The Mother of Adventure

Colour Me Happy!

on June 1, 2015
Brooke, Sonia & Lily

Brooke (left) of Crayon Occasion, Sonia and seven-year-old Lily at her birthday party.

I’ve always seen my girls’ birthday parties as a creative opportunity – a chance to celebrate their unique, emerging personalities.

Kids go through different stages and phases, and in an effort to embrace that I aim to build a party theme that reflects one of their passions or interest areas. My daughter, Lily, absolutely loves to draw, so we decided to plan a drawing party for her seventh birthday.

I recently met a very talented and enthusiastic fine artist named Brooke Alexander, who has launched a small business in Ottawa called Crayon Occasion. Brooke offers painting lessons for children ages six to 12, teaching kids to create their own masterpieces based on art styles like realism or impressionism. She provides all supplies – canvases, paint, brushes, etc. – for the duration of the six-week session, and participants (and their parents) are always in awe of what they produce under her direction.

In addition to ongoing classes, I learned that Brooke offers drawing lessons customized for birthday parties. What could be more perfect for Lily??

Hiring Crayon Occasion turned out to be a great decision, as Brooke was a huge help with the party planning. Leading up to Lily’s big day, Brooke contacted me to ask what we preferred in the way of a theme for the drawing exercise. Since Lily was in the throes of a dragon obsession, we decided to give her party a “mythical creatures” theme.

Building on that idea, Brooke drew an original unicorn-and-dragon image, which she sent to me via email for approval. She was open to input and made several modifications – insisting that both Lily and I be 100 per cent happy with the final image. She truly went out of her way to please!

White board

Brooke leads Lily and her party guests in a step-by-step drawing tutorial.

On the day of the party, I had two large tables set up for the kids to work on their drawings. Since the two groups were sitting in adjoining rooms, Brooke could move between the tables to provide each child with one-on-one assistance if they needed it. After showing them her beautiful, completed image, Brooke gave the kids paper, pencils and step-by-step instructions on how to replicate it.

Little artists at work

Lily and her birthday guests bring their masterpieces to life with pencil crayons.

Since Brooke has such a way with kids, everyone was very engaged in their drawings and eager to follow the teacher’s instructions. Once their images were completed, Brooke helped the kids bring it alive by adding colour. At the end of the party, each child went home with a frame-worthy drawing of their very own! I had also arranged for Brooke to provide an additional black-and-white image – another original that she had created – to take home for more colouring; that made a great addition to the loot bags I had prepared.

Book reading

Party host Brooke reads her published children’s book, “Little Mia’s Big Heart”, to an attentive audience.

 

After cake and opening gifts, Brooke gathered the kids for a reading of Little Mia’s Big Heart, a beautiful book that she wrote and illustrated herself. It was the perfect way to wind the kids down and wrap up one of the best kids’ parties that I’ve pulled off!

 


4 responses to “Colour Me Happy!

  1. Geoff says:

    What a great service. I’ve always argued that art should be a core subject at school rather than the afterthought it so often is – on its own merits and because I think it informs and influences thinking in “academic” subjects. I read an article somewhere that described how many Nobel laureates were proficient in visual arts and music. I hope the short shrift art gets in school means success for Ms. Alexander.

    • You’re so right in describing art as an “afterthought” in schools, Geoff. It’s also interesting how it’s so much more an element in the younger grades, but completely dies off as kids progress in the school system. I agree with you; like musical study, I think it develops a different part of the brain that serves the developmental process well at a young age and throughout life.

  2. Louise says:

    What a great idea – both for a party and a business. Thanks for sharing it! I’m suspecting my younger one is the more visual arts inclined one – so I’m keeping a bit of a look out for future reference 🙂

    • The party really was a ton of fun – the kids loved it. I also have a friend who has her daughter in Brooke’s painting classes, and the artwork this little girl is generating is quite stunning. Brooke truly is gifted at what she does.

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