Art Blog Susie E Caron
Vermont Pet & Wild Life Artist
Twee Art LLC
Twee Art LLC
How to Know the ‘Who’ of Your Kids
Susie E Caron (c) 2019
The theme song, titled “Who Are You,” (adapted for tv’s original CSI series, composed by Pete Townsend and released by The Who in 1978), became my personal parenting approach. Beginning that year and within two years we’d adopted 2 infants. In those days we weren’t told anything about their biological parents or heritage. However, with this new song in my ear, I recognized I couldn’t possibly guess the ‘Who’ they would become until they each showed us. I stayed curious and open to the possibilities, a stance which continued from their infancy into young adulthood.
As adoptive parents, not knowing where your kids came from or who they may become can be an advantage. Many of us, regularly born kids, come into families with lots of history. As a result, we may suffer the unnecessary projected expectations of our parents and grandparents. I was one of those kids. While stories abound of butcher, baker and candlestick makers’ sons and daughters rebelling to move in different directions that didn’t exactly happen, with me.
I was a good kid (mostly) and did all of the traditional things expected in those years (mostly). I went to college, married, taught elementary school and adopted 2 infants. My husband and I agreed that I could be a stay at home Mom and I loved every minute of it. When our kids went to school, I opened and taught a riding school. My other career opportunities came and went depending on our kids ages, their growing needs and what was available wherever we moved, from time to time.
My rebellion or perhaps better written, blossoming, came later in my life when I retired with my husband.
I’m happy to report our kids grew up into fine human beings, successful in both their careers and lives. I wonder, if we’d pushed would they have become farmers and teachers, just as we were? Staying curious, we watched, supported and encouraged their individual interests and they ultimately surprised us. Our daughter went into the army followed by college graduation and good career choices. Our son acquired a taste for things alien to us: adventure, big cities, and the world of big business. Different from each other and from us – of course, we love them both.
I sometimes wonder ‘ Who’ I might have become if my parents had opted a curious attitude toward my developing interests. I’ll never know. However, I did find out my ‘Who’ after all.
Recently I received the honor of an interview and featured article posted on the Village Frame Shoppe Blog.
I invite you to read how I discovered my ‘Who’ in
Susie Caron Artist Profile.
( With my thanks to freelance journalist Leon Thompson and the Village Frame Shoppe, St. Albans, VT)
Open a Window to Your Kids with Paint
Susie E Caron
Want to get to know your kids better? Want to understand what makes them happy or what’s bothering them? Open a window to your children with paint!
Today I'll tell you why & how this works and what helps get the flow of information going-along with the paint.
How does painting help?
Painting together helps kids (and adults) express emotions and verbalize some of the thoughts that go with the feelings. Kids find it easy to paint. Painting brings out feelings easier than drawing because it pulls from a different part of the brain. The sensory experience of laying wet color on paper offers a kind of ‘flow’ state that allows feelings to become words - in a safe environment.
What you’ll need.
All you need is a cleared surface, inexpensive watercolor paint, brushes (or cotton swabs, pieces of sponge or rags), paper & water. Clear the table, put out the supplies and turn on a bit of music if you like. For kids between 5 & 9 this will probably last from 30 to 60 minutes.
Some painting prompts.
Now, kids will paint without prompts, but here are a few to help you get the conversation, and information flowing.
Ask them to paint their happiest feelings.
Ask them to paint what makes them mad.
Ask them to paint people they know and perhaps anyone they think could be scary.
Ask them to paint their family, house or school.
Ask them to ‘tell you about their painting.’
Don’ts and Do’s while they paint.
It’s important that during this painting time you don’t direct their paintings or correct what they tell you and don’t teach. If you really want to ‘hear’ them and learn something, this offers a fun time (and information too). This isn’t about right, wrong, or accuracy. Instead let them paint at will. Be kind, supportive and paint with them.
Paint with them. Your painting doesn’t have to be spectacular. If you have artistic talent – great. If you don’t just paint sky with balloons or flowers or hearts. Paint something that you can say it’s about how happy you feel painting with them. Keep it simple and loving.
What and How to ask questions to open their windows.
This is time for you to get to know your children better. So feel free to ask open ended questions. (Those are questions Kids can’t answer with a simple “ yes” or “no”. )
Instead of “Is that a picture of x,y,z?” Say “I like your painting. Tell me about it.”
Instead of “Oh that looks sad (happy, etc)”. Say “Oh that’s really interesting. What's it all about it.”
If you don’t understand something they say. Ask them to tell you some other way.
One more thing: How to respond to what they say.
