Saturday, January 28, 2012

Playing Games at the Easel

I'm starting to see a new benefit of having a double sided easel as the girls get older; they can paint/draw at the same time and have started making a game out of it!  Their most recent game was inspired by a funny and silly art book they have called, "When Pigasso Met Mootisse," by Nina Laden.  This cute book is about a pig and a bull named Pigasso and Mootisse.  They are modeled after, uh, Picasso and Matisse, and they move out of Paris to get away from the hustle and bustle and end up out in the country across the street from one another.  At first they get along, but then Pigasso criticizes Mootisse's work (or maybe it's the other way around) and they start feuding.  It gets so bad that they build a giant fence to separate their houses. Eventually though they start to miss each other and quietly go out and paint on either side of the fence.  This is the part of the book that influenced the girls in their game.  Tess stood on one side of the easel, and Jo on the other, and they very seriously assumed the roles of "Jo-asso, and Tess-tisse."  Laugh. Out. Loud.  Jo not only insisted on being called Jo-asso but she actually told us we could call her "asso" for short. Never ones to argue with the truly important work of children's play, we agreed!

The game was very cute and it inspired both of them to work for a long time on either side of the easel/"fence". This made me think of all sorts of fun things we could do once Tess gets a little older.  It was so interesting to see how different their works were (Tess-tisse painted and Jo-asso used crayon and markers) that I think it would be great to have them both draw a line (for instance), and then see the divergent paths their work would take.  Or to have them both use the same color paint, or crayons, or marker and see what they each came up with.  There are lots of possibilities for sisterly game playing at the easel as they both get a little older!
Jo-asso's work
Tess-tisse's work
In the end of the book Pigasso and Mootisse end up friendly again and all the critics love the paintings they made on the fence.  Over here we loved the works Jo-asso and Tess-tisse came up with, although Josephine, ever dedicated to a role, still insists she didn't do the painting, but rather credits "asso" with the work.


  1. Do you know the Follow the Line books? They're available in the US and I think they would fit perfectly into the scenario your describe above. I wrote about them on my blog if you'd like to find out a little more.

    I love that Tess-tisse and Jo-asso are so enjoying their exploring and creating! Please tell them a visitor from Australia very much enjoyed their work.

  2. Thanks for your comment! I will tell them and they will be excited! We've already learned several really useful things from your blog and I will definitely check out the Follow the Line books, because I don't know them.

  3. Mary, thank you for this blog and for these great ideas! I am not artistically inclined and you have helped Ben and me explore art together. Yesterday we spent hours making paintings of one color at a time using different shades, and then another set of paintings that expressed how the music we listened to made us feel. The cereal sorting idea will really come in handy for Jake. Keep it coming! --Shannon Lyons

  4. Thanks so much Shannon! I'm so glad to hear you like the blog and that it's helping you make art with Ben and someday soon Jake. I really appreciate you commenting here! It's been a nice outlet for me to write a little and a motivator to make art with the girls. We would love to see you soon and catch up, but in the meantime thanks so much for reading!