Michele Bell, an artist and mom to 13-year-old Finley, 11-year-old Sanders, and 8-year-old Charlie, had spent weeks planning an incredible spring break trip to Las Vegas, Bryce, Zion, and Grand Canyon National Parks and New York City. But like thousands of other American families, the COVID-19 outbreak put a swift stop to their travel plans. And while her family was certainly disappointed, she came up with the idea to sketch out the details of the would-be trip with her children, and the results are simply amazing.
"As I sat at home with the kids in distance learning, I started drawing a lot," Michele told POPSUGAR. "I made a 34-page coloring book that people can download for free that has some humor and heartfelt sentiments in it. Every day, I would wake up and draw, and every night, I'd fall asleep drawing."
Eventually, Michele envisioned a coloring book on a much larger scale that would tell the story of her family's planned trip. Of course, she immediately got the kids involved.
"I asked the kids, 'What if we DRAW out our spring break?' I knew the coloring books were bringing joy to others; why not make ours life-size?"
"I asked the kids, 'What if we DRAW out our spring break?' I knew the coloring books were bringing joy to others; why not make ours life-size?" she explained. "They looked at me like I was crazy. I took the paintings off our walls, moved the furniture around, and started sketching out one city at a time each day. First, we 'went' to NYC. I anchored the wall with the Statue of Liberty, the Guggenheim Museum, the Empire State Building, and a Banksy rat. My oldest drew Times Square and the Radio City Rockettes."
Michele then began adding some fun details like Eloise at the Plaza Hotel, Iris Apfel, hot-dog stands, taxis, and other NYC staples to her creation. After finishing up with the mural of New York City, they sketched out scenes of Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Jackson Hole, Japan, and Paris - a place her kids have always wanted to visit.
Now, Michele is encouraging other parents to get creative at home in the same way, and hey, you can always paint over your walls later! "I hope parents (or anyone really) can see what fun there is to be had in our own homes, to not to take ourselves too seriously, and see that there are other ways to explore other than going to places," she said. "If you have the walls to paint, go for it."
Ahead, find some of the Bells' breathtaking creations. And to keep up with her incredible murals, follow Michele on Instagram.