It’s really encouraging to them (and they’ll tell you more) when you ‘reflect’ what they say. This is easy to do. Simply repeat what they say in your own words. For example, “So are telling me you feel like this activity or person is a lot of fun to be with.” Or “I hear you that situation (person) can be scary.” Or even “
“ Wow You really like blue trees.”
When they seem finished (or you’ve had enough) thank them for painting with you. Tell them you really enjoyed the time together and to see their paintings. After they dry hang them on the refrigerator for a few days. Don’t throw them away. Instead after a short time, offer the paintings to the kids for their rooms. Perhaps they’ll be replaced with next week’s art.
Reflect on What did you learn about your kids.
When you opened this window what did you learn?
You just provided a safe space and caring relationship with your kids. This is how you get them to open up to you. Now take what you learned and adjust how you want to keep the communication open and make this fun so they'll do it again. They may even continue to talk with you in their ‘tweens and beyond.'
Relationship is key to raising good kids. Listening to them and sharing an activity like painting will open windows to their inner thoughts and feelings. It helps develop an open and honest relationship between you and your kids for years to come.
Big 'AH HA' to Affordable Art
Susie E Caron (c) 10/11/19
An Art Experiment leads to an Ah Ha Moment.
What began as an experiment grew into a bigger, well smaller, but creative idea to serve more pet people.
I want to know what you think about this.
I engage in a lively pet art business, and regularly sell 2 or more 8x10 custom pet portraits a month. Because I enjoy serving pet people this way, I wanted a way to make a portion of my pet portrait art affordable to a larger pet owning and loving population. Cruising the Blick art catalog I discovered 5 x 7 unpainted easels along with 4 x 4 canvas boards. Those seemed to suffice. This was an experiment, so I ordered just 4 of each.
I picked out my subjects, sketched them and completed each one with acrylic paints and added a healthy spray satin varnish when dry. They were fun to paint and looked so cute sitting on their tiny easels. (Don't you think so? See 3 above.) Then I remembered something.
First A Little History
Years ago, after receiving my first acrylics, I’d painted some of each family members’ favorite things on wooden squares. I covered them in gesso, acrylic paints, and finished with satin varnish. This made them durable and waterproof coasters. Each family received several for Christmas. I even made some for us. We've used ours daily to protect our furniture from our coffee cups and cold drink glasses. The coasters are easy to wipe off and don't watermark or stain because of the waterproof materials.
The Solution to Create Affordable Art for Pet People.
I combined the two ideas. Hand painted-art-coasters plus little easels could indeed fill my desire to make pet portraits more affordable to pet people. I could sell them at reasonable prices. Customers can buy them for themselves, or for gifts, or possibly order a custom coaster of a pet or animal of their own choosing. What could be better than affordable pet art perched on a tiny easel that also doubles as a useful household item – a coaster? What do you think?
I really enjoy creating memorable art portraits for people who love their pets. Please feel free to contact me when you want me to paint one for you.
Write to me by commenting here or email@example.com.
The Sleepy Pup
Susie E Caron
The sight of a sleeping baby touches almost everyone’s heart. A sleeping infant, or animal brings out our tenderness and quiets us. Photos and videos of sleepy or sleeping animals and children appear so popular we encounter them frequently on social sites. Because I enjoy seeing them, I created this painting of a Sleepy Pup. I enjoy looking at this Puppy and I find it brings back some of my fondest memories.
I remember our infant son. After he’d fall asleep in my arms, warm and well satiated from feeding, I’d lay him down, press my index finger into his tiny palm and say to myself, “Remember this forever.” And I do. I also remember our baby daughter and the ringlets of dark curls, which formed around her face each time she napped. I treasured those moments I watched her sleep right before she would awaken.
Whenever I look at this Sleepy Pup portrait, I recall these memories as well as the many pets and animals we enjoyed throughout the years. Kids and pets all gave me moments of joy in their activities and soft pleasure when at last quiet sleep overtook them.
Now our kids are grown and over the years our pet population has receded. Truthfully, I’d love more kids and animals all around but at this stage in our lives that’s not a reality. I’m glad I discovered that painting pet and animal portraits gave me a way to surround myself with them and recall many of my own memories, as well as to share them with you.
Do you have some favorite memories of pets or children?
What items or keepsakes help you recall precious times?
As Vermont residents and visitors know, Lake Champlain remains one of our major attractions. Preserving its history, recreational possibilities and beauty becomes the responsibility of us all.
