“Preaching with his brush,” Henry Ossawa Tanner Painted Warm Scenes of Christ and His Mother.

Henry Ossawa Tanner once said he, “preached with his brush.” He won awards with his religious works and was one of the first African American artists to win international fame. He took several long trips to study and paint in the Middle East, because he wanted to show real people in authentic settings.

Many children will be heading back to their studies this month so Molly and I are back to our school year schedule, too. Here’s what you can expect most months:

  1. Fun ways to learn about famous artists and their artworks.
  2. Kid-friendly devotion based on the artwork
  3. Art activity based on the artwork
  4. Newsletter with curriculum connections to the artwork and reviews of related children’s fiction and nonfiction books. And freebies!
  5. We also frequently do interviews with children’s authors. In fact, be sure to look at our Special Announcement at the end of this first school year blog.

On to our post about Henry Ossawa Tanner and his 2 beautiful paintings about Christ and his mother.

In this post you’ll:

  • Learn a little about Henry Ossawa Tanner and his 2 paintings of Christ and His Mother
  • Find helpful vocabulary
  • Discover activities to help you and your children explore and enjoy the painting
  • Be sure to check out a Special Announcement at the end about September’s blog that also has a cute photo of Molly, the Artsy Corgi

The Artist

Henry Ossawa Tanner by Thomas Eakins, public domain

Tanner grew up in Philadelphia, the son of a bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. His mother, a teacher, had escaped from slavery on the Underground Railway.

When he was 13, Henry saw a landscape artist painting in a city park and decided to become an artist. He spent hours painting in the city zoo, but after high school went to work in a flour mill. The work made him so sick, he had to quit.

Tanner spent his recovery time painting, and in 1879 enrolled in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, studying under Thomas Eakins. He was the only African American student. When Henry went out on his own, though, he found it difficult to succeed because of prejudice against African American artists.

Eventually, Tanner traveled to study in Paris as so many Americans did in the late 1800s. He loved Paris and its art and found more opportunity and less discrimination. He married and made Paris his home, only returning to America for visits.

Vocabulary

These words, which will be in bold green the first time they come up, will help you and your children talk more easily about different parts of the painting.

  • Genre art  art that shows everyday events and people
  • Portrait  a painting that focuses on one or just a few people. These may contain background landscape as in the Mona Lisa or a still life containing things that tell a little about the sitter

Tanner came to love the art of Rembrandt. He shared the Dutch artist’s faith and appreciated his portraits of Jesus and other biblical subjects. Tanner loved how Rembrandt used light and shadow to create drama, and how he showed the character of his subjects, giving dignity to everyday people and their work. Tanner continued to experiment with how to use light to create atmosphere and heighten a painting’s message.

There are 2 versions of this painting. One titled Christ and His Mother Reading the Scriptures (1909). The other called Christ Learning to Read (1910-1914). In these warm genre paintings, Mary and Jesus lean together as they both hold the scroll. Mary has her arm around her son, holding him close. Jesus is intent on his reading as his mother looks on with encouragement. From photographs, we know that Tanner’s wife and son were the models for both paintings.

Christ and His Mother Reading the Scriptures bu Henry O. Tanner, 1909, Dallas Museum of Art, public domain

Christ Learning to Read by Henry O. Tanner, 1910-1914, Des Moines Art Center, public domain

Both paintings also show the influences of Tanner’s studies in France, which led him to use lighter colors—cool blues and warm yellows and reds—and looser and more expressive brush strokes. We see the cool blues of her robes contrasted with the warm golds and tans of Jesus’ robes.

Though both paintings contrast light and shadow, the Learning to Read painting has more brilliant lights. It was painted after a trip to North Africa, where perhaps Tanner learned how to better show that bright Middle Eastern sunlight. In each painting, Christ stands out against the blue of Mary’s robes.

Activities to Help You and Your Children further Explore these 2 Beautiful Paintings

Before doing other activities, ask children to tell what’s going on in the painting and what tells them that. Ask children how Mary and Jesus feel about each other. What tells them that? Ask how they feel when they’re involved in activities with those they love. Enhance their observational and verbal skills by rephrasing words and adding new vocabulary.

Having 2 similar paintings by the same artist lends itself to a comparing and contrasting activity:

Encourage children to compare and contrast colors, shadows, items in the paintings, clothing, expressions, brightness, etc.

Ask them which painting they like better and why.

Before You Go

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit

Visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages and coloring pages for kids and an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.

