Painting the Light

Artists of the Hudson River School, America’s first home-grown art movement, flooded their panoramic landscapes with light.

This first in a series of 4 posts will give you:

  1. Background information about the Hudson River School of art and Jasper Cropsey, a member of that group
  2. A lesson plan that includes
  •      Materials and vocabulary lists,
  •      One principle of art or design to learn about
  •      A fun activity and story to introduce Jasper Cropsey to your children
  •      A kid-friendly game to help your children explore one of Cropsey’s paintings

Now let’s get right to the first in the series of 4 posts based on art by Jasper Francis Cropsey.

Background for You.   

The Hudson River School artists were a group of artists whose lives and work stretched across most of the 1800s. They knew and learned from each other, sometimes painted together in the same areas, and often exhibited together.

It all began with a sketching trip Thomas Cole, who is considered the founder of the school, took up the Hudson River in 1825. The Hudson River flows south from the Adirondacks, through scenic landscapes, such as the Catskill Mountains, to empty into the Atlantic in New York City.

Following his lead, more and more artists took sketching and painting trips north on the Hudson. Many of them had grown up in New York or New England, while others were immigrants. A few were women, and one was an African American man.

These artists also explored rivers and mountains throughout the northeastern part of the United States, which was still largely rural. They encouraged each other to make careful observations of nature and detailed sketches of what they saw. (Here’s a link to see images from one of Jasper Cropsey’s sketch books at the University of Michigan’s Bentley Historical Library)

Eventually some traveled even farther. Frederick Church painted in the Middle East, South America, and the Arctic. Albert Bierstadt (who had immigrated with his family from Germany) traveled with exploratory expeditions to the American West. His paintings helped make the West better known back East.

Look at this painting called Autumn—On the Hudson River by Jasper Cropsey to see many of the features of Hudson River School paintings

Autumn on the Hudson, Jasper Cropsey, public domain

 

(here’s the link to this painting in the National Gallery in Washington D.C., which enables you to enlarge the painting and scroll around to see its details)  https://www.nga.gov/collection/art-object-page.46474.html

  • Wide, panoramic views of a river, distant mountains, and lots of light-filled sky, usually from an elevated position.
  • The river or a winding path invites you to “walk” into the painting
  • Lots of realistic details of plants, rocks, and trees, rural life
  • Light used to reveal the form of things, unlike the Impressionists, who used light to dissolve outlines
  • Often show a few people or animals, hiking, resting, or working in fields
  • Sometimes the artist shows him or herself painting in the foreground

Above all else you’ll see light and 1 point perspective used to draw you on into the mountains and beyond. (when we see look at a road or wall receding into the distance, we see an illusion of the parallel lines receding at an angle and coming together at “one point” on the horizon. Artists use this 1 point illusion or perspective to help create the illusion of distance in a painting).

In a Hudson River School painting all the lines converge at a point that is lost in light, so it seems as if we can see beyond nature to infinity—to God who created all that beautiful nature. And that’s just what these artists wanted.

Lesson Plan:  Engaging your children’s minds to explore and enjoy this painting!

Materials: 

  • link from above to this painting in the National Gallery so you can scroll around to see details
  • links in this post to maps of Hudson River and photos of the actual places painted
  • colored leaves gathered on walk or photos of these
  • Optional, but fun! Make a “magic” paintbrush pointer—add a little glue and glitter to the handle of a paintbrush—when you sprinkle a little “magic” artist glitter on children, it becomes fun to imagine walking into the painting or pointing out objects with the brush.

Vocabulary The words will be in bold green the first time they come up.

  • autumn
  • landscape painting
  • sketching
  • foreground, middleground, background (big words, but ones that will help you and your children talk more easily about different parts of a painting)

One principle of art or design to learn about:  Color can help create a mood by using warm and/or cool colors

Introduction: An activity and a story

Activity: If possible go on a walk and let children gather colorful fall leaves. If that’s not possible, look at a few photos of bright fall leaves. Ask questions such as: Which colors do they like best? Did they find any leaves that still showed some green? Are there any patterns formed by the changing colors? What do those veins do?

photo from a previous post’s leaf painting activity, showing the leaf veins

Isn’t it wonderful that God has given us such beauty before winter?

Story: There was once an American artist who loved colorful fall leaves so much that he took lots of sketching and painting trips along the Hudson River and in New England in the autumn to paint the bright red, orange, and yellow leaves. But when he showed some of his autumn landscape paintings in London, the British were amazed. Their fall leaves weren’t that colorful, and some thought he had exaggerated the colors in his paintings. So the artist, Jasper Cropsey, attached samples of leaves to his paintings to prove his colors were right on!

Teaching and Sharing: Jasper Francis Cropsey (1823-1900) was part of a group of American artists who lived not long after the American Revolution when America was still a small country with few cities. They loved to hike along the Hudson River in New York State and in other northeast states, sketching nature and painting landscapes. (The link to the map of the Hudson River is helpful here)  https://www.hudsonrivervalley.org/hudson-river-valley-map

Let’s look at one of Jasper Cropsey’s autumn paintings together.

Ask children what’s going on in the painting and what tells them that.    (Giving children time to look at and talk about the overall painting before using a game to get more specific improves cognitive and social skills)

A fun game to explore the painting and enhance children’s observational skills:  Tap a child lightly on the shoulder with the “magic” paintbrush and invite him or her to pretend they are walking through the painting. Encourage their imaginations even more by first asking if it’ll be cold or hot, rainy, or sunny, etc. and therefore, what clothes they should wear and what they might take with them on their walk. Will they need a snack or water?