I recently joined with other artists in the Northern Vermont Artist Association's and the Village Frame Shoppe, host for this event, to create an art exhibit that reflects our passion and hope for ‘Preserving Lake Champlain.’
As a member of the NVAA and actively exhibiting in the Village Frame Shoppe, I wanted to contribute. To reflect my feelings about the beauty of Lake Champlain, I created two 8x10 acrylic paintings on canvas, titled “Sunset Sails” and “Early Winter”. My paintings hang in the VFS with other artists’ reflections on Preserving Lake Champlain.
If you haven’t stopped by, there’s still time to visit the Village Frame Shoppe, Main Street, St. Albans, and check out the beautiful art in this exhibit and more!
This exhibit runs from July 20, 2019 and ends August 24, 2019.
For more information about this exhibit, NVAA, the Village Frame Shoppe or my Twee’ Art LLC art check out these links.
People often ask me, "Why do you choose pets and animals as primary subjects for art?”
The quick answer is that I love painting pets and animals. I love to see them in my home and I love handing a newly finished pet portrait to its owner. However, their appeal as art subjects grew throughout my lifetime.
As a toddler I had a little dog I adored, I called Blacky. He died before I turned 5 and I guess I cried for days, so my parents didn’t want any more pets. I think I felt a bit pet starved after that. I married after college and began to gather a pet family around us. Over the past 48 years of marriage many breeds of dogs, cats, chickens, rabbits, fish, birds, turtles, goats, and horses filled our home and barn. As a result, I became familiar with their coats, colors and contours and loved them all. Of course, life patterns do change.
After retiring, and in our ‘golden years’ we discovered the difficulties of caring for so many pets. Then, as each one sadly passed away, we lived with fewer and fewer around. We decided to become a one pet family. Currently we have our bouncy Boxer rescue girl named Josie. However, I also missed the others and wished for the liveliness & ‘life’ they’d brought into our home.
Within a year of retiring, I started painting our pets on coasters, which gave me an idea. I decided to paint as many pet and animal portraits as possible; to keep me surrounded by their wonder faces and presence. Now our walls drip with their presence and I love them all over again. Some pet portraits are of our own pets. Others perhaps illustrate wishes of pets we’d love to have. Some remind me of very special pets who have passed on. Once again I feel surrounded by their life and unconditional love. I enjoyed this so much that I could not have predicted what happened next.
As I created pet paintings for myself and showed them to my friends and family, they began asking me for portraits of their pets and for those of family and friends. This became my delightful addiction as I discovered the happiness my pet portraits brought to these pet families. As a result of all these things, pets and animals remain my primary art subjects.
The sad truth about pets is that they rarely outlive us. While they live with us they bring life, joy, some craziness and unconditional love into our homes. When they pass away, we miss them. I continue to paint pets or animals for myself and others because I hope to offer happiness for those with living pets, and warm memories that will last a lifetime.
If you are interested in a pet portrait for yourself or a loved one, please think of me. I’d love to help give you the lasting memory you’ll cherish forever.
For more information click this link: https://bit.ly/2TH1csh.
To go directly to my contact me form click here: https://bit.ly/2SULKZT
Wishing you warm hugs and wet sloppy pet kisses.
Think you’re too old for this?
Susie E Caron
Do you ever think like this: “I’m too old to start something new.” I want to encourage you to change your mind and launch the next thing that’s in your heart.
Our daughter surprised us with a new thing one recent Christmas day - she played “What Child Is This” on the violin. We found this exciting because she is a beginning violinist at 38 years of age. We’d had no idea she’d begun taking lessons. She’d kept her newest adventure a secret so she could surprise us with her gift at Christmas.
Perhaps the Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
I’m guilty of starting new careers and hobbies too at different stages of my life. The list is long and includes teaching elementary school, directing church choir, performing a solo concert singing to benefit a school for the deaf, owning and operating a riding school, sewing trendy hats and bags for craft fairs, going to grad school at 50 years of age then becoming a licensed psychologist, and recently retiring to become a full time acrylic artist.
I’m not the only person who has started over, learning and engaging in new careers or occupations. Many others in history continued to reinvent themselves, sometimes after being blessed; sometimes after tragedy, sometimes after simply responding to a quiet ‘message’, which replayed over and over in their hearts.
Why not listen? God created you with many talents. Why not immerse yourself in the next adventure and follow your dream. You’ll never know where it may lead you.
Would you like some encouragement? Share what you’ve been wanting to do in the comments below. Perhaps we can encourage each other.
Hugs and Blessings.
