My Secret Surprise Art Project

A few days ago, I took the girls on a fun trip to do some nature drawing, and Emily drew this lovely seasonal tree drawing (along with big plans to repeat the same tree drawing in Fall, Winter, and Spring).

What she didn’t know was that for the last couple of nights, I have been secretly hard at work on a painting that was VERY much inspired by her drawing and the wonderful site One day when Mark took the girls to the garden, I went to the art store and bought some canvases that were on sale along with frames that were on clearance. Tip — check yard sales or thrift stores for super-inexpensive frames too!

At night, when the girls were sound asleep, I would paint quietly with the intention of surprising Emily with it once it was all finished. Then, this morning…..

“Emily…. Come here! I have something for you……”

“Oh… WOOOOW!!!! It’s… MY tree drawing, but it’s… more beautiful-er!!

To my delight, Mark snapped this photo at just the right moment!!

Her reaction made me SO HAPPY!! She LOVES it!!!! And she could not wait to hang it up on her bedroom wall!!

Like Emily, I too plan to paint these every season, (a seasonal series of sorts) but while keeping her inspiring drawings in mind.

It was fun to paint, and even MORE fun to surprise her with the finished painting!!


  1. Dear Valerie,

    The poison ivy looks even more threatening in the re-make!


  2. Aw, how beautiful! She looks so happy!

  3. What a great way to include both of you in a piece of art! And to make it a more permanent piece. Lovely! Can’t wait to see the other 3 seasons! 🙂

  4. That-is-the-sweetest-gift-EVER!!! What a lucky little girl…

  5. You are such a cool mom and so creative. Love the picture of Emily being surprised by this gift.

  6. What a treasure that you have given her to cherish.

  7. How lovely:) Emily’s face says it all – how cute does she look? It is so good to see a happy child – always makes me happy.

  8. That is so cool!

  9. Now this is one idea I’d never have come up with! Thank you so much for sharing it.

    (Oh, and I absolutely love how, in her drawing, the colors weren’t single. She really looked at that tree and chose the multiple colors she saw in the tree trunk and leaves. You’ve got an artistic genius in your hands!)

  10. What a wonderful way to combine her art and your own — I’m so glad that she loved it! Terrific idea (as always!). :^)

  11. Now that’s just priceless. If only we could capture those initial reactions every time!

  12. That was a great idea. What a surprise! I’m sure she’ll treasure it as much as you treasure her art. And Mark’s comments are the best.

  13. My grandfather recreated a painting my mom did when she was a girl. I hope you’ll keep both! it was fun for me to first realize my grandfather had painted the big one, and then to see the small picture my mom had created at my age.