The whole time she was pregnant, Ruth Oosterman said she had a terrible artist's block and couldn't create anything. But the second her 2-year-old daughter was born, "she became my muse," she told BuzzFeed.
"I would paint with her strapped onto my chest and when she was old enough to use a crayon we began sketching together," Oosterman said.
The Toronto resident said eventually, one of her daughter's doodles caught her eye, and she saw a window for the two to collaborate.
"I thought I could see the forms of two people standing by the shore and then the idea for the collaboration hit me," She said. "I have always dreamed of collaborating with her but assumed it was still a few years away before she would be old enough. I realized that we were already collaborating and didn't even know it.
Oosterman explained how she took some watercolors and tried to envision what her daughter may have been seeing, and their first painting, "The Red Boat," came to life.
And her daughter, Eve, has just as much fun creating the paintings as she does, sometimes going through "stacks of paper" and chatting with her mom about what she's creating.
"I will either use these conversations as inspiration for the paintings or, if she is silent, I will use something she did or said that day to find a direction," Oosterman said.
The engaged mom documents the photo project on her blog, The Mischievous Mommy, and films time-lapses of how each painting came together on her YouTube channel.
She also sells prints of their collaborations on Etsy, and says all of the earnings will go to Eve's college fund.
Painting with her daughter lets her move out of her comfort zone, she explained, by forcing her to relinquish control and think creatively.
She added, "She is giving me the gift of letting me see through a child's eyes."
"A favorite quote of mine is from Picasso, when he said it can take 'but a lifetime to paint like a child,'" Oosterman said.
Rachel Zarrell is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Rachel Zarrell at email@example.com.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.