Molly hopes you enjoyed learning about these two paintings of Christ and His mother and will join us next week for a devotion based on the paintings.

Special Announcement

Look what’s coming to Kathy the Picture Lady blog in late August through September!

Many wonderful new children’s books are releasing, so starting with the last post of August, I’ll be interviewing 6 children’s authors, and Molly will talk to some of the main characters in each of their new releases of picture books and board books!

Molly hopes you’ll join us to learn more about such fun characters as a mole, a rocking chair, frogs, animal daddys, pugs, and all the people and creatures that came to the manger when Jesus was born!

Here’s Molly with her special stash of books that she  hopes to add to very soon!

 

 

Just Have Fun, An Artsy Corgi Fun and Easy Art Activity

Summer is winding down in some areas, and before long we’ll see school supplies in the stores. So try this last messy Artsy Corgi Fun and Easy Art Activity and just have fun! Molly gives it high paw rating!

In this post you’ll find:

  • Supply list
  • Step-by-step directions
  • Helpful hints
  • Clean-up tips
  • Variations and adaptations
  • 6 Ways the activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development
  • And as always, a cute photo of Molly the Artsy Corgi

Let’s get started!

Supplies:

  • Sturdy paper in various colors
  • Tempera paint
  • water
  • Recycled squeeze and spray bottles

Directions:

  1. Thoroughly wash the recycled bottles
  2. Add different colors of paint to the squeeze bottles
  3. Add different colors of paint to the spray bottles. You will probably need to add some water too. Experiment with how much is needed to get them to spray.
  4. Squeeze and spray different colors to create abstract designs on the different papers

Helpful Hints:

Experiment and have fun!

Clean up Hints:

  • Cover your work surface with a plastic table cloth
  • Wear old clothes or paint shirts

Variations and adaptations:

  • This activity is fun for all ages
  • Try adding water to the paint in the squeeze bottle for a different effect
  • Try different color choices, such as using only warm or cool colors
  • Try different types and colors of papers

6 Ways the activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development

  1. This activity encourages experimentation with colors and designs
  2. Using these spray and squeeze bottles encourages large muscle development.
  3. Making art enhances creativity and refreshes minds and eyes tired from screens.
  4. Making choices in creating art, enhances problem-solving skills.
  5. Discussing their art and the choices they made builds vocabulary and social skills.
  6. When children make choices in creating art, it enhances problem-solving skills.

Cute Molly Photo

Summer is often thunderstorm weather, and here Molly sports her thunder shirt, which helps a little to calm her fears.

Before You Go

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit

Visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages and coloring pages for kids and a list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.

Molly hopes you just had fun with this Artsy Corgi Art Activity. In August we go back to our school year schedule and hope you’ll join us for our monthly series about art. Each series includes:

  1. Fun ways to learn about artists and their artworks.
  2. Kid-friendly devotion based on the artwork
  3. Art activity based on the artwork
  4. Newsletter with curriculum connections to the artwork and reviews of related children’s fiction and nonfiction books. And freebies!
  5. We also frequently do interviews with children’s authors.

To receive these blog posts by email, click on the subscribe button above. To also receive the newsletter, click on the newsletter button, too.

We will never share your email with anyone else.

 

 

Blowing Colored Bubbles, an Artsy Corgi Fun and Easy Art Activity

Everyone likes blowing bubbles! In this Artsy Corgi Fun and Easy Art Activity you’ll add food coloring and catch those colored bubbles on paper to make pretty designs for bookmarks or cards.

In this post you’ll find:

  • Supply list
  • Step-by-step directions
  • Helpful hints
  • Clean-up tips
  • Variations and adaptations
  • 6 Ways the activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development
  • And as always, a cute photo of Molly the Artsy Corgi

Let’s get started!

Supplies:

  • Paper
  • Food coloring
  • Bubble blowing mixture and wands
  • Plastic containers for bubble and food coloring mixture

Directions:

  1. Pour some bubble mixture into as many containers as you have colors
  2. Add a food color to each container and stir gently
  3. Lean over paper as you blow different colored bubbles. Watch them burst and make designs.

Helpful Hints:

  • Start with small amounts of bubble mixture, and experiment with how much food color to add

Clean up Hints:

  • This is best done outside as bubbles can sometimes float off and burst in unexpected places, leaving color behind!
  • Wear old clothes or paint shirts, because as you blow, some liquid spatters back on your face and clothes.

