Monthly Archives: April 2020

Painting with Cardboard, Another Fun and Easy Art Project for Kids

Did you know you can use cardboard to paint with? You can, and you can make lots of Easy and Fun things, like:

Mama and baby pigs in the straw.    Flowers and butterflies.      Fuzzy yellow chicks.

Spring was a favorite time on our small farm in Maine. We’d have baby pigs and goats out in the barn, and in the kitchen there was always a box of baby chicks or ducks warming up by the wood stove. Spring refreshes us with returning color and creatures, and this year we all certainly need some refreshment, so I hope these easy projects will brighten your day this coming week!

 

Supplies:

  • tempera paints in various colors ( I lightened my red and purple to pink and lilac with white)
  • pieces of cardboard cut to various sizes
  • paper to paint on and scraps to finish the chick
  • pencils, scissors, crayons, and/or markers

Painting Technique:

There are just two techniques used to make these creatures and flowers. After dipping the edge of your cardboard into some paint,

  1. Make straight lines by touching the cardboard up and down onto the paper
  2. While holding the cardboard edge against the paper, you swirl or push it around, while holding one corner in place. It takes a little practice, but you can even make a complete circle this way. Try turning the paper as you hold the cardboard in place.

Note: The size of your creation will depend on the size of your cardboard. And after a while you may need to switch to a new piece as the paint will gradually make it less stiff.

Butterflies and Flowers

These use both techniques: up and down for the spikey flowers, grass, and butterfly body. A swirl for the other flowers and the butterfly wings. On one flower I had both  pink and lilac on the cardboard, without mixing themand I think it produced an interesting effect. Maybe you can try more of that.

Fuzzy Chick

The chick just uses lots of up and down lines around and around in a circle. I put a small pencil dot to mark the middle so I had a reference point to keep going in a circle. Use paper scraps and crayons or markers to finish your chick. Try making different sizes and colors of chicks.

Mama Pig and Her Babies

Steps for the piggies:

  1. Use your drawing skills to draw a circle for Mamma and 2 small ovals for the babies.Just as you did in the last drawing lesson!
  2. Inside each pig, draw a small oval for its snout
  3. Use curving lines to draw ears and tail
  4. Use straight lines that turn sharp corners to make the feet.
  5. Color the pigs using light and dark shades of pink markers or crayons
  6. Use the up and down technique to ad straw all around the mamma pig and her babies

Here are two more ideas:

  • Use orange paint and the swirl technique to make a bunch of carrots. Add feathery green tops with crayon or marker.
  • Or how about baby birds in a nest of brown  twigs?

Molly is enjoying the garden we now have in Colorado. It’s much smaller than the one we had in Maine!! The bright pink flowers in the front are very spikey, while the daisies and cone flowers have much broader petals and could be done with the swirling method.

Mollye and I are sure you can think of lots more creative creatures and pictures to make with your cardboard paintbrush! Have Fun and be sure to come back here next Friday for more Easy and Fun Art for Kids !

 

Drawing Lessons for Children

Okay so here we go with the second part of the drawing lesson for younger children and another technique that can help older children draw more accurately.

For younger children

Review the types of lines–straight, curved, straight lines that turn corners, and curved lines that form circular shapes.

Now I’ll draw 5 things step-by-step that use these lines:

BEAR CUB FACE

SLEEPING CAT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PIG

PENGUIN

TULIP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now you try the same type of steps to draw this owl from the first doodle game! You can do it!

For Older Children

Here’s how to do Contour Drawing, which is almost the opposite of Gesture Drawing.

 Contour drawing helps artists look carefully at details. Like gesture drawing, it’s not meant to be a finished artwork, but to help you look more carefully at your subject. Here are some contour drawings of a flower.  Look how different these look from the gesture drawings we did of hands a couple weeks ago.

You slow way down for contour drawing. Your eye follows every small detail, and your pencil tries to follow along on your paper. You don’t sketch as in gesture drawing, but move your pencil along as if it is a snail inching along every line. You should spend lots more time looking at the subject than at your paper!

 

 

Molly doesn’t draw flowers. She smells them!! But she hopes you’ll enjoy these drawing lessons and come back next Friday for a Painting Project!

How to Look at Landscapes with Your Children

Just a reminder from Molly and me: a new art project for children (the next one in the drawing series) coming on Friday! She’s taking a snooze while she waits, but she suggests

 you enjoy this earlier post on The Hay Wain: Tricks Artists Use to Catch and Hold Your Attention.

Using The Hay Wain, a beautiful landscape painting, this post will show you tricks artists use to catch your attention and then move your eyes around to take in all the details—often without you even realizing it!

Here is a link to the National Gallery page where you can look at and enlarge different sections of The Hay Wain so you can get an idea of how this very large painting has so many spaces and things to explore.

First–getting your attention:  Most paintings have something the artist wants you to notice first. It may be the face of the sitter in a portrait or a particular flower or object in a still life. Landscape artists may choose to focus on a tree or a sunset, or haystacks as Monet did in his haystack series. Whatever it is, it’s called the focal point.