Quick & Elegant DIY Silhouette Art
Susie E Caron
When I was about 13 years old, my Mother made me sit still in front of a strong lamp with no shade. Next she traced my silhouette onto a paper she taped to the wall behind me. She repeated this with every family member. My Mother later transformed those tracings into DIY elegant art. I can still recall the black construction paper silhouettes of each of us, carefully mounted onto white paper with red trim all around and displayed above our breakfast table windows. I didn’t realize as a teenager that years later I’d want to teach you how to create art much like those.
You can repeat what my Mother did for your own family. All you need is a strong lamp, paper and patience. (You’ll need it when you try to get a child or teen to ‘sit still’ so you can capture their profiles.)
Alternatively, I have an ‘elegant art project for you to do’ on Freebie Friday. This project gives you or your child an opportunity to do some fun, quick, inexpensive art. The variations are endless for DIY ‘elegant art.’ You may want to hang one or more up in your own home, or give some away as gifts.
What ever you do…..have fun. Art is fun and we all deserve a little fun now and again.
Questions or comments? Let me know.
Hugs and Blessings,
Alligators & Applesauce
Susie E Caron
I love cartoons
As you may notice on my Facebookpage , I use them often. I spent days coloring cartoons while growing up. Coloring, drawing, painting and using scissors are all ways that I learned fine motor skills and contributed to my artistic talents. Coloring recently became popular even among adults as a way to relax. I like that about art too. It’s relaxing but it’s also fun.
All my life I’ve had fun with differing forms of art. I used art skills to sew, cook and decorate. I even spent a period creating and selling handmade hats and bags for women and kids. Now I’m a full time artist painting animals, pets and selected scenes. Some paintings exhibit regularly in galleries. Some go to homes of beloved pets.
I love to teach.
You may have guessed this week’s Facbook Twee' page theme is built on the letter “A”. Tomorrow I’ll post a challenge for you regarding that, but right now I encourage you to prepare for Friday’s Freebie.
As I said I love to teach and coloring, using markers, crayons or paint is a good way to begin. Friday’s Freebie is a fun and easy project for you and or your child.
What you will need
You will need crayons, markers or paint and paper plus a computer and printer if you want to make copies. (Go ahead and make as many as you want.)
Alternately, if you have a painting app on your computer or tablet you can use that to complete this art project. ( I use photo editor on my iPad.)
Then I'd love you to share. After you finish, take a photo and share with us on my Twee’ page in next week’s, Truly Yours Tuesday thread.
I can’t wait to see your creations.
Any comments or questions? Please post below. Thank you.
Hugs and Blessings
I enjoyed a welcomed surprise, or two this past week.I received a 2nd place (red) ribbon for my acrylic painting Belgian Team Ready at the 2018 Champlain Valley Fair Art Pavilion, in the category "At The Fair". This felt good, as you can imagine. Then, as I walked around looking at the wonderful art all around me, I discovered another ribbon. This one was purple and titled "Staff's Choice Award". It dangled from my painting titled G"Night Horse. This painting depicted a girl and her horse, forehead to forehead in silhouette against a sunset sky. On the reverse of this ribbon the staff person/judge had penned this note:
"You've captured the love between the two perfectly, and the sky is phenomenal."
I treasured this little note more than the two ribbons combined. It meant a lot to me to understand what another person actually saw or felt when she looked at my painting. Of course I'm not unhappy about getting the two ribbons. Its just that the note added something more - the human to human connection we all crave.
Think about it. When you go to a meeting, picnic, or party, what's the first thing you do, especially if you arrive by yourself? You look for somebody to connect with. That's what I appreciated most. That human to human connection, even if only in a note.
After I returned home from picking up my unsold artwork, I discovered a message from a friend. She contacted me to inquire about this painting. She said she wanted to buy it and she told me why: "It brought tears to my eyes by bringing together the three things I loved the most - sunrise/sunset, children and horses." This pleased me and we worked out the details together.
I love this painting because it does illustrate the warmth of a good relationship. It touched at least two people who then enriched my life by connecting with me. Relationship, making contact person to person really matters. This can be forehead to forehead, in a tiny note, on text, by phone, or in person. Taking the time to reach out even for a brief moment can make a difference in our lives. Days later, I still feel good.
PS How do you like to reach out? Share your ideas in a comment here.
Blip About Susie
Susie Caron, acrylic artist, creates realistic paintings of pets, animals, and selected scenes. Her love of and experience with many pets and farm animals throughout her life, enables her to capture the unique feeling and expression of each subject. In her commission pet and livestock portraits, Susie also works with each customer to discover and then reveal the personality and special bond between pet and human.
Memberships and Affiliations