Monthly Archives: October 2022

An Artsy Corgi Art Activity Based on Lighthouse Paintings

Ahoy, Matey, let’s make a seascape with a lighthouse and lots of fun details! In this Artsy Corgi art activity, you’ll discover an easy way to draw a lighthouse, learn several fun painting techniques, and finish up with some 3-D effects. We call this type of project a mixed-media