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Breaking Free From Comparison

It's funny how the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Working with these two on art projects is like nurturing two mini versions of me. Throughout each project I see, and hear, evidences of comparison. I feel so fulfilled when we have our art supplies out and I can use the art process to affirm them of their unique value and speak life into the gifts within them.

This was a watercolor silhouette project! Fast, easy and fun!

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint', then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." - Vincent Van Gogh -

It's funny... how creatives are always comparing themselves to someone else. I keep reminding Ella and Fisher that they are 6. Which means my hands have been working on drawing skills for 45 years longer than theirs have. Creating with your kids is an incredible opportunity to teach them to offer themselves grace. I think it is essential to teach them the importance of pushing the lies away and creating despite their insecurities and fears. This is a foundational lesson for preparing the for life!

I thought their skies were prettier and I like how their cactus were actually quirky, and honestly, much more like the real thing. Mine look too perfect to me. Fisher likes mine better. I like his and Ella's better.

You may be a parent that is wanting to nurture creativity and self expression in your children, an art teacher, a creative that loves to create or a young person looking for fun art projects. But, whoever you are remember... DON'T COMPARE yourself to others. Have fun! Explore.

Art is most powerful and beautiful when it is a journey where you are having fun, experimenting, expressing yourself through what you create and finding beauty and worth in the imperfectly-perfect things you create. Art loses it's greatest power when the artist is motivated to impress others. Your worth is not in what you do or how well you do it... your worth is in who God is! Your deep value and worth is in that you were made by a loving God! He finds you amazing despite all the imperfections you see and despite how you feel about yourself!

For this project I used various supplies on hand.

1. Watercolor Paper (watercolor paper is best for the effects we wanted)

2. Painter's Tape (so the paper didn't curl and cause colors to run off the paper.

3. A spray bottle to keep the paper wet.

4. Scrap watercolor paper to test the paint/water ratio because I was using concentrated colors.

5. Samples of desert silhouettes at sunset (we used my laptop).


1. I trimmed the watercolor paper to fit into their school binders (printer paper size). I recommend this size or a framable size in case you or your kids want to frame what they create.

2. Study the photo or image you decide is your sample. This is only if you or your kiddos need samples to look at... I typically always have a sample. Or I draw step by step for them.

3. Trace with a permanent marker over the pencil.

4. You can finish filling in the silhouettes with marker or paint later. (We only have so much time for art... so sharpie was easier and we filled in with paint later). If you choose to paint the silhouettes do that step at the very end! Painting with black should be the last step!

5. Tape border down (using a tape that won't rip when you pull it back off the paper).

6. Prepare the mixture of watercolor paint and water to the intensity you want you colors. Test and experiment on a separate piece of watercolor paper for fun.

7. Spray the paper with a water bottle (I recommend an adult do this if the kids might get carried away with the spraying... you don't want too much water). You want a smooth consistently shiny coat of water... not pools of water.

8. At this point I offered little guidance. We all began painting and experimenting quietly. I feel guidance is importance to a point. But then exploration is key to them enjoying art and developing their own style and unique creation.

I LOVED the way they all turned out! I had to fight the urge not to repaint and create a different sky... I wasn't crazy about the sky. But it was a memory and the kids love creating together. I also am honest as I explain sometimes don't like mine and I push through the negative thoughts in my head. I think it is healthy for them to know I still make myself keep going and finish something even if I am frustrated.

A great scripture for those who struggle with comparison is:

2 Corinthians 10:12

"We DO NOT dare to classify or COMPARE ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are NOT WISE!"

Another life lesson to attach to this memory comes from words my principle encouraged me with I was teaching elementary art challenged me to ask myself.

"At the end of each day ask yourself, 'What did I do right today?'"

It is important to teach, and model, our kids to look at what we did well at the end of each day. Equal to teaching the value of repentance is the ability to encourage yourself!

Precious mom... student.... child.... whoever you are... wherever you are, ask yourself

"What did I do right today?" Rejoice in those things! Then search your heart and decide what you can do differently tomorrow? Close your eyes... and know that tomorrow "His mercies are new every morning!" You are God's masterpiece and He delights in you!


Thanks to the art teacher in KISD (Renee Turley) and her student, Christopher, who inspired this project. My son and I went to the KISD Rodeo Art Show this week and saw a students project that was the inspiration for this art lesson. He loved Christophers painting. Great job Renee and Christopher!

This is what I had on hand. I recommend using liquid watercolor. The acrylic watered down... was me experimenting. Sax bottled watercolors were what I used when teaching art in the public schools. Instead of the paint marker, black paint works well for older kids if your brushes are in good shape and you have a variety of sizes.

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