My family has a long line of artists in every medium. I have furniture made by my great-grandfather and grandfathers. My brother is artistic and the similarities between my mother’s painting style in college and mine are almost freaky. When I found out Curtis and I were starting a family I couldn’t wait to be able to share my artistic genes. Fiona has definitely acquired a love for painting. Her 1st time painting was for her Daddy’s Office in January 2007. We started out with tempera. I knew how important her experience with paint would be and I wanted to save it on the proper material; canvas. I quickly discovered that although she loved to paint she never wanted to do it for more than 10 minutes at a time. Which worked out great for mixing colors and not letting them turn muddy brown and it gave us a chance to watch the painting transform over several days. Fiona really enjoyed herself and it was a wonderful way for her and I to spend quality time. It also proved to be an important therapy tool for all of Fiona’s delays. At first all I saw was a my child enjoying the craziness of finger painting. I started to see how painting was building her fine and gross motor skills. Fiona had to work on hand eye coordination to look at what she was doing. The texture of the wet and drying paint gave Fiona proprioceptive information about where her hands were in space. She could squeeze, stroke, and scratch at the paint and see the cause and effect of her motions.
The largest painting she has ever done is 36×48 it took two weeks (July 8, 2007 to July 22, 2007). Everyone who comes over quickly learns the story of how talented an artist Fiona is. You can see the spirit of fun and creativity come through in her art. Her art work is beautiful because of the color and composition and the fact that it was painted by someone so young. But it is more than that; because when she is painting all of her struggles with her disabilities melt away from the canvas.
Our mother and daughter painting time is so special that my mother, Marvelle Thompson even photographed her painting for her book, “Blessed Are These Hands an exploration and celebration of women’s values “ co-authored by Susan Kulman. This is the excerpt from Fiona’s picture, “Letting Fiona immerse her hands into paint is a sacred act. It is sacred because it connects her to me (her mother), her grandmother and her other ancestors who expressed themselves creatively with their hands. I want her to paint with my expensive acrylics and use real canvas because I want her to know that her soul, her voice, her creativity is worthy of a gallery wall.”
TITLE: Red and Blue
DESCRIPTION 24x24in acrylic on canvas, finger painted by Fiona Grace King from November 20, 2007 to Dec 8, 2007
Note Jessica King was responsible for priming the canvas and setting up the acrylic colors on the canvas so Fiona could use her hands (and feet) to paint. This means putting the paint on the canvas and using Fiona’s hands to spread out the paint in the desired area so to allow for greater surface area of paint and the mixing of colors. Jessica turned the canvas as needed to make it easier for Fiona to react as the colors moved around. Fiona is completely responsible for texture and emotion of paint on canvas. Each section of painting lasted no more than ten minutes and no more than two colors at a time. This allowed for the color blending and control of pattern.
Fiona was 2 when she painted Red and Blue.