Ask them to tell what they see, hear, smell, and touch as they travel from the foreground, through the middle ground, to the background. Encourage them to find the men and dogs sitting on the hill, the man on horseback, the town along the river, the children playing on a bridge, trees with red leaves, blown over trees, a paddlewheel boat on the river, and to see colors and patterns.

With landscapes, it can be fun to compare the artist’s work to actual photographs. Here are links to 2 photos taken of that mountain seen in the distance across the Hudson River in Cropsey’s painting. Called Butter Mountain by early Dutch settlers because they thought it looked like a lump of butter, today it’s called Storm King Mountain. It helps form the northern entrance to the Hudson Highlands, a narrow section of the Hudson River. West Point Military Academy is on a bluff just south of this section of the river.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hudson_Highlands#/media/File:Hudson_Highlands.JPG

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storm_King_Mountain_(New_York)#/media/File:Storm_King_mountain_as_viewed_from_top_of_Break_Neck_Ridge.JPG

One principle of art or design to learn about:  Color can help create a mood.

  • Ask children which colors Cropsey has used. They’ll see he has used both—warm colors for the foliage and cool colors in the sky and river.
  • Explain that while Cropsey has painted his landscape with realistic colors, he’s also creating a mood with his color choices. Often warm colors, (reds, oranges, and yellows) can make a painting exciting. Cool colors (blues, greens, and violets) can give a feeling of peace.
  • Ask children how the painting makes them feel.
  • Help them notice that Cropsey’s reds and oranges  and his blues and greens, too, are a little muted by distance.
  • And one color seems to warm up every part of this landscape.  Which one is it? (that golden sunlight gives an overall mood to this painting of a warm welcome to a peaceful country scene)

Whichever of the above activities you choose, enhance children’s verbal skills by rephrasing words and helping them use the new vocabulary. Encourage their observation skills by pointing out nuances of color such as the different blues and greens of various parts of the sky, water, and land.

 

 

Molly and I hope you and your children will enjoy learning about the Hudson River School artists and exploring Jasper Cropsey’s painting, Autumn–On the Hudson River!

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I’ll post Connections to Other Subjects very soon! As I was listing them, I realized this post would be too long if I included them now. But sign up to receive these posts by email so you don’t miss them! There are many great connections to social studies, science, and language arts from this painting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Changes Coming To Help You with Homeschooling or Online Teaching

Are you looking for ways to enjoy art with your children as you homeschool or teach online? If so, this is the blog for you!

Since so many are homeschooling or teaching online at this time, I’m making some changes to better help you engage your children’s minds, hearts, and hands in learning about art and make connections from it to other subjects.

Each post will typically be part of a series of 4, all relating to one artist or art movement.

This is what you can expect from each series:

Post 1 will engage your children’s minds in art appreciation activities. This post will include background information with pictures and links for you.  Then I’ll give you some kid-friendly activities to introduce the artist’s work to your children. I’ll also include ideas to help you make connections to other subjects you are studying or how to use the art as an attention-grabber to introduce new topics in other areas of your curriculum.

Post 2 will engage your children’s hearts in a kid-friendly devotion based on the artwork

Post 3 will engage younger children’s hands in an art activity based on the artwork

Post 4 will engage older children’s hands in an art activity based on the artwork

Whether you’re homeschooling or teaching online, I hope this new format will help you with games, lessons, and activities to engage your children’s minds, hearts, and hands in learning about and enjoying art.

The first series will begin this Friday, September 18th with Artists Who Painted Light, and feature Jasper Cropsey.

Autumn on the Hudson, Jasper Cropsey, public domain

So be sure to sign up to receive these posts in your inbox and share with others who are looking for ways to enjoy art with their children.

 

 

Molly and I are looking forward to  helping you and your children enjoy great art and your own creativity this fall!

Saving Summer in a Bottle, A Fun and Easy Art Activity for Creative Kids

Do you and your children save summer treasures—shells and driftwood from the beach, pinecones from a hike in the woods, a special rock, or a perfectly preserved dragonfly? Sometimes we put those items in bottles to remind us of summer fun on a cold day in January.

Today you’ll learn to draw bottles! You’ll learn 2 tricks you can use to draw any shape bottle you might use to save summer treasures. It’s so easy even younger children will catch on quickly. Then you can draw or print out pictures of treasures to put in your bottles.

Then . . . in the Variations part of this post you’ll use your imagination to draw fantastic bottles that can capture even the most fantastic summer memories! Like the special smell of hotdogs and hamburgers sizzling on the grill, the fizzy feel of cold soda hitting your tongue, rainbows lighting up the sky after a summer storm, birds song as the sun comes up, or peddling your bicycle through cool evening breezes that smell of honeysuckle!!

Let’s get started, but wait . . .Don’t miss the 2 sections at the end of this post that show how this art activity can:

  • 5 ways this art activity can contribute to your children’s mental, physical, and social development
  • Help your children learn more about God: What does God want us to remember?

You’ll need a few

Supplies:

  • Bottles and vases of various shapes and sizes
  • Pencils and erasers
  • Crayons, markers, etc. for adding color if you wish
  • Paper to draw on

That’s it. Now we can get started!

Directions

The Looking part—very important in art!

  1. Look down at the top of your bottle or these photos. Notice the shape is a circle
  2. Do the same thing with the bottom of the bottle—also a circle
  3. If you could cut your bottle off at any level and looked down at it—again, all up and down, you’d see a circle
  4. This is important to see, because many people who try to draw a cylinder (which is what a bottle is) forget those circles and draw a straight line across, especially for the bottom edge.
  5. Now look at what happens to those circles as you begin to turn the bottle away.  What do the circles become?  YES, ovals
  6. Notice they don’t ever become straight lines or a football shape with pointy ends!