Variations and adaptations:

  • This activity is fun for all ages
  • Try different color choices on different papers
  • Try different types and colors of papers
  • Make it a game: lots of people like to run to catch bubbles. Instead while someone else blows colored bubbles into the air over a lawn, the other person tries to catch the bubbles on a paper.
  • Chose favorite parts of the designs to make bookmarks and cards to give as gifts.

6 Ways this activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development

  1. This activity encourages experimentation with colors.
  2. Making art enhances creativity and refreshes minds and eyes tired from screens.
  3. Making choices in creating art, enhances problem-solving skills.
  4. Running to catch bubbles is a fun activity to enjoy together.
  5. Comparing the colored spatters on everyone’s faces provides lots of good laughter!
  6. Making something for others encourages compassion and care for others.

Cute Molly Photo

Molly got into the 4th of July spirit this past week!

Before You Go

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit

Visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages and coloring pages for kids and a list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.

Molly hopes you enjoy blowing colored bubbles, and will come back soon for our next Artsy Corgi fun and easy art activity!

 

 

 

Artsy Corgi Fun and Easy Paper Marbling

You and your children will enjoy this fun and easy technique for marbling paper. Instead of expensive materials that could be bad for you, this method uses shaving cream and food coloring. Not only is it inexpensive and nontoxic, it smells great and makes terrific designs! Molly the Artsy Corgi has put her paw of approval on it!

In this post you’ll find:

  • Supply list
  • Step-by-step directions
  • Helpful hints
  • Clean-up tips
  • Variations and adaptations
  • Ways the activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development
  • Don’t miss a link at the end to my post on Sally Matheny’s blog, Tell the Next Generation. It’s called Children’s Activities: Using Picture Book Layers
  • And as always, a cute photo of Molly the Artsy Corgi

Let’s get started!

Supplies:

  • Old baking sheet
  • Computer paper, cardstock, construction paper, etc.
  • Foam shaving cream, gel doesn’t work
  • Food coloring
  • Knife or spatula
  • Stiff cardboard or plastic square
  • A thin stick, such as the end of a paintbrush handle
  • Paper towels

Directions:

  1. Spread a thick layer of shaving cream over the baking sheet, kind of like frosting a cake!
  2. Drop food colors in drops all over top of shaving cream
  3. Use stick or end of paintbrush handle to swirl colors on top of shaving cream
  4. Lay paper on top of design and gently pat all around it so the paper touches the shaving cream. Do not push it into the shaving cream.
  5. Peel paper off and lay flat on paper towels
  6. Use the cardboard or plastic square to scrape off and discard the shaving cream
  7. Sometimes the food color smears a little, but it just adds to the design!
  8. Repeat with other paper until the shaving cream design gets too dry
  9. To make a new design, scrape up the used shaving cream from the baking sheet and discard
  10.  Then spread a new layer of shaving cream and repeat the previous steps for new designs

Helpful Hints:

  • After patting the paper, leave for a few seconds more to absorb the colors
  • Also wait for a few seconds after removing the paper before scraping off the shaving cream

Clean up Hints:

  • Cover your work surface with a plastic table cloth
  • Have lots of paper towels for the scraped-off shaving cream. This shaving cream will have food coloring in it.
  • Have a lined wastepaper basket very close for all the paper towels filled with globs of shaving cream and food coloring

Variations and adaptations:

  • This activity is fun for all ages, and even the discarded shaving cream is pretty, with swirled-in food colors
  • Try different color choices.
  • Try different types and colors of papers
  • Try using a fork or comb to swirl the colors
  • Use the designed papers for cards or covers for reports, etc!
  • If you have larger baking sheets, make larger papers to use for book covers or wrapping paper

4 Ways this activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development

  1. This activity encourages experimentation with colors, designs, and tools.
  2. Making art enhances creativity and refreshes minds and eyes tired from screens.
  3. Making choices in creating art, enhances problem-solving skills.
  4. Discussing the process of making art and their choices builds vocabulary and social skills.

I hope you’ll check out my article “Children’s Activities: Picture Book Layers,” on Sally Matheny’s fantastic blog, Tell the Next Generation to find lots of ways to enjoy picture books with your children! :

Molly hopes you enjoy marbling paper with this fun and easy technique, and will come back for our next Artsy Corgi fun and easy art activity.

Molly posed for me on some rocks near our house , and we enjoyed these warm-colored wildflowers nearby.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And Before You Go

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit

Visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages and coloring pages for kids and a list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.

Splat Goes the Paint in this Fun and Easy Art Activity

Grab a wooden spoon and splat some paint! It’s messy, but so much fun, and summer’s perfect to put on some old clothes and head outside to make a colorful art masterpiece . . .  or 2 . . . or 3!

