Let the Adventure Begin

I am so thankful that art has been a big part of my life, and I owe so much of that to my parents.  My father is a fantastic watercolor artist, my mom hooks by hand the most amazing rugs, and together they collect a variety art pieces, making their home an art gallery.  One of my favorite concepts in art is that you must know and utilize the rules of art, but to also let the unique story of each piece organically develop as you create.  I believe this theory illustrates so many things in life and was a beautiful thread throughout the planning of co-ed baby shower husband and I were recently blessed to host for our dear friends from our community group. 

The theme for this shower, “Watercolor Jungle”, took a little time to develop, but it came together in such a special way, capturing unique things about the expecting couple.  Our friends Chris and Amanda are waiting until their baby is born to find out if it will be a boy or girl, so we knew the theme for the shower needed to be gender neutral.  They also wanted to have a co-ed shower so that both the soon-to-be parents could celebrate with all their friends and family.  Through conversations I found out that their nursery was likely going to have a jungle animal theme.  I also knew that they both love watercolors, and Chris is an aspiring watercolor artist himself!  On top of all of that, one of the invitation designs that they liked from Paperless Post was the perfect start to the Watercolor Jungle theme.  All the elements came together to make this theme the perfect fit for our friend’s baby shower!

As the theme further developed, I spoke to my dad about how special it would be to create some custom art for the party and I of course wanted to get his help.  I wasn’t sure what I would create, but thought it would be fun to at least have his input and guidance.  What we ended up with was not only three amazing pieces of art, but an experience between my dad and I that I know we both won’t ever forget. 

We started with the elephant and used a technique my dad learned from famous watercolor artist Jerry Brommer, watercolor collage.   To do this we alternated between applying pieces of handmade watercolor-stained paper with gesso and painting watercolor over the top.  We didn’t have a set path on how to create this piece.  Neither of us have ever co-created artwork before.  At times, we sat together to work on it, and at other times we worked alone.  When we were done, not only were we thrilled with how fantastic the piece was, we couldn’t believe how fun it was to create it together.  So of course, I talked my dad into a second piece – the giraffe then came to life.   A few weeks later, I told him I thought that these two pieces really should be a trio; and there was the lion.  None of these pieces were pre-planned, but we used the principles and rules of art, and they slowly came to life.  Even without forethought, the three pieces tell the story of morning to night, they show a primary color scheme and they were a wonderful conversation piece for the party and a truly custom addition to Chris and Amanda’s new nursery!

I had such a blast turning my home into a real life Watercolor Jungle for this baby shower, and filling it with so many fun details.  From the hundreds of leaves hanging throughout the house, the vines that moved guests’ eyes and attention from one room to the next, the “mud bath” chocolate fountain, kids watercolor station, animal cracker favors, jungle juice, and all the tropical décor, it was definitely a unique celebration.  One detail I especially loved was the welcome sign as guests walked in the house that said “Let the Adventure Begin”.  This sign perfectly tied together what guests were about to experience at the party and the experience Chris and Amanda are about to enter as new parents.  Just as I experienced with the development of the party theme and the art pieces, the same lesson applies for raising this new bundle of joy.  My prayer for our friends Chris and Amanda is to utilize the sage advice and guidance of their faith, family, and friends as the baby grows, but also to embrace and celebrate their child’s unique story and who God has created them to be, and enjoy the process along the way.  I hope that this special shower and the art pieces hanging in their nursery will help to remind them of this message always. 

“Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.”     - Proverbs 22:6

Chris and Amanda – Matt and I love you both and are so thankful for your dear friendship in this crazy place called Los Angeles.  We cannot wait to meet the new love of your lives and remind them of God’s love for them and what amazing parents He blessed them with.


Event Planning & Design: Renee Elise Luxury Events
Videography: Weddings by Lex
Artwork: Pete Roberts and Renee Gibbons

Renee Gibbons