In The Hay Wain Constable has used red to focus your attention on his focal point–the wagon and horses. The horses’ harnesses have bright red fringe. Artists use red for this purpose so often, that you can often just look for that color to find the focal point of many paintings.

Artists also use other things to call attention to the focal point.

  • A central position
  • Larger size
  • Up close
  • The title of the painting!!
  • People in a painting may all look toward or even point to the focus
  • Bright colors or pattern in addition to, or instead of, red
  • Light and shadow contrasts

Activity:  Which of the above techniques did Constable use in addition to red to facus your attention on the wagon and horses?

Second, once you’ve noticed the focal point, artists use more tricks to move your attention on to other parts of their work.

The Hay Wain by John Constable, public domain

1. Related or similar colors throughout a painting draw your eyes onward

Activity: What object in The Hay Wain has colors related to red?  Yes, the roofs of the cottage, which may have actually caught your attention first. But it’s kind of a back and forth thing between the roofs and the wagon and horses, so your attention goes back and forth, too.

2. Similar shapes can move your eyes around also

Activity: Notice how the large tree shapes lead your eyes back to the smaller trees in the background. They seem to march from large trees on the left, to medium ones in the middle, to small ones in the background on the right, but all have  a similar shape, so they create movement around the painting.

3. Lines can move your eyes around, and stop you from wandering off the canvas.

Activity: Follow the diagonal line of the wagon and horses as it points toward the left. Do you see how that could take your attention right out of the painting? Now trace with your eyes the curve of the pond and see how Constable has used the curve to move your attention back to the center. Try not to follow it. You can’t!!

4. Speaking of that curve. Landscape artists often use a curving path, road, or stream to lead your attention back into their painting. Here Molly and I are following a path, and you can see how your eye follows it with us.

Activity: In the Hay Wain notice how the millpond narrows and curves back into the scene. Some of it curves around the house, but the lighter, more noticeable, section curves toward the far field. It’s as if you could walk along that path right into the painting!

5. Light and shadow also move our attention around. The sunlit parts of the pond move our eyes to the light on the house and back to the sunlit field.

                         Though this series of posts about The Hay Wain painting hasn’t had a hands-on art project, here are some more Molly-recommended activities to enjoy with your children!

(Some are specific to landscapes, while others can be used with many subjects)

1. Strap on your backpack and take an imaginary walk or boat ride into the painting. What would you need to wear or take for the weather?

2. While on your walk or boat ride, tell what you would see, smell, hear, feel, and if appropriate–taste!!    (warm sun, bees buzzing, scratchy hay, cool water, soft grass, etc.)

3. How does the painting make you feel–happy, sad, peaceful, excited, afraid, etc?

4. What kind of colors does the painting have? warm or cool?  calm and peaceful or electric and exciting?

5. Have children go on a scavenger hunt to find things in the painting: colors, textures, certain people or objects or other creatures. Find a curvy, wavy, straight, or zigzag line. Find circles, rectangles, triangles, etc. (these don’t have to be mathematically perfect shapes. This is ART!!)

6. Look at the lady getting water, the dog, or the person in the bushes and make up a story about them.  Do any of them live in the house? Are there any children, and if so, what sort of jobs would they have?

7. Tell a story about the duck family.

8. What animals will the hay feed over the winter?

9. What are some other ways people in the painting are caring for their animals?

10. What are some things we see in this painting that show how God cares for our daily needs?

I hope you have fun exploring The Hay Wain yourself and with your children! Let me know which activity you or your children especially enjoyed.

For all those out there who love horses as I do, I’ve written a devotion for this painting, called Devotion for The Hay Wain posted on 10/25/19 that centers on those three patient and powerful black horses!

Easter Paint Project for Children

Here’s a second Easter art project for elementary children. It uses water color techniques that make interesting effects.

The cross design reminds us that on Good Friday, Christ died for us so our sins could be forgiven and we could be reconciled to God!

The cross is made with masking tape, allowing 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.

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
  2. Use masking tape to form a cross on your paper (keep it a little rough looking)
  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

                             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 AND be reminded that Christ didn’t remain in the grave, but rose from the dead on Easter morning.

Hallelujah!!

Note: I have a new work-for-hire assignment to write devotions, so starting next week I will be posting just on Fridays. But Molly and I hope you’ll come on back each Friday, because we’ll be posting lots of fun and easy art projects for children!

Fun and Easy Easter Art Project

You’ll have fun doing this easy Easter art project with your children this week, so let’s put the next drawing lesson on hold until next Monday. (although we were already starting Easter art projects before school closed, it’s sneaked up on me for projects on this blog!)

This painting project makes a cute picture of sheep in a pasture and perfectly illustrates Psalm 100: 3, “…we are His people, the sheep of His pasture.” and John 10:11 where Jesus says, “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” NIV

This project can be done in 2 short activity times. Do part A and go on to another activity while the paint dries; then come back to finish with part B same day if you like.

