My boys have had access to paints of some kind since they were just wee toddlers. For the most part, they are abstract painters. Splashing colors on paper with random sweeps of the brush is way more fun than trying to create something recognizable.
A year or two ago Nico started trying to make sense with his brush strokes. He painted a series of portraits, including a self portrait, of our entire family, which has been proudly displayed above my computer. He likes to paint flowers and rainbows for me as well.
This morning Lucas made the leap into structured painting. With his water colors paint set, he created a very colorful alien, with claws. Then decided to paint a person saying something, in a cave, but the cave turned out to be inside a monsters stomach. He used the paints to tell a story, something he has never done before. I always just give them the paint and paper, and let them go. I never try and structure their work, or give them guidelines, other than keep the paint on the paper.
From their very first fingerpaints, to their newest water color creations, I have always proudly framed and displayed their works of art through out our home. Nico once asked if he could put his stuff in an art gallery, and since I couldn't do that for him, I've turned our home into his own personal gallery (well one he shares with Lucas).
I enjoy painting as well. I'm not great at it, but I'm decent enough. One of the things I like to do is paint on glass around the house. It's easily removed, and I can change the painting as often as I like, so I'm not stuck looking at the same thing all the time. I do a lot of holiday, or seasonal images, and sometimes I paint things for the boys to enjoy. I recently took down my winter scene, and replaced it with a field of sunflowers, beside a duck pond, to brighten up the house a bit. Nico wanted to paint his own scene, so I allowed him to remove my Spy vs Spy, so he could use the sliding glass door as his canvas. He had his own vision of what he wanted to paint, so I gave him the paints, and left him alone. About an hour later I had this beautiful sunset painted on my glass.
Painting isn't a passion for any of us, but it's a casual hobby that we all share. Looking around my house I can see how their skills have evolved from the earliest finger paints to the complex sunset. I can't wait to see what they can create in another five years, ten years, twenty years, if they continue to develop their skills.