The Drawing Part—even the simplest bottle or vase has some ins and outs, but it’s still easy to draw, using the following 2 tricks: ovals and a central, straight line or axis. Here’s what you do:

  1. Draw an oval for the top of your bottle
  2. Lightly sketch a straight center line down from the middle of that oval to where you think the bottom of your bottle should be.
  3. Draw another oval at the bottom with the vertical line going through its middle. Pay attention to whether the bottom oval should be the same size as the top opening or is smaller or larger. Draw your bottom oval to match the relative size you see
  4. Now move up and down your vertical line, lightly sketching ovals wherever you see a change in size.
  5. Now connect your ovals with curving in, curving out, or straight lines depending on what you see on the bottle’s sides.
  6. Finally erase your center line and all but the top and bottom ovals
  7. Here’s another type of bottle to draw and fill with with drawings or photos of summer treasures!
  8. Add color and Enjoy!

Hints:

Don’t erase the bottom or top ovals, because we’re drawing glass bottles. If you were drawing a non-see-through container, you’d also erase the back of your bottom oval.

Variations:

Here’s where you can let your imagination go and draw fantastic bottles to hold fantastic treasures!

  1. Turn your paper so it’s vertical or what we call portrait orientation
  2. Starting at the top draw an oval of any size you like
  3. Lightly sketch your center line down the length of your paper and draw another oval of any size at the bottom.
  4. Next, up and down the center line draw more ovals of different sizes—some wide, some small—lots of variety
  5. Connect your ovals on the sides with some curving-in lines, some curving-out lines, and some straight lines. Whatever you’d like to make your very own fantastic bottle!!
  6. Now fill them with pictures or drawings of special memories of your summer.
  •      How do you draw a special smell or sound? Perhaps draw the flower, food, or bird and draw someone sniffing or listening.
  •      How do you draw a rough or soft texture? Find some sandpaper, smooth cloth, or even sand or small pebbles and glue these down to give the feeling of roughness or smoothness.
  •      I’m sure you can come up with even more creative ways to show your memories.

5 ways this art activity can contribute to your children’s mental, physical, and social development:

  1. Using pencils and crayons, etc. helps children develop fine motor skills.
  2. This art activity helps develop visual/spatial skills and how to understand and use visual   information—important in learning to interpret photos, graphs, maps, etc.
  3. The opportunities to make choices in this activity enhance problem-solving skills.
  4. Discussing their choices of things to put in their bottles and why aids in vocabulary and conversational skills.
  5. Creating fantastic bottles and how to illustrate a smell or a feeling encourages creative and imaginative thinking

This art activity can help your children learn more about God:

When I visit the beach I always come home with shells, drift wood, and beach glass. Why do I save treasures from the beach? Because when I feel the ridges of the shells, the velvety softness of the driftwood worn smooth by sand and water, or see the colorful sparkle of the beach glass, it brings back the memory of that special time.

Have your children hold a pinecone or other treasure they have saved. Ask them to describe how it feels, smells, looks. Then ask what they remember about when and where they found the treasure and how they felt at that time.

While summer memories are special, God tells us it’s even more important to remember how He has cared for us in the past and the blessings He gives us each day.   

     “Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced”  Psalm 105: 5 NIV

     “Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”  Psalm 103:2-5 NIV

The Lord knows that just as shells remind us of the beach, things that engage our senses also help us remember His care. In the Old Testament, He commanded the Israelites to celebrate Passover, (Deuteronomy 16:1) wear phylacteries, and sometimes build memorials of stones, because things they could touch and taste and see helped them remember God’s deliverance and promises so they could trust Him in the present. verses

Now we have the Lord’s Supper and baptism, also using everyday items we can feel and smell and taste to do in remembrance of Jesus’ sacrifice (1 Corinthians 11:24). We can use our voices to sing praises to God and our eyes and ears to take in God’s word. We might wear a cross or make a colorful bracelet to remind us of God’s love.

All these remind us of God’s grace in Jesus who died for us and of our heavenly Father’s continuing love that provides for our daily needs. Keeping God’s deliverances and promises fresh in our memories, keeps our faith and trust in Him fresh in the present.

An Activity to Remember God’s Loving Care:

Take one of the bottles you gathered for this activity (maybe decorate it as I did with ribbon) and try one or both of the following activities:

  1. Draw or find photos of times when you saw how God cared for your family. Perhaps keeping you safe in a storm while camping, seeing a sunset that reminded you all of God’s creativity, or a neighbor finding your dog when it ran away. Roll these up and tie with a ribbon or fold and put in the bottle.
  2. In your Bible and find and write out promises God has made to care for you, such as Deuteronomy 31: 8 when He tells us He’ll never leave us or forsake us. Decorate these with pictures if you wish, and add these to the bottle also.

Now when someone in the family is feeling down or is worried, they can take out one of the papers and remember how God has cared for your family in the past or be reminded of His promises and be refreshed to trust God today.

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Molly wasn’t interested in these bottles until I filled one with cheerios and dog kibble. Then she decided they were worth a second and third and fourth look! And then a GOBBLE!

Molly and I hope to see you right back soon for Another Fun and Easy Art Activity for Creative Kids!

 

Painting with Frozen Paint, A Fun and Easy Art Activity for Creative Kids

You and your children will enjoy painting with frozen paint on a hot summer day. Paint popsicles are fun for everyone and can lead to discussions about the water cycle God created to give us water, and how Jesus used water to teach something very important about Himself.

You’ll need a little advance preparation to freeze the paint, but once that’s done, dress in old clothes, grab some big pieces of paper, and head outside for fun and discovery!

