A couple of weeks ago, After School Art Club dove into this fun and relaxing painting project. (The inspiration for this project came from the Art Room Blog)
We started by reading The Dot by Peter Reynolds.
After reading the book aloud, we got out our tempera cake paints and painted some big colorful dots! Then we went around and around and around the dots until our paper was full of colors.
I didn’t expect this, but we also got to learn some color theory. Layers of paint overlapped and formed new colors!
After letting the paint dry, I got out some black liquid tempera paint and we added patterns to our dot painting. In each layer of color, I encouraged them to experiment with different lines and shapes. I explained that what we were making — this circular design with repeating patterns -- is called a mandala. People all over the world create mandalas to help them relax, meditate and pray.
What started as a dot, turned into quite a lot!
The first meeting of our Junior Art Club (4-6 year olds) for the spring session was last Wednesday. I wanted to do a project that was more process than product-oriented, and that got kids comfortable creating and making mistakes.
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So we started by reading one of my favorites, Ish by Peter Reynolds, which I mentioned back in the post about my favorite picture books about art-making. In the book the main character, Ramon, gets discouraged and crumbles up all his attempts at drawing. He then discovers the freedom of just drawing “ishly” aka, not aiming for prefection.
After reading Ish together, we dove into our project. We took some watercolor paper and cut it into 4 pieces (I got the idea for this activity from this blog post). Nobody cut in a straight line, but they were straight-ish. Then we crumbled up our four pieces of paper, just like Ramon in the book did.
Next, we got a little messy. I passed out cups of liquid watercolor. They chose one color to paint over their whole paper ball.
Then they flattened the paper to see how things were looking, crumbled the same paper again, and painted another color. I encouraged them to repeat this process about 2 times, for a total of 3 colors.
It created such fun, colorful, and surprising results. And something else fun and unexpected was that we got to discover how to make new colors — like noticing that when you paint blue on top of yellow, you get green!
And all our hands got covered with watercolors. We all left the studio looking like artists for sure.
The mini paintings are fun on their own, or we could repurpose them into a collage project later in the session, I’m still thinking about it.
And you know what else is cool? In our second session, yesterday, I was leading the kids in making clay turtles, and when telling them to make their clay into kind-of-like-a-ball, one of the little artists said “Ish! A ball-ish!” I was so pleased.
Now we can talk about our art that way, and it’s so freeing.
Here are those turtles from yesterday. Some of them are more turtle-ish, but they are all precious.
A couple of weeks ago, our Mini Makers dove into this fun, open-ended sculpture project (the inspiration for this project came from the Art Bar blog). When they walked into the room, there were cardboard pieces in various shapes and sizes all over the table, pre-hole-punched. With tempera paint sticks and bright-colored dotters, the young artists filled those shapes with colors.
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While they were working, I read them the book Sandy’s Circus by Tanya Lee Stone. The book is about American artist Alexander Calder, who is known for making colorful, playful sculptures that moved. That’s pretty much where we were headed as well.
Once our pieces were all full of color, we were ready for the next step. I passed out wooden skewers and a handful of air-dry clay. They created a ball out of the clay, and then planted the wooden skewer inside. From there, the young artists could build and stack their sculptures as they saw fit, using the cardboard pieces and small balls of clay..
Lastly, I had liquid tempera paint available to add even more color to their creations.
And here are some of the fun finished products!
Recently I created a foxy, fall project with a fun crew of 5-7 year olds. Before drawing and painting, we read How to Find a Fox by Kate Gardner, featuring stunning photographs taken by Ossi Saarinen. We learned a lot about foxes, laughed a little, and noticed what colors foxes had on them.
Then we drew foxes together with black oil pastels. I used this great step-by-step guide from Art Projects for Kids. They have so many great drawing tutorials.
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After drawing, I let the artists tell me what colors of liquid tempera paint they would like to use for their fox. Many of them chose to mix their own version of red-orange or yellow-orange, with small areas of black and white.
In our next class, we tackled the background. We used a square of cardboard to paint tree trunks onto blue paper. Scraping the cardboard creates a rough, bark-like texture. We used white paint, with a bit of black for shading/texture. I then showed them how to stamp with a large flat brush to create fall leaves. We painted a canopy of leaves on the trunks, and piles of fallen leaves on the ground.
Then on to the finishing touches. The artists cut out their foxes and glued them onto their backgrounds. They then had a chance to use oil pastels to add any final touches and details.
I also did this project with a younger group of 4-5 year olds. We changed up the background, drawing brown trees with oil pastels, and fingerpainting on the leaves (though some weren’t excited about the mess of finger-painting, and so I also offered q-tips.). I also simplified it by just giving them orange paint for the foxes instead of having them mix their own.
See what’s been happening at our studio! Learn about fun art projects and other ways to engage creatively with your kids. Written by owner and teacher, Ms. Laura.