In this post you’ll find:

  • Supply list
  • Step-by-step directions
  • Helpful hints
  • Clean-up tips
  • Variations and adaptations to extend the activity, make it more challenging, or simplify it for younger children.
  • Ways the activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development

Let’s get started.

Supplies:

  • Large paper, any color
  • Tempera paints in various colors
  • Wooden spoon

Directions:

  1. Lay large paper on a firm, flat surface
  2. Squeeze puddles of various colors of paint around the paper
  3. Splat down on the puddles with the flat side of the wooden spoon
  4. No need to clean the spoon between colors, just keep splatting the puddles, allowing colors to mix. I did wipe the spoon off between different sheets of paper.
  5. Repeat the process with other sheets of paper and colors if you wish

Helpful Hints:

  • If it’s at all breezy, you’ll want to weigh the table cloth and papers down. This is what happened before I did that.
  • The best splash effects happen if you splat up and down and don’t mush the spoon around

Clean up Hints:

  • Tempera paint is washable, but if it’s your patio or deck, you may want to put a large plastic table cloth under the splatting area. Paint does fly around and may not completely rinse off wood or concrete
  • Keep paper towels handy for cleanup as you paint
  • A wastebasket or plastic dish tub is great for keeping trash picked up and ready to throw away
  • The paint is thick and dries slowly, so find a safe place for your creations to dry

Variations and Adaptations:

  • If you put a sheet of paper over the paper with the puddles before splatting, It’s less messy, but doesn’t make the splash design as well. I kept splatting and the design improved.
  • If you put two or three different colors close together, you’ll get colorful mixtures.
  • Do papers with just cool or warm colors plus white
  • Do papers with just the primary colors—red, yellow, and blue
  • Wear your bathing suit for this activity, then run through the sprinkler to cool and wash off
  • Cut papers into smaller pieces for cards, posters, or keep large pieces to use to cover your books in the fall.

4 Ways the activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development

  1. When children make choices in creating art, it enhances problem-solving skills.
  2. Art gives children opportunities to explore their interests and talents.
  3. Making art enhances creativity and refreshes minds and eyes.
  4. Creating colorful art reminds us of the beauty God has given us in the world

Before You Go

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit

Visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages and coloring pages for kids and a list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.

Molly hopes you enjoy splatting paint. She had to stay in during the splatting, but here she is inspecting my painting.

Molly and I hope to see you right back here soon for another Fun and Easy Art Activity. Sign up for our blog, and never miss our art activities!

 

 

Devotion Based on 2 Artworks by Mary Cassatt

In Mary Cassatt’s painting, A Young Mother Sewing, a little girl is leaning on her mother’s lap. Do you think her mother is working on a dress for her? We can imagine though, that she’d really like her mother to stop and come play.

Have you ever had to wait for an adult to finish something before helping you or playing a game? It’s hard to be patient at those times.

A second artwork by Mary Cassatt, called The Fitting, reminds me of a time like that for me.

The Fitting by Mary Cassatt, The Brooklyn Museum, public domain

When I was young one of the hardest times for me to be patient was when my mother hemmed my dresses. She began by measuring up from the floor with a wooden yardstick. I had to stand straight, with no drooping to the right or left as she placed pins at the right place. As she went round and round, checking, re-pinning, and checking again, Soon I’d start feeling wiggly, because I wanted to go play.

Have you ever had to be fitted for or shopped for clothes for a special event and thought the adults took too long? Did you feel wiggly and want to play?

Now I’m grown up, I know my mother was being careful because she loved me and wanted me to look my best. And when I look at The Fitting, I’m reminded of these verses from Psalm 139

O Lord, you have searched me and you know me.You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord. You hem me in – behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. (Psalm 139:1-5 NIV)

We are God’s children, and He uses the Bible as His yardstick to show us how to become more like Him, our loving heavenly Father.

Can you think of a time when the Bible helped you see a change you needed to make in how you treated friends or family?

Pinning is only part of the hemming process. In A Young Mother Sewing we see that hemming is done by hand and takes time and skill. It’s important not to get the stitches so tight they cause the cloth to pucker or so loose they fall out.

A Young Mother Sewing by Mary Cassatt,1900, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, public domain

In the painting, I can imagine the mother laying her hand on her daughter’s head, encouraging her to be patient so the dress will turn out beautiful.

