I hate messes, remember? Part of dealing with that is allowing L to hone her fine motor and artistic skills so that messes become less common and precision is increased. So I sucked it up and set up an art section for her.
L has always loved art of all kinds, and before I set up this shelf she would have to ask us for supplies every time she wanted to color something. Now that her art shelf is out, she can independently choose which medium she would like to use and begin working!
I had my husband build a table (identical to the table he built for the water works section) that would be easily wipeable — he used whiteboard for the top, so we can wipe off marker, ink, and paint easily. I set up four different trays on L’s art shelf of varying media. At the back of L’s art table, I put a paper organizer containing everything she needs to replace used paper on each tray.
The first work I put out was coloring. L already has crayons at her easel and markers at a giant cardboard pirate ship taking up half the living room, so I decided on colored pencils for her coloring tray, I filled a box with colored pencils and added a piece of construction paper. L instinctively knew how to use this work, and she loves it! When she has finished coloring, she can take a new piece of construction paper from the paper organizer on the table and replace it on the tray before returning the tray to the art shelf. Coloring builds fine motor control and is a precursor to writing while also allowing for creative artistic expression. L chooses this work multiple times each day.