changed when I becaem a mom by Artist Rachael Grad

The subject matter, style and focus of my artwork series has changed since I became a mom.  Before I had kids, I could dedicate longer stretches of time in my art studio.  I was able to work more slowly in oil paint.  Since becoming a mom, my art studio time is more limited and I fit art making in shorter bursts.  Sometimes I work on paintings and drawings at home in my kitchen.  So I've switched to working in acrylic paint at home because it dries more quickly than traditional oil paint.  Working at home in acrylic allows me to make more progress in certain art projects and time-intensive paintings. Even before I had kids, I would always carry my sketchbook and drawing materials around wherever I go. Recently this art habit has resulted in more quick drawings and sketches of outdoor Toronto parks when I'm out of the house. I also started creating more drawings of objects found around my house and interior spaces. 

Drawings of Toys and Stuffed Animals

You may have noticed original paintings and drawings of stuffed animals and toys in my Art Shop. A few years ago when I was a new mom, I started making colorful, bright paintings and artwork of characters, animals and toys for my child's room. 

I got really into this new subject matter of kids' toys and stuffed animals. In 2015 I began a daily drawing project that focused on observing and capturing the toys and stuffed animals around my house. Click here to read more Art Blog posts about the 2015 daily drawing project

Kids and adults responded well to this artwork based on favorite animals and beloved toys. Some parents bought the original drawings and paintings to decorate their kids' rooms.

Although my 2015 daily drawing project started as a way to get back into drawing, I was really pleased that some of the original daily drawings were purchased by parents for their children's bedrooms and family living spaces. Since 2015, I've regularly drawn my kids' toys and stuffed animals.