God has laid His hand upon us and encourages us to learn from Him. He knows us and doesn’t push us so hard that we get frustrated, but He also loves us enough to keep helping us make our lives more beautiful to glorify Him in the world.

Think of one lesson from your Bible that you can put into practice this week. Do you need to use kinder words? Do you need to be less impatient and wiggly when you have to wait for Mom or Dad to come play?

Let’s pray: Thank you, Heavenly Father, for knowing and loving me. You are always with me. Please help me become more like Jesus. In His name, amen.

Before You Go

Go here to learn about the painting, A Young Mother Sewing and how to enjoy it with your children. Go here if you’d like directions for a children’s art project based on Mary Cassatt’s paintings.

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit

And be sure to visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages and coloring pages for kids, and an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.

Molly and I hope you enjoyed this devotion based on art by Mary Cassatt. If you’ve signed up for my newsletter, you’ll soon receive our May newsletter with more fun things to do.

in this photo Molly is learning to sit inside a hula hoop and wait patiently for me to say she can get up.

 

 

 

 

Let’s Look at Mary Cassatt’s Painting of A Young Mother Sewing

Although Mother’s Day is over, Molly and I hope you’ll join us this month as we look at one of Mary Cassatt’s beautiful and timeless paintings of mothers and children engaged in everyday activities.

In this post you’ll:

  • Find helpful vocabulary
  • Learn a little about Mary Cassatt and her paintings of mothers and children
  • Discover activities to help you and your children explore and enjoy her paintings
  • See a cute photo of Molly, the Artsy Corgi

Helpful Vocabulary

These words, shown in bold green the first time, will help you and your children talk more easily about different parts of the painting.

  • Impressionists: a group of mostly French artists, who in the late 1800s, began painting outside so they could catch the way colors changed in different lights. They worked quickly with dabs and dashes, (creating an impression of their subject) so their paintings looked strange and unfinished to viewers. The Impressionists held their own annual exhibits in Paris. The style also spread to other countries.
  • Genre art:  art showing everyday events and people
  • Composition: the way an artist arranges all the parts to create a painting
  • The Renaissance: the rebirth or revival of classical (Greek and Roman) influences in art and literature, refers especially to the 14th -16th centuries in Italy when such greats as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael worked.

The Artist

Mary Cassatt (1844-1926) who grew up in Philadelphia, always wanted to become an artist. Despite her father’s objections, she entered the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts when she was 15. But women had separate classes from men, which frustrated Mary, and there were few museums in which to study great art. So, like many American artists, Mary traveled to Europe to study.

Even in Paris, Mary couldn’t attend the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, (France’s most prestigious art school), but she could study privately with Ecole masters and copy masterpieces at the Louvre. Many artists studied in this way.

Mary joined the French Impressionists just 5 years after their first exhibition in 1874. The only American and one of only three women, Mary continued exhibiting with the Impressionists until 1886

The men in the Impressionist group could go to cafes and travel around Paris and the surrounding countryside to find subjects to paint. Mary Cassatt and the other women couldn’t go to these places unless accompanied by a man. So they painted the domestic life of women and children, using their family members as models. Mary Cassatt is loved today for her beautiful paintings, pastels, and prints of mothers and children. In her Genre art we see the love between mothers and children in ordinary daily moments.

Though Cassatt lived the rest of her life in France, she never forgot the need for art in American museums. She helped Americans buy artworks to eventually go into these. Her own works are in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Art Institute of Chicago, and many other big and small museums.

The Painting

A Young Mother Sewing by Mary Cassatt,1900, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, public domain

Let’s look at a painting called A Young Mother Sewing. Cassatt has captured a quiet moment in time—the mother is intent on her sewing, while the child is staring at the viewer.

Though it is a genre painting, Cassatt has used a Composition in which the mother and child form a triangular shape, drawing our eyes up to the mother’s face. That triangle, together with the background horizontal and vertical lines, makes a stable, balanced composition.

This kind of composition was very common with portraits of the Madonna and Child in The Renaissance. So, though the woman is just an ordinary mom doing some sewing, Cassatt has given her great dignity and importance.  To compare, here’s a Madonna and Child painting by Leonardo da Vinci.