Don’t miss the 2 sections at the end of this lesson that show how this art activity can:

  • Help your children in other areas of learning:
  • Help point your children to God:

Supplies

  • Tempera paint in assorted colors
  • Small paper cups or old ice cube trays in which to make the paint popsicles
  • Craft sticks or plastic forks or knives
  • Large sheets of somewhat heavy paper, such as rolls of shelf or craft paper
  • Large rocks or other weights to hold the paper flat

Hints for Clean Up:

  • If you plan to paint on a deck, patio, or outdoors table, an old plastic tablecloth will protect from stains and speed cleanup
  • A large plastic container such as an old dish tub is helpful to hold the paint popsicles until you’re done and ready to throw them away. The popsicles last quite a long time.

Directions

  1. In the ice cube trays or paper cups mix different colors of paint with a little water and freeze until slushy enough to hold up craft sticks or plastic forks. Then continue freezing until solid
  2. When you’re ready to paint, take the paint popsicles outside and let them begin to melt
  3. Turn your kiddos loose to choose their colors and PAINT!

More Helpful Hints:

  • It’s difficult to say how much water to add to the paint because some paints are very liquid right from the container and others aren’t. Half water is probably too much. The following picture shows some popsicles I made with less water. They were brighter, but didn’t move around very smoothly. They were good for producing texture.
  • Also, some colors, such as red are intense pigments and will still be bright with more added water than green or yellow, which can lose color with too much water.
  • As always, be willing to experiment a little and try not to be a perfectionist. Your children will have fun even if some of the colors aren’t as bright as you’d like!
  • If you made your paint popsicles in paper cups, let the paint melt a little before trying to remove them from the cups
  • If the paper cup still sticks to the bottom of the popsicle, give it a little more melting time, then peel the paper away

Variations:

  • Place a paint popsicle on the paper in the sun and watch what happens as the ice and paint begin to melt. You can point out to children how the icy part begins to slide on what’s melting underneath. Somewhat like how glaciers move!!
  • What kind of designs can you get if there’s a little incline?

This art activity can help your children in other areas of learning:

  • This activity is called process art. It focuses on being in the moment, helping us relax and enjoy experimenting with the medium.  We don’t need to worry about producing something recognizable.
  • It can provide many fun moments of discovery with colors and materials
  • It’s good for little hands that may not be able to hold and control pencils or paintbrushes yet
  • The following activity can improve observational skills and vocabulary: explain the following Elements of Art, and have children find examples of these in their paintings.

             Line straight; curved; wavy; zigzag; slanted; standing up; lying down. Introduce the more grown-up words diagonal, vertical, and horizontal only if your children are ready.

            Shape formed by several lines. These don’t have to be exact geometric shapes—encourage creative descriptions

           Space we call empty space negative space in art

          Color cool and warm colors and complementary color pairs—red and green; blue and orange; and yellow and violet.

           Pattern any repetition of shapes, lines, colors. I couldn’t find any patterns in my creations, but you could encourage these as your children paint.

          Texture some paints produce a grainy texture you can see and feel

 

This art activity can help point your children to God: Why not make or buy some good-to-eat popsicles to enjoy while you talk about God’s wisdom in creating water—a substance necessary for life on this earth! And Our Savior, Jesus Christ who gives us living water for eternal life!!

Did you know?

  • The water you drank today may once have been part of a big, gray elephant leading its baby to a waterhole in Africa or a blue and yellow macaw flying through the Amazon rain forest.
  • Water is the most common substance on earth
  • 80% of the earth’s surface is water
  • Water is the only substance on earth naturally occurring in all 3 states-liquid, solid, gas
  • When water freezes its molecules move farther apart or expand. So ice is lighter than liquid water and able to float—ice cubes in your drink or icebergs in the ocean.
  • 75% of a living tree is water—think of all the water it takes to carry nutrients around a giant redwood tree that can be taller than the Statue of Liberty
  • 66% of the human body is water—water carries oxygen and nutrients to our cells, it helps protect our joints, organs, and tissues, it keeps our temperature even, and carries away wastes
  • A person can live about a month without food but only about a week without water

We and all creatures and plants need water to live! And yet, the same amount of water has been on the earth since God first formed the earth. But we don’t run out of water, because God, in His wisdom, created the water cycle:

  1. The sun’s heat melts ice to liquid water and evaporates that as well as water from ponds and lakes and oceans.
  2. This water vapor or gas rises high into the cooler air and condenses into a cloud.

Note about clouds: You’ve seen miniature clouds when boiling water produces vapor that condenses into a cloud of steam as it hits the cooler air outside the teapot. Or you’ve seen your warm, moist  breath condense into a little cloud when you breath out on a cold winter day. And don’t forget about dew. It shows us there’s always water vapor in the air, which condenses on the cooler leaves or flower petals in your garden.

  1. From the cloud water falls to earth again as rain or snow or hail.
  2. In this cycle water changes from a solid to a liquid to a gas over and over again.

God was the first and best ever recycler!

 

Read Psalm 19:1-6 together.  It tells of the general revelation of creation that we see all around us and points to a wise and loving God. Talk about other things in creation that point us to God, our Creator.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies [including the wonderful water cycle] proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.

Read about the woman at the well in John 4, especially verses 13-14. The Bible is special revelation, and in these verses Jesus uses water to reveal something very important about Himself. Discuss how He is our savior who gives us eternal life.

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Read also John 8:37-39a and discuss how the Holy Spirit lives in us and helps us live fruitful lives for our heavenly Father.

…. “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” By this he meant the Spirit ….

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Molly hopes you enjoy painting with paint popsicles and learning about God’s wisdom in creating water and especially His love for us in Christ!!

Molly loves cool blues on hot summer days!

Molly and I also hope to see you right back soon for Another Fun and Easy Art Activity for Creative Kids!

Big changes coming to the Picture Lady soon! Sign up to receive these posts by email and don’t miss a post!

 

Longing for Vacation? Photos from the Beaches of Maine

Something a little different this week. Since many of us can’t get away for vacations this summer, I decided to post some photos from Vacationland–Maine, where I grew up and though I can’t visit it this year, hope to again soon!

So come along this path to the beach. Smell the salt grass and feel the breeze off the water cool your face. Remember that funny squeak your bare feet make in the warm sand?

One of Maine’s few long sandy beachesSeagulls love the beach, too!

Most Maine beaches are smaller and bounded by rocky headlands.

You have to climb down rocks just to get to some beaches.

But I love the rocks! Looking at the folds of the rock ledges. Exploring little pools for creatures. Trying to catch a snail before it pulls in its “foot” and snaps shut. Or watching the feathery cirri of barnacles sweep through the water in search of food.

I especially love being on the rocks in storms. Waves crash against the rocks, sending spray sailing away on the wind.

All those rocks are why Maine has so many lighthouses! That’s us down on the small beach, looking for beach glass and shells!

Maine has many tidal rivers separating the beaches and rocky headlands from each other. This photo shows where one joins  the ocean.

The next few photos show farther up one of those tidal rivers. The beautiful marshes provide a habitat for many creatures, including voracious, drone-size mosquitoes! Growing up in this marshy coastal town, we did get kind of used to mosquitoes!

High tide on the marsh

Low tide on the marsh

A foggy day on the marsh makes everything outside mysterious and everything inside soggy!

Beach roses and other wildflowers fill the fields surrounding every beach!

Maine has lots of islands, big and little. Casco Bay supposedly has 365 of them, and sometimes we’d take the mailboat ferry in a round trip  to visit a few of them.

Casco Bay ferries

Docking at one of the islandsIslanders waiting for supplies. Everything has to come by ferry.

Preparing to move on to the next island.

One of Portland’s smaller lights, Spring Point Light welcomes us back to the harbor.

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Sandy beaches and rocky ledges, the cry of seagulls and the smell of salt grass, pink beach roses and foggy days–all form important memories of a place I love.

What beaches are special to you? What memories of those beaches do you treasure?

I can never leave a Maine beach without  shells, drift wood, beach glass, and even rocks!

What souvenirs do you have from visits to beaches?

Molly is in vacation mode, so this week this little guy is helping me say we hope you’ll visit Kathy the Picture Lady again for great art, fun art projects, and more fun places to visit!

 

And we leave you with a twilight picture over the marsh–taken at great peril of being carried off by mosquitoes!

 

Bubble Painting, A Fun and Easy Art Activity for Creative Kids!

Bubble painting bubbles over with fun for all ages and is just right for a summer activity outside! Try it with your children, and you’ll find it’s hard to stop blowing these colorful bubbles!

Don’t miss the 2 sections at the end of this lesson that show how this art activity can:

  • Help your children in other areas of learning:  in addition to 5 other benefits, this type of painting activity encourages experimentation, creativity, and lots of relaxing fun!!
  • Help point your children to God:  follow the simple outline to discuss with your children how special and unique each one is.

Supplies

  • Tempera paint in various colors (See safety Notes below)
  • Small plastic containers such as yogurt containers in which to mix paint, liquid detergent, and water (I used a paper cup for one color, and it didn’t hold up well)
  • Straws, plastic ones will hold up longer
  • Liquid dish soap–any brand (Not dishwasher detergents)
  • Plastic spoons or forks for stirring
  • Heavy construction paper or watercolor paper
  • A wide plastic dish tub for cleanup, but not essential

Safety Notes before you get started: This is a safe activity, but here are some things to do and some things to avoid so it stays safe:

  • I prefer tempera paint since children will be blowing into it with straws, and some may forget and inhale. Children’s tempera paint is nontoxic. There will still be liquid dish soap so especially with young children, you can poke a hole in the straw near the top with a pin, and that will make inhaling harder.
  • Most children have blown bubbles in their milk or other drink ( often, to your dismay, in a restaurant!!) But to be sure, if you have young children, you may want to have them practice blowing out with a cup of plain water. And this time you won’t tell them to stop!
  • For additional safety, you could buy children’s bubble mixture to use instead of liquid dish soap. If you use this, you won’t need as much water in your paint mixture!!
  • While acrylics or liquid watercolors (an intense, pre-mixed form of watercolors, not watercolors you mix yourself, which wouldn’t be bright enough) do produce brighter colors, they aren’t as safe.

Directions

1.In each plastic container, mix a blob of paint with some water—enough to be runny. Then gently stir in several drops of liquid dish soap. You don’t want it to be frothy.

Hint: There are lots of recipes for how much of each, but every tempera paint is different and it’s best just to experiment a little. Mix one color and try blowing bubbles in the mixture

(my paint is pretty thick and the blob was about a tablespoon, which gave me good color. I did keep adding dish soap and water throughout the process as needed. Remember, if you’re using pre-made bubble mix, it won’t take as much water.)

2.Gently blow bubbles in the mixture until the bubbles round up over the top of the container  Don’t blow in hard bursts. Blowing in a steady, gentle way produces the most bubbles , and the most interesting patterns as they each pop against your paper.

Hints: The bubbles themselves won’t look very colorful, but don’t worry, they’ll look colorful on the paper!

The more bubbles you get, the more interesting the patterns. Here’s a container with very few bubbles, and it didn’t produce a very interesting painting:

3.Take your paper and gently touch it on top of the bubbles. If you push down hard, you’ll get mostly just a ring of color, like in the above painting. This is because you’ve broken the bubbles before they could adhere to the paper. Experiment until you get the hang of it

Hint: If your paint/bubble mixtures stop making bubbles, add a little more water. Another drop of dish liquid may also help, but again, experiment!!

That’s it. Your mixtures will make lots of bubbles and give you many paintings, so have fun! Enjoy the process!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notice how this bubble splattered paint as it burst:

One More Helpful Hint:

You can use one straw throughout. Just wipe the paint off the end with a paper towel before changing colors, and it won’t affect the next color.

Clean up Hints:

  • The paint mixture in the containers could stain your patio or deck, so it’s a good idea to put down an old plastic tablecloth to catch spills
  • Drips will happen, so old clothes are a good idea, especially if your children may be tempted to blow a little paint in the direction of a sibling J
  • When finished, put all plastic containers and utensils in the plastic tub and rinse away most of the paint outside with a hose, leaving only a little cleanup for inside

Variations and Extensions:

  • Try making a trail of bubbles
  • Make some bubble designs in just warm or cool colors
  • Find shapes in the bubbles and draw around these to complete a figure. Can you see the baby donkey’s face in this one?
  • Cut out areas you especially like and use to decorate cards or posters
  • Use bubbles to create flowers—just draw or paint in stems and leaves

How this art activity can help your children in other areas of learning:

  1.   First of all—this type of painting activity encourages experimentation, creativity, and lots of relaxing fun!
  2.    Opportunities to make choices as in this activity, enhances problem-solving skills.
  3.    Learning to blow gently and lowering the paper gently over the bubbles helps children develop fine motor skills.
  4.    Discussing with your children why they chose certain colors builds vocabulary and social skills.
  5.    Enhance their observational and verbal skills by rephrasing words and adding new vocabulary. Help them see nuances of color in the layers of bubbles
  6.    Encouraging children to find objects or shapes, colors, patterns, etc. in the bubble paintings improves their observational skills.

How this art activity can help point your children to God:

  1. We are able to make beautiful art because we are made in God’s image, with the ability to be creative and think and plan Read Genesis 1:27 together.
  2. He has given us hands that can hold a straw or a pencil and eyes that can see colors and patterns
  3. He has given us mouths so we can talk and share about our art with others
  4. And just as no two bubble paintings ever look alike, so God has created each of us to be unique and special  Read Psalm 139:13-15 together.
  5.   Ask children to share how they’re unique—their eye color, hair color, their laugh, their favorite foods, their favorite things to do, etc.
  6. Our unique and beautiful bubble paintings can bring love and beauty to family and friends. God has breathed into each of us to make us His unique and beautiful painting to show His beauty and love to the world.
  7.  Ask children some ways they can be a beautiful painting in the world for God.

End with a prayer thanking God for making each of us unique, with special ways to make the world a more beautiful place.

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Molly loves how the colors of this sunset are spread over her, and she hopes you enjoyed blowing colorful bubbles!

And Molly and I hope to see you right back here soon for Another Fun and Easy Art Activity for Creative Kids!

 

 

 

My Story of a Visit to a Welsh Castle in Refresh Magazine

As you enjoy your 4th of July holiday I wanted to give you a link to Refresh, a great free online magazine of Bible studies and devotions. 19 writers, including myself, contributed to this summer issue.

My Bible study begins with a story and photos about my husband’s and my exploration of Dolwyddelan castle when we visited Wales a few years ago. I hope you’ll take time to read it and all the other great stories!

Here’s a link to the issue:

https://mcusercontent.com/d56d783b628cb25e0234a8678/files/77cfc980-d10b-4805-b99b-7395615184cf/Refresh_June_2020_Issue.pdf

Thanks for visiting! I hope you and your families have a wonderful holiday weekend!

A Fourth of July Fireworks Painting, A Fun and Easy Art Activity for Creative Kids

Even if your Fourth of July fireworks is cancelled this year because of the pandemic, this fun and easy art project will help your children paint their own fireworks display!

All ages can enjoy this activity!

Be sure to look at the 2 sections at the end of this lesson to help you extend art learning into other areas:

  • How this art lesson can help your children in other areas of learning:
  • How this art lesson can help point your children to God:

Supplies

  • Tempera or acrylic paint
  • Flat lids or other wide and shallow containers for paint
  • medium paintbrushes
  • black and dark blue paper for the “sky”
  • cardboard tubes such as paper towel tubes
  • scissors
  • old but cleaned toothbrushes
  • paper towel

Helpful Hints:

  • Children may get a lot of paint on their hands with this project
  • This is a good project to do outside, especially if you decide to spatter paint at the end
  • If you do it inside, put down plenty of old paper or an old plastic tablecloth

Directions

  1. Cut narrow bands or flaps around one end of each cardboard tube (if your child is young you will probably need to do this)
  2. With your fingers push the flaps up so they can rest flat on the paint and on the paper
  3. With a paintbrush spread each color of paint on a lid or other container
  4. Swirl the cut bands around in the paint (you may also choose to use the brush to make sure all edges of the bands get covered)
  5. Holding the unpainted part of the tube, gently push the tube’s flaps down against the blue or black paper—up and down, up and down in a printing-type motion (you will probably need to push down on the flaps themselves)  Add more paint as needed
  6. Repeat with other colors,
  7. Spatter paint on top of the tube designs to finish up your fireworks painting

Helpful Hints:

  • Cut your bands as narrow as you can without making them too easily broken
  • Cut one or more tubes for each color, depending on how many children are painting
  • If you want a fireworks-looking design, don’t mush the flaps down too hard on your paper or swirl them around
  • When temporarily done with a tube, set it on wax paper so it can be reused or set it on the lid with the same color paint
  • Toothbrushes work best to spatter paint, but you need somewhat runny paint. To get your runny paint AND help with cleanup, just add a little water to the paint left on the lids and mix with your brush. This will give you runny paint to spatter!!
  • And contrary to all reason you need to pull bristles back toward you to spatter away from you!   If you push the bristles away from you, you’ll just end up spraying your own face!!

Clean up Helps:

  • Having an old plastic tablecloth to use as a drop cloth is helpful when spattering paint
  • If you’re doing this project inside and need to get children to a sink without too much mess on the way, give your child a wadded-up paper towel to hold in each hand while they walk to the sink. This also gets rid of a little excess paint on the way!!
  • Use your paint brushes to clean the plastic lids or pans. This helps to begin the brush cleaning process also.

Variations:

  • Use the tubes to make flower designs. Use lighter backgrounds and cut some flaps so they’re wider. After printing the designs, use a brush or cotton ball to paint the flower centers. Add stems and leaves and grass or a vase to make a garden or bouquet!
  • Use the tubes to print wild hair and fill in the middles with faces of people or animals
  • Swirl and mush the cut flaps instead of using an up and down printing motion and see what other types of designs you can make

How this art lesson can help your children in other areas of learning:

  • Looking at how overlapping some designs and printing some partly off the paper creates a sense of depth and movement, which develops vocabulary and observation skills
  • Using  these tubes is easier for small hands to hold than paintbrushes, but still helps develop fine motor skills.
  • Opportunities to make choices as in this activity, enhances problem-solving skills.
  • Discussing their choices as they work aids in vocabulary and conversational skills.

How this art lesson can help point your children to God:

  1. Creating art helps us relax, and sometimes this leads to great discussions about all sorts of things. It may help children open up about their fears and anxieties during this difficult time with its many unknowns. If so these verses may be helpful: Psalm 94:18; Psalm 18:1-3 and 30-31; Psalm 4:8; Philippians 4:4-9;
  2. In addition, a holiday like the 4th of July is a great time to discuss with children how wise leaders in government at every level can help bring justice and peace to people. Ask them what makes a wise and compassionate leader? Look at Proverbs 1:1-7 and James 1:5
  3. It can also lead to discussions about the responsibilities of citizens:  A. to pray for our leaders, and especially this year, for health care workers and first responders, and for justice and peace for all peoples.   B. to treat others as we would want to be treated. Jesus call us to love our neighbors. Matthew 22:37-40. Peter tells us to live peacefully with our neighbors. 1 Peter 3:1-4
  4. Finally you may want to help children see that no earthly government will be perfect. But when Jesus returns He will rule with perfect love, peace, and justice for all. Isaiah 42:1-4; Psalm 45:6.

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Molly is back in her thunder shirt for the Fourth of July, in case she hears the boom of fireworks! She really hopes many of you will just enjoy making these painted fireworks! Do you see her spiky ball? It’s a favorite, and one reason she loves this lesson. She thinks the fireworks pictures look a little spiky, too.

Molly and I hope to see you right back here soon for Another Fun and Easy Art Activity for Creative Kids!

 

Leaf Prints, A Fun and Easy Art Activity for Creative Kids

This a great time of year to make leaf prints! Leaves of different shapes and sizes are all around us, and printing with leaves produces unique and beautiful designs.

This activity can be adapted for all ages! Let younger children just enjoy the fun of printing and creating. That’s good for older children, too, and may lead to lots of fun experimenting. Or you may want to eventually encourage older children to experiment with more or less paint and to create patterns.

Don’t miss the 2 sections at the end of this lesson that show how art learning can extend into other areas:

  • 5 ways this art lesson helps your children in other areas of learning:
  • this art lesson can help point your children to see God’s creativity and care for creation:

Supplies

  • Paper in any colors, sizes or types (this is a good activity to use up some of the odd pieces you have)
  • Tempera paint in various colors
  • Containers to hold small amounts of paint and for mixing paint
  • Paintbrushes (larger flat ones work best)
  • Lots of fresh leaves of various types
  • Paper towels for clean up and to put under leaves as you paint them

Directions

  1. Get your work surface, paints, and papers ready
  2. Go out and gather lots of different leaves  ( be sure and ask permission and be sure none are poisonous)
  3. Place a leaf upside down ( with veins facing up) on a piece of scrap paper or paper towel
  4. Paint a thin layer of paint over it (be gentle so you don’t tear the leaf)
  5. Place the leaf paint side down on your good paper and press it flat with your hand or with scrap papers on top of it

Helpful Hints:

  • Press, don’t rub, or the print will be blurred
  • If you make another print or two before adding more paint, the image will get more delicate looking.
  • If you have trouble lifting the leaf up, slide a plastic knife under one edge so you can get hold of the leaf
  • Leaves are reusable for a time so put them aside to reuse (it would be helpful to have an old cookie sheet or plastic cutting board to keep used leaves on)
  • This project can be a little messy so have plenty of paper towels or rags for wiping fingers!
  • If it’s not windy, this is a great project for outside (the leaves are right there for the picking and you have God’s beautiful creation all around while you have fun)

Variations:

  • Do this project again in the fall (before the leaves get dried) with fall colors
  • Experiment with how much paint and how much pressure make the prints you like the best.
  • Make patterns by alternating different types of leaves or colors
  • Get some large papers and print leaves of various colors and types all over it to use for wrapping paper
  • Spatter paint over leaves for a special effect

How this art lesson can help your children in other areas of learning:

