Monday, December 16, 2019

Warm and Cool Paintings

This project was inspired by a tutorial at Art Bar Blog, where you can find many wonderful ideas for working with children. Her tutorial is more comprehensive than mine, so I would recommend checking it out. The Kindergarteners started with heavy 10 x 15" sheets of watercolor paper. I used blue painter's tape to mask out a border all around the edge. the children also used the tape to block off areas of their paintings. I explained to the children that we were going to focus on abstract shapes, no paintings of the sun or their families. We started with only warm colors and on the second day, after everything was dry, we added the cool colors. I stressed that we were aiming for a variety of shapes in different sizes. The last phase was giving them small brushes and white and black paint to add detail. We used tempera initially, but it was runny so we switched to acrylic. Wash out the acrylic as soon as the children are done or your brushes will be ruined. The brushes that we used had stiff bristles.


Some tips: If you leave the painter's tape on the paper for too long, some of the paper will peel away with the tape. The same thing has happened to me when I have been painting a wall! The next time I do this project, I will do a more extensive demo for the children since they didn't entirely grasp the concept of the tape blocking out areas. I found that they were carefully painting on top of the tape. They also had to be prompted to paint right over the tape along the border.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Styrofoam Prints

Styrofoam paper plates were cut into the shape of birds for this art lesson. The children pushed lines into the bird shape with a fat pencil. Printing ink was rolled onto the bird with a rubber brayer. You could also use acrylic paint, as long as it is not too watery, and a sponge roller.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Oil Pastel Scratch Art

For this project you will need some soft oil pastels, white paper (I used an 8x10" sheet), and an object with a point such as a tooth pick or a pen. I folded the sheet in half and colored in the squares that are on the right side. I gave the folded paper to the children and instructed them to work on the blank front cover, as if they were working on the front cover of a book or greeting card. They made invisible line drawings with the toothpick or visible lines with the pen. When they peeked inside the sheet of folded paper they could see their lines appear in the different colors. After taking a peek, they can continue drawing.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Printing on Bandanas

Craft stores have been stocking up on these bandanas in smashing colors. They are only a dollar and are perfect for using with kids. I bought a tube of white fabric paint and turned a sponge into an "ink pad". I picked up a potato masher at a dollar store, the doughnut shape is the end of a large mailing tube, and the lego is actually a box meant to be a party favor. Warning: the fabric paint is very difficult to scrub off of little fingers. The children can think about creating a pattern or they can just randomly print their designs. I covered our work table with a thick layer of newspaper since a surface that has a little give to it works best. If you don't have newspaper, you could use an old sheet.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Painted Leaves

Printing from actual leaves is a fun activity since you can find the materials right in your own yard or at the park. Combine a nature hile with a simple art lesson.
These prints were made by applying a layer of acrylic paint to the leaf with acylic paint and a sponge brush. Make sure you apply the paint to the rougher side of the leaf where you can feel the veins. The paint should not be applies too thickly or you will not see the detail. I opted using rather bright colors that you wouldn't typically find in nature.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Collaged Houses

There is something very appealing about creating a piece of art that involves imagery of houses. I don't know if it is just the idea of "home" or the appeal of the shape of a house the way it is depicted by young children, generally a triangle on top of a square. I like to think that it is a combination of an image of comfort and the unlimited possibilities to embellish.


This was a project that I did with pre-schoolers. The houses were cut out of poster board. The children had many choices of materials, most that were already cut, to create their house. They had burlap or craft foam triangles for the roof, felt rectangles with peel off backs for the windows and doors, buttons for doorknobs, strips of pretty ribbon for shutters, and rolls of decorative tape to be used however they saw fit. One child added a door for the cat! It seemed that the houses became more special as the decorations were piled on.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Print a Pagoda

Cutting simple shapes from scratch-foam is very simple to do. You can purchase sheets of this material from most large art stores. It is similar to Styrofoam, but it is much easier to cut as it is not as thick. I cut out the pagoda shapes and then let the children draw impressions directly on the scratch-foam. They should use their pen or pencil to make impressions that are deep enough to feel when you run your finger over the surface.
The next step is to roll printing ink onto the surface and print the image. The great thing about printmaking is the ability to make multiple impressions after making your initial plate. You can also add details to the plate to achieve another outcome. You may also want to try using an ink pad instead of a brayer and ink.
Try printing two or more pagodas on top of each other using contrasting colors.