The Virgin and Child with St. Anne and St. John the Baptist by Leonardo da Vinci,1499-1508, National Gallery, London, public domain

While using classical composition, Cassatt also employs impressionistic techniques:

  • She fills the painting with light. Where the sun hits, we see yellow highlights, and instead of black for shadows on the child’s dress, we see light blues and greens.
  • She dissolves the outlines of faces, hands, and fabrics, which is characteristic of much Impressionist art. If we look closely at the vase on the table, we see the pattern is barely indicated, and the flowers are just orange blobs.
  • Instead of a detailed landscape behind the woman, which we would see in a Renaissance portrait, we see just patches of paint to indicate lawn and trees receding into a shadowy blue distance. Compare that to the detailed background in the Mona Lisa, also by da Vinci.

    Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, 1503-1516, Louvre, Paris, public domain

    Activities to Help You and Your Children further Explore A Young Mother Sewing

Before doing any other activities, ask your children to tell what’s going on in the painting and what tells them that. Enhance their observational and verbal skills by rephrasing words and ideas. According to your children’s ages, work in a little of the new vocabulary, but keep it short and simple.

  1. Ask what colors and patterns they see. Mention how the striped pattern on the mother’s dress helps show their close relationship.
  2. Ask children in what ways this painting resembles a modern photograph.
  3. What do they think the little girl is thinking as she looks at the viewer?
  4. Is she asking her mother a question or maybe asking her mother to come and play?
  5. Ask children if they’ve ever come to you or another adult to ask a question or to come and play? What happened? How should we behave at such times?
  6. What do they think will happen next?
  7. Other things you can do is to have children find all the blues, all the greens, and so on.

Before You Go

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit

Visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages and coloring pages for kids and an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.

Cute picture of Molly. In one of our everyday moments we’re reading a special book by Nancy Sanders about animal babies and their mommies. Here’s a link to my post interviewing Nancy about her adorable board book, Bedtime with Mommy.

Molly and I hope you enjoy learning about this special painting of a mother and child and will join us next week for a devotion based on another of Mary Cassatt’s artworks, The Fitting.

Children’s Art Activity for Mother’s Day

This month Molly and I are changing things up a bit, so you can make a cute card for Mother’s Day. In the next posts we’ll look at some beautiful paintings about mothers by Mary Cassatt, and next a devotion based on those paintings.

In this post you’ll find:

  • Supply list
  • Vocabulary
  • Step-by-step directions
  • 2 Helpful hints
  • Variations and/or adaptations for different ages
  • An art element and design principle to learn about
  • 3 ways this activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development
  • Clean-up tips
  • Cute Molly Photo

Let’s get started!

Supplies:

  • card stock or construction paper
  • paint and brushes, markers, crayons, or colored pencils
  • scissors, pencils, yarn or string, and glue
  • teabags

Vocabulary:

stencil: a paper or other material with shapes or designs cut out so paint, etc. may be applied through the cutout shape onto an underlying surface

 

 

 

 

Directions:

  1. Fold paper in half and draw a cup-shape, making sure one side is against the fold
  2. While still folded, cut cup out
  3. Cut oval shape out of white or contrasting color and glue in place for cup opening
  4. Draw and color designs on front of cup. I made stencils for the tulips
  5. Have an adult use an X-Acto knife to make a small cut on the inner rim of the cup
  6. Thread yarn or string through the cut and attach a heart or other shape (like a teabag string and tag hanging out of a cup)
  7. On the inside left of the card glue a piece of paper over the end of the yarn. Decorate and write your Mother’s Day message on this paper
  8. On the other side of the opened card, use a glue gun, tape, or staples to attach a teabag

2 Helpful Hints:

  • When you’re making stencils, it’s helpful to fold the paper so the design is the same on both sides
  • When using the X-Acto knife, open up the card and work on a cutting board

Variations and/or adaptations for different ages:

  • Use a real teabag string and tag instead of yarn
  • Make a pocket for the teabag
  • This card can be used for many occasions, such as birthdays. Just change designs and inner message.

Children may need help drawing and cutting out the cup and finishing it with a teabag and teabag tag, but there’s much they can do:

  •    Choose the color of the card, decorate it, and choose the flavor of tea to include
  •    Write the message
  •    Pray for the person
  •    Stick stamp and return address on envelope and put in letter box

An art element and design principle to learn about

  • Color—children will choose colors to make a pleasing design
  • Shape—learning to notice and work with shapes is an important skill that helps children in many ways, such as letter recognition and math skills.

3 Ways this activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development

  1. Using crayons and scissors, and other art tools helps children develop fine motor skills.
  2. When children make choices in creating art, it enhances problem-solving skills.
  3. Making art for someone else encourages children to think of and care for others

Clean up Hints:

  • Put a plastic table cloth or large paper under your work
  • Wax paper under paper as you spread glue, keeps things from sticking in the wrong places
  • Have paper towels handy
  • Keep a wastebasket handy
  • After washing and rinsing brushes, reshape bristles if needed, and lay them flat on paper towels to dry. Store with bristles up in a jar.

