Annabel painting when she was not yet two
Annabel has always loved to pick up a paint brush.  For me, this is such a gift because now that I am nearby, we can paint or draw or mush about with oven-baked clay every week or so.  At two, just making circles with the paint brush was an adventure.  Now, at five, she wants to paint a butterfly or a snail, she is more aware of the different colours and every picture has to have that big yellow sun in the corner.  

Last painting visit, we went into the garden with the magnifying glass and found all sorts of little flowers on shrubs and hidden in the grass that she hadn't noticed before.  The bugs were still hidden, otherwise they would have been brought inside with the flowers.  

With a little help, some rough shapes were made and she painted in the colours.  The teacher's mantra "I do it, we do it then you do it"  works sometimes, but mostly she is impatient to get going faster.  It is important to me to leave the control of the artist's work in the hands of the little artist.  I do not draw the outline of the picture and I resist my urge to put my own hand on her brush - but I am trying to coach her about the lines and the shapes.  She seems to have her own instinct about mixing the watercolours and she is learning about keep a nice point on her brush.  

We were both thrilled with Annabel's version of An Edwardian Woman's Journal for a day in early April.  I hope the painting doesn't get lost!

If you wish, it would be great to hear about your experiences of painting with children, or even your own memories about how you started with a pencil or chalk.  
In my portfolio, View from the Doggy Beach shows beautiful blue ocean minus the huge container ships that are usually lying off the coast - a dozen or more.  Every day, white sailboats flit past these behemoths, as do low but long rowing boats, windsurfers, sea planes, tug boats - it is always party time on the waters off Vancouver.  My painting was more about the place where the dogs play in Kitsilano than it was about industry and the economic health of the Vancouver port.
Yet I did paint Westward Under the Lion's Gate, showing the orange and blue of a huge container ship leaving our country, and I was somewhat resolved that the setting sun reflecting off that ship had its own kind of beauty.  My most recent piece, After the Storm, shows those same ships which seem to be guarding the entrance to the city as the final sun showers move off the coast. (a February photo shown above).    
I respect that many artists paint the urban landscape with magnificent towers and that some relish the rust on old boxcars and Model T Fords.  It is fun to paint that rusty stuff sometimes.
But I believe that my personal theme is more connected to trying to capture the light, trying to make it shine through my paint, trying to find where that life-giving light is glowing.
This week, we watched Captain Phillips and marvelled at the drama that played out on such a big ship.  I don't believe I will ever see another container ship without remembering that terror at sea.  I wonder if I will paint many more of these big metal creatures.
What is your favourite subject for a painting?