Monday, July 22, 2013

A Family of 5 Paints "en plein air" at The Florence Griswold Museum,OldLyme, CT

Today was the last day of my vacation and the first bearable day of the week, weather-wise. Boy, has it been hot and humid! So we thought it would be the perfect day for the zoo - we have a pass after all. But in true Family of 5 fashion we did not leave the house until 1:45 - with over an hours drive in traffic ahead of us and the zoo closing at 4:00, we quickly changed gears.

Getting off the HWY in Old Lyme we headed to the Florence Griswold Museum (where we also have an annual pass, although it's not expensive, in fact kids are free). Somewhere in the back of my mind I remembered that on Sundays you can paint "en plein air" which means in the open air. My girls love painting so this  type of activity fits us just fine. 

It was easy. We checked in at the front desk then walked to the building known as The Barn. Inside we were each given a canvas on a clipboard, a bucket of water and brushes to share, and a pallet of paint - just the primary colors plus white, which is even better, as the kids have more fun mixing their own. 

Now all we needed to do was pick a spot to sit down. Do we choose a spot near the deliciously vibrant gardens buzzing with bumblebees and butterflies, or do we settle in the meadow, under the tall oak tree? We quickly spotted four adirondack chairs in the shade by the river. The girls skipped excitedly towards them and I followed with my paint pallet and bucket of brushes sloshing at my side. My husband followed with Grayson in the stroller. The boys were happy to sit this activity out and just enjoy the outdoors as we girls let our creative juices flow (or in Addy's case, let all the colors flow together!)

It didn't take long for the pallet of paint to become a rainbow of greens, oranges, browns - everything but the primaries!  Next time I will get a pallet for each of us.

The three of us finished up our paintings and my oldest moved on to building a fairy house (which she has been into since last fall, when we visited the Museum during their fairy house exhibit).

 We checked out the menu for Cafe Flo, but it was a little pricey and not the kind of food my kids tolerate. Thank goodness I packed enough snacks to hold us over until dinner. With the fairy house completed, we headed, first returning the brushes and very muddy pallet to the barn. I can only speak for myself when I say I left there much more relaxed and satisfied then I would have if we had driven through traffic only to rush around the zoo and then drive home in more traffic, but I imagine the rest of the family felt the same. Best of all, it was quality, creative time together, and it was something we had not done before. I encourage you to step out of the ordinary day trip experience, and see what fun an afternoon "en plain air" can be.

Seat with a view - Jaidyn age 7 and Addy age 3

A serene scene
Paintings of the river: Artists from left to right: Addy, age 3, mine, and Jaidyn, age 7

Three years later, we paint again. 
This time Grayson joins in.
Addy's colors aren't all mixed together this time. 
My oldest helps out carrying the "sloshing buckets of water."
What says relaxation like a swan swimming by. 
Smocks provided, but not worn. 
3 year old Grayson's colors flowed freely. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your wonderful post! I "published" it on our page, but I don't see it anywhere. May I link your blogpost to the Museum's Facebook page? I'm so glad you and your family had a nice day!
    Tammi Flynn- Florence Griswold Museum