Cute Molly Photo

Molly loves when daffodils and tulips begin to pop up in the spring!

Molly hopes you enjoy making this Mother’s Day card! In our next post we’ll show you two of Mary Cassatt’s beautiful paintings of mothers and children and give you ways to enjoy these with your children.

 

Before You Go

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit

Sign up now and don’t miss May’s newsletter, which will have lots of books and activities to help you and your kiddos enjoy God’s wonderful creation!

You may also visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages, coloring pages for kids, and an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.

 

 

 

Easter Painting Activity for Children

Here’s an Easter art project for children that uses fun and easy water color techniques to make a colorful cross picture for cards or framing.

The cross design reminds us that on Good Friday, Christ died for us so our sins can be forgiven, and we can become part of God’s family.

So let’s get started!

Supplies:

  • Watercolor paints, brushes, and small containers to hold mixed paint
  • Watercolor paper is best for the special effects
  • Heavy white paper still allows a nice design (I’ll show you how)
  • Coarse salt
  • Wax paper torn into small shapes
  • Plastic wrap
  • Other techniques to try: paint spattering, drops of lemon juice or rubbing alcohol, grains of rice, leaves

Directions if using watercolor paper

Note: once your paper is wet,  you have to have everything ready and work pretty quickly

  1. Work in a place where you can leave your painting to dry before moving it. Put a plastic table cloth under your work.
  2. Before wetting the paper, use masking tape to form a cross on your paper (keep it a little rough looking). The masking tape allows you to paint right over it. When the paint dries, and you remove the tape, you’ll have a white cross, with beautiful paint patterns all around it.
  3. Choose and mix 3 or 4 colors for the background in the small containers  (I thought mine were dark enough, but would probably make them darker next time. Watercolors dry lighter than you expect)
  4. With a large brush wet your watercolor paper all over with clean water  (don’t make it sopping wet, just a light layer or sheen)
  5. Brush the colors around your paper; drop some in with a brush or right from a container
  6. Let the colors move around and swirl together for a couple moments  (too long makes colors muddy and you need wet paint for the next steps)
  7. Sprinkle salt or rice around your paper
  8. Place a few pieces of wax paper or leaves around, overlapping them
  9. Scrunch up pieces of plastic wrap and place on areas of paint

Leave everything to dry (it may take several hours if you had lots of paint puddles). Once dry you can try spattering paint.

   Directions if using heavy white paper

  1. Form a cross on your paper with masking tape as before
  2. Decide what design you want for a background
  3. Choose and mix 3 or 4 colors as before
  4. Do Not wet your paper, but you’ll still need to work pretty quickly
  5. With your brush paint your design., allowing colors to mix and blend
  6. The salt, wax paper, etc don’t work well or even much at all on this paper, but spattering works just fine. 

Leave everything to dry an hour or more depending on how wet your paint was. Once dry you can try spattering paint. Old toothbrushes work well for spattering.

Once either project is dry remove the tape, and any papers, leaves, etc,. Brush off the rice and/or salt and enjoy your creation!!

Now mount your creation on colored paper for all to admire or on cardstock to send Easter blessings to family and friends,

AND remember, Jesus didn’t remain on the cross or in the grave, but rose from the dead on Easter morning!

Hallelujah!!

Before You Go

Molly the Artsy Corgi and I hope you enjoyed this project. We’ll be back soon with more great art, devotions, and art activities! Sign up so you don’t miss any of the fun. And you can have even more art fun if you sign up to receive our monthly newsletter.

Interview with Laura Sassi about Her New Children’s Book Bunny Finds Easter

Molly the Artsy Corgi and I would like to welcome back children’s author, Laura Sassi. Bunny, the main character in Laura’s new board book, Bunny Finds Easter, has also come along to help answer some questions and show you a cute craft.

Laura, let’s let Molly and Bunny talk a little and show the craft, and then you and I can finish up the interview.

Molly:  I love your Easter hat, Bunny. Did you pick out the ribbon and flowers?

Bunny: Yes, and I wanted the ribbon to go under my chin so it would stay on. My favorite part, though, is that there are two holes for my ears.

Molly:  Oh, wow, my ears aren’t as long as yours, but I need a hat like that, too! Tell me, Bunny, do bunnies really like carrots?