Supplies:

  • Sturdy white paper such as construction paper
  • Scrap paper, any color
  • Cardboard such as cereal box cardboard, cut into 2 to 3 inch squares
  • Yarn, any color
  • Tape such as masking, packing, or duct tape
  • Scissors
  • Green paint, largish plastic cover, paintbrush or plastic knife or spoon
  • Crayons or markers

Follow these simple steps:

Part A. 20 to 30 minutes

  1. Draw and cut out several cloud shapes of different sizes from the scrap paper. Notice the cloud shapes are from the circular line and shape drawing lesson last week!!
  2. Fold over pieces of masking tape to stick the “clouds” to your white construction paper (you will be removing these so don’t stick them heavily—one piece per cloud)
  3. Arrange cloud shapes on your construction paper
  4. To make your “stamp” make a “handle” out of tape for your piece of cardboard
  5. Tape one end of a piece of yarn on this same side
  6. Wrap the yarn around and around the cardboard, and tape the end on the back (wrap the strand fairly tightly, but not too close together)
  7. put a small amount of green paint on the plastic lid and spread with a spoon or brush.
  8. Rub your cardboard stamp around the thin layer of paint just to coat the yarn strands
  9. Stamp all over your white paper and cloud shapes. The stamping should look like blades of grass. Pick up more paint as needed.( help children to stamp up and down without smearing)

Let dry

Part B  20 to 30 minutes

  1. Part B  20 to 30 minutes
  2. Remove cloud shapes
  3. With pencil draw heads, ears, and legs (I use pencil first so I remember the eyes)
  4. Color these in with black marker or crayon
  5. Use other marker or crayon colors to make flowers. Notice the heads, ears, and flower petals are all in the circular group of lines and shapes from last week’s drawing lesson, and the legs are just straight lines. So you can use what you learned last week for this part of the project
  6. If you wish, add the Bible reference/s in one corner.

Variation

 Use smaller paper and make just one or two sheep and turn it into an Easter card.

Molly hopes you enjoy making this Easter picture, and come back on Friday for another Easter art project!!

 

 

 

 

Fun and Easy Drawing Lesson for Elementary Children

In this fun and easy drawing lesson, you’ll learn that drawing more accurately means learning to look more carefully. Monday’s post explained how looking at what types of lines and shapes make up your subject is one important way artists look carefully.

Today’s post will show you an additional technique, called Gesture Drawing. In Gesture Drawing you try to quickly capture the overall shape and parts of an object or creature. For example, the gesture of a baseball player at bat is very different from a football player jumping up to catch a football. You’re not trying to get detail, just that overall “gesture.”

Artists use Gesture Drawing to explore and look carefully at their subjects. They often use it to warm up as they begin work. They don’t stop to erase unwanted lines—they just keep drawing over old lines until they get the gesture right.

If you’ve ever seen photos of pages from Leonardo da Vinci’s sketchbook, you’ve see how messy and scribbly it usually looked.

And you’ll be amazed what you learn from your scribbles, so I hope you’ll give Gesture Drawing a chance!

Supplies:

  • sketchpads are nice (they’re good if you want to hold on to drawings) but not necessary. Any paper works just fine.
  • Whatever paper you use, draw all over it, front and back, just like Leonardo da Vinci!
  • Drawing pencils are helpful, as well as an artist’s kneaded eraser (these erase the graphite without taking away as much paper surface) but also not necessary.
  • In fact for gesture drawing, I prefer crayons because it makes me work larger and I’m not tempted to erase but just keep going!!

Activities

1. Try to get the gesture of this little speeding sailboat

2. Try drawing 2 different teapots.

Here are two very differently-shaped teapots. As you can see, I’m using a crayon and refining lines as I go. No erasing. As I look at the spout on the short pot, I see it needs to be taller, as does the handle, but I’ve got its short rounded shape pretty well. Notice I didn’t draw any of the flowers. They don’t help me get the gesture, so they’re not needed unless I go on to a finished drawing.

As I worked on the tall, thin pot, I saw that the handle was very rectangular at the top and rose above the lid, and I kept working on it until I had it more like what I saw.

3. Now a pillow! At first I thought this pillow had no “character” and would be easy to draw, but the more I looked, the more I saw and this gesture drawing proved to be one of the harder ones!

4. Lots of artists practice on their own hands. Here is a gesture drawing of my hand.

4. Pets are great to draw if they hold still or from photos! My dog, Molly likes it when I draw her.

She’s going lie very still to show you how helpful gesture drawings can be  to make your final drawings more accurate!! The little pink toy is a favorite!!

Molly is a corgi and do you see how on the first gesture drawing (the one on the bottom left) I didn’t show how long she is? I noticed it right away and on the second, gave her a little more length!! Still not enough, but I’ve learned something important about her if I go on to a more detailed drawing. I also saw that I needed to make her nose shorter and her ruff thicker.

That’s what’s so great about starting with a quick sketch or gesture of your subject–it helps you look more carefully at what you’re drawing and as you keep refining your lines, you see more accurately for if or when you do a more detailed drawing.

 Now you try some Gesture Drawings of

  • stuffed animals
  • your pets
  • pictures of people engaged in a sport
  • a brother or sister curled up on a chair to read.

The more you practice, the more you learn to look and draw more accurately! Molly says to go ahead and draw her on her special mat!Come back soon for more painting, printing, and drawing fun!