Traveling this week for the Thanksgiving holidays found us in my cousin’s house near Portland, Oregon. Many of us California family members visit every couple of years to the Pacific Northwest for some family holiday time.

A former teacher, my cousin is now an elementary school vice-principal and has always had a soft spot for the arts. Her home is full of her children’s painting and drawings, as well as her own, her husband’s and other family members’ creations.

One way she fosters this love of painting in others is to provide creative opportunities while family is visiting during the holidays. She brings out the acrylics, brushes, blank canvas and other goodies and challenges, urges, encourages us all to paint something.

Sunday she provided a 3-foot by 3-foot blank canvas.

blank canvas

It sat blank for a couple of hours until her sister painted a jellyfish in the corner.

The start of magic

Once that gauntlet was thrown, we had a sea life theme.

Soon, everyone slowly and courageously added their own interpretation, and magic was created!

The weekly photo challenge theme is Magic.

We all had our chance to make some magic as a family. See the gallery for close-ups of the mural.


Finished product painted by John

Everyone contributed something, all differently inspired and painted freehand. I discovered I could “erase” my mistakes (see the octopus) with a dry wedge brush and some pale blue paint. Whew!

John painting the diver
John painting the diver

Although, we all have some art background, the real talent lies with my cousin’s son. His scuba diver is insanely amazing and all painted from his own brain.

His diver is truly magic!


Below is the magical gallery of the mural close-ups:

When we left on Tuesday for our 6-hour drive to Spokane, Washington, the next leg of our journey, there was still a large, blank space in the middle of the canvas.

Magic of sealife painted by family members
“Finished” product. What would you add?

What would you add if you could?

I was thinking of adding a whale shark right in the middle, looming into the picture with his great baleen-filled maw…

When we head back there next weekend, we shall see.

I hope you enjoyed this magical art show and that your family holidays are amazing and blissful!


46 thoughts on “Making Magic with Art

  1. What a wonderful way to celebrate family and creativity. I’m also a proponent of leaving the middle space blank. I imagine that something extraordinary was there and all the creatures in the picture are still reacting to it. Perhaps even wondering if it was real or imagined.

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  2. Wow, Terri, love this so much. Now I’m kicking myself for not being more creative when my kids were little and we went on vacations. That would’ve been a perfect way to keep the peace! Thank you.

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    1. Thanks, Laurie! Truth be told, we had mostly adults in the room. I imagined trying paint with my San Diego family for Christmas, but too many kids…paint would have been everywhere but the canvases, and I didn’t want to wreck my brother’s house 🙂


  3. What a great family activity! Personally, I LOVE the blank middle…it allows the viewer’s imagination to question and ponder.
    Happy Thanksgiving!!

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  4. What a fabulous idea! I love how everyone contributed something, regardless of their level of talent (although it looks like there were several talented contributors). Sometimes it’s important to just start and others will be inspired to follow. Have a peaceful and happy Thanksgiving!

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