A Little Newborn Painting Baby-Becoming the Artist of Naptime

One reason I finally started putting "pen to paper," or in this case fingers to key board, is that I got a ton of great questions from a fellow mom who reached out to me on the Insta.  It hit me,  I have something to add to the space.  I can answer these questions.   So here I am.  I am not an expert, but if I can share my experience with someone else in a  helpful manner, I want to do that.

So the question was this.  How were you successful at finding time to paint and continuing to paint with a newborn baby.  


I will say my first time around, I was in absolutely no shape to do anything else post-partum besides sleep, eat and nurse.  I had a minor, but unpleasant medical complication, and it took me a while to get in a good groove and to understand new mamahood. No painting took place there.

But my second time around I did some painting.  My older son was at school during the day, and I was on maternity leave.  I felt better about the juggle so when it felt good, I did a little painting time permitting.  I was able to create some new work for a multi-artist in-home show, but I was certainly not interested in putting a lot of pressure on myself.  The most important thing for a new mom is to take care of herself.  

The thing is for me, painting is stress relief.  It puts my mind and body at ease.  So I was happy to let off some energy in that way. So when my baby was napping, I escaped upstairs for a few minutes to paint.  Nothing major.  And when he woke up, I was right back there for him.  I was not particularly interested at that point in painting with my baby, i.e., baby wearing or having him play nearby.  I was interested in keeping my space to myself, keeping him away from my supplies, and keeping my hands clean!  But I can certainly envision others taking a different approach. 

With a newborn, you will want to become the naptime artist.  It might help to give your brain a break to switch gears and do something creative and relaxing.   Even if its for a few minutes.  One of my favorite artists, denise gassert, started this whole series where she started a painting in a free time, and considered the piece done as soon as she was interrupted, summoned by her children.  its an incredibly powerful body of work.  it shows real life.  It is literally snippets of pieces she has done in 2 minutes, maybe 15 minutes, etc.  She stops the piece when motherhood interrupts her.   That's how it is. 

So my thoughts here are, put on that monitor and escape for a few minutes during naptime, here or there. Craft your painting time as your alone time or relaxation time, if it is that for you.  

Take just a few minutes.  Don't start a project bigger than you can finish.  You may only have time to do a few sketches. You may need to pick up box of watercolors and work on paper. That's fine.  Start small. Start manageable.  And listen to your body and environment to see what works best for you.  


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