  • This art activity is especially good to help children learn to distinguish shapes, which develops visual/spatial skills and how to understand and use visual information—important in learning to interpret photos, graphs, maps, etc.
  • Making patterns enhances sequencing skills, which is valuable in so many areas, such as math
  • As with many art activities, this one aids in small muscle development
  • Discussing their choices as they work aids in vocabulary and conversational skills. As you look at the different leaves, encourage children to use lots of descriptive words for the different shapes and colors of the leaves. Help increase their vocabulary with new descriptive words.
  • Make a game of naming all the animals you can think of that eat plants

How this art lesson can help point your children to God:

  1. Read together Genesis 1:1-26 about God’s creation of the earth and all it contains.
  2. While gathering and sorting different leaves, discuss the great variety of shapes and colors  God has created.
  3. Extend the discussion to include other things of the natural world, their colors, shapes, sizes, beauty.
  4. Help your children notice the veins in the leaves when you turn them over. Once you’ve applied paint and printed a leaf once, the print and the paint left on the leaf really make the veins stand out. Notice how the veins branch out to every part of the leaf.
  5. Ask your child what the veins are for. Help them see how God cares for each plant, providing a way for it to make food for it to grow. (you might go online as I did to refresh your memory about the process  of photosynthesis!!)
  6. Lastly, discuss how God, in His wisdom, created the sun and plants and the process of photosynthesis to feed so many creatures.
  7. After the prints are dry, choose some as the background to write out a verse from Genesis 1:11-13

 

This art project can be a little messy because you have to hold the leaves as you paint them and pick them up. So Molly needed a bath after this project. She really doesn’t mind, and afterwards she sat near some plants and admired their leaves as she dried!!

Now that summer is here, Molly and I are going on a summer schedule of posting a little less often (every 2nd and 4th Friday. So our next post should be on June 26th). We hope you’ll join us those days for more Fun  and Easy Art Activities for Creative Kids!

 

 

 

 

An Art Sampler, A Fun and Easy Art Activity for Creative Kids

Colonial children showed the stitches they’d been learning in pretty samplers. Today’s art activity gives you an opportunity to show some of the art techniques you’ve been learning in an art sampler!

This activity is can be adapted for all ages!

Don’t miss the 2 sections at the end of this lesson to help you extend art learning into other areas:

  • 4 ways this art lesson can help your children in other areas of learning
  • How the glue lines in this lesson can lead to a discussion with your child about God’s boundary lines

Supplies

  • Large, sturdy paper such as construction or watercolor paper
  • Liquid glue, left white or tinted with paint, if you wish
  • A variety of art media Pick several of your favorites! (crayons, markers, colored pencils, pastels, watercolor paint, tempera paint)
  • Paintbrushes in various sizes

Directions

  1. If you wish to tint your glue, choose a glue container that is not very full and add whatever color you like. (dark colors stand out best, and black can make your project look like a stained glass window!)
  2. With the glue make a large design on your paper. Do lots of loops so you have many different spaces to add your color.

Helpful Hints: keep the glue moving, but realize you will get some blobs here and there. Maybe practice on a small scrap paper first. If your child is quite young, you may want to help them move the bottle around over the paper.

Next Steps:

  1. Let the glue lines dry completely. Usually it takes overnight.
  2. Meanwhile plan which media you want to use and which colors.
  3. Start filling in the spaces with your different media and your colors. Space colors and types of media around the spaces so you have a pleasing design that moves the viewer’s eye around.

    watercolor

    marker

    tempera paint

Helpful Hints: Especially when using paints and markers, fill in around the edges of your space first. This makes filling in the center of the space go more quickly and smoothly. Use a small marker or brush around the edges and fill in with larger brushes or markers.

Variations:

  • The variations for this activity are almost endless.
  • Choose a warm or cool color scheme and stick to it no matter which mediums you use.
  • Choose to use just the primary colors of red, yellow and blue
  • Choose to use just the secondary colors, orange, green, and violet
  • Use mostly watercolors and try different techniques such as salt in each space. Or allow 2 colors to meet and blend.
  • Make a game out of it. Assign a color or medium to each number on a dice or section on a spinner and do what comes up in some space on your paper.
  • Use marker and do patterns over crayon or dried paint spaces.
  • After you’ve finished all your spaces, spatter paint over the whole design.

4 ways this art lesson can help your children in other areas of learning:

  • Moving the glue in wide paths to make a design encourages large-muscle development.
  • Painting or coloring inside the glue lines is much easier than learning to stay in printed lines, and therefore helps develop small muscle control with a lot less anxiety.
  • Opportunities to make choices as in this activity, enhances problem-solving skills.
  • Discussing their choices as they work aids in vocabulary and conversational skills.

How the glue lines in this lesson can lead to a discussion with your child about God’s boundary lines

  1. Several of the recent art projects have been messy and fun, and that’s a great thing to do often in art, but it’s also important to learn to stay in the lines for some activities
  2. Discuss how the glue lines in this project help them stay in the spaces with different colors and patterns. And when it’s all done a beautiful design emerges.
  3. In Psalm 16:6, King David says, “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.”
  4. Discuss with your child the boundary lines God has given us in His Word, especially the Ten Commandments.
  5. Discuss how God’s boundary lines are there not to hem them in, but to help them live in a way that honors God. Staying within His boundary lines is for their good, so they can grow to be the beautiful and God-honoring creation God wants for each of us.

Molly has learned that this mat has boundary lines for her to stay within at certain times. It keeps her from being stepped on when we’re making dinner and keeps her out of trouble other times. Like all of us though, she doesn’t stay there perfectly, but we love and forgive her, just as God loves and forgives us when we don’t stay within His boundary lines. We are thankful Jesus perfectly lived withing those boundary lines  for us!!

Molly hopes you enjoy using many of the art techniques we’ve been learning to make a fun and beautiful sampler! And we both  hope to see you right back soon for Another Fun  and Easy Art Activity for Creative Kids!