Bunny: Of course! They are crunchy and colorful and full of vitamins!

Molly:  I like the crunchy part best! I’ve never been on an Easter egg hunt, Bunny, but I think I’d be really good because of my super powerful nose. Would you please tell our readers what you do on an egg hunt.

Bunny: It’s just like it sounds. An Easter egg hunt is when you go on a hunt and look for eggs! Sometimes the eggs are real eggs- but colored. Other times the eggs have surprises inside them like chocolate and jelly beans!

Molly: That sounds fun and yummy. I want to have an egg hunt this Easter! What other things do you do on Easter?

Bunny: At our house, we bake Easter treats like hot cross buns and we decorate Easter eggs. We also get dressed up and hop to church!  Can you spot the church?  (HINT: It’s on the cover of the book.)

Molly:  I did see the church. It’s very pretty. I really like Ella’s illustrations. They make me want to jump into your story and go to church with you! Everything sounds like so much fun, but when did you find out that Easter is really all about Jesus and His resurrection?

Bunny: I learned about Jesus and His resurrection at church.  And do you know when I first heard the good news of Easter? It was when we were singing! Singing hymns is a great way to learn about Jesus and His gift of forgiveness and new life.

Molly:  Singing is a wonderful way to learn about Jesus. Let’s show children another super cute way to learn about Jesus and His resurrection!

Bunny: That’s sound like a hopping fun idea!

Supplies and Directions for Bunny Craft

Supplies:

  • small flower pot
  • pink acrylic paint
  • cardstock or art foam in pinks and flowery colors
  • Wiggly eyes
  • Pink pompom
  • Glue gun, markers

Here are the directions:

  1. Paint the flower pot pink
  2. Draw and cut out ears, flowers, and a bow
  3. Tuck ears into flower pot , add flowers to the rim, and glue in place
  4. Draw mouth with marker
  5. Glue eyes and pompom nose in place (get help from parents or grandparents to use a glue gun)
  6. Fill with plastic Easter eggs. Some of these could contain jelly beans but others may contain paper slips with written items to teach about Jesus and Easter or the items from Resurrection eggs.

Molly: Do you think it looks a little like you, Bunny?

Bunny: Yes, in PINK!

Kathy: while Molly and Bunny munch on a few jelly beans, can you tell us where you got the idea for Bunny Finds Easter, Laura?

Laura: As a young child I was confused about what we were celebrating at Easter. I loved coloring Easter eggs and hunting for jelly beans, but it wasn’t until I was a tween that I made the connection that Easter is when we celebrate Jesus’s resurrection. Inspired by that memory, I decided to write a board book for preschoolers and toddlers that would celebrate those fun Easter traditions and, at the same time, serve as an introduction to the real gift of Easter – Jesus! I decided that an engaging way to do this was through the eyes of a sweet bouncy protagonist named Bunny who wakes up Easter morning determined find out what Easter is all about.

Kathy:  What a wonderful way to help little ones learn about Easter! Molly and I love to snuggle to read cute board books and look at the pictures together. Do you have some suggestions for how parents and grandparents can use Bunny Finds Easter to tell children about Jesus and His resurrection?

Laura:  Yes. First of all just enjoy the story with your little ones. Sniff along with Bunny as she sniffs those hot cross buns and hunt for the fun things she encounters along the way – like Easter lilies and baby animals and colorful eggs and Easter candies.

  • As you are reading, after thoroughly investigating each spread, ask your child, “Are these (insert items) what Easter is all about?  The answer is no, but maybe they are a clue as to what Easter is all about.
  • When you reach that final spread, celebrate together that JESUS is what Easter is all about.  Maybe even say his name together and rejoice that He is Risen!
  • Afterwards, you can review the message of the story by re-examining the items found in the story to see how each reminds us of Easter and God’s love.  Examples: Chocolate bunnies and jelly beans are sweet – like God.  The cross on the hot-cross bun is like the Cross at Easter.  The Easter bonnet – is joyful – just the way we feel on Easter as we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection…and so forth.

Kathy:  Molly and I love those ideas! Where can our readers find Bunny Finds Easter?

Laura: The book is available at bookstores everywhere. If your local indie doesn’t yet have it, you can request it. I would also LOVE it if you recommended it for purchase at your church or preschool library, as well as your town library.  That way it can serve as an engaging introduction to Easter to even more children.

Thank you, Laura and Bunny for visiting our blog today to tell us all about your newest book, Bunny Finds Easter!

Have a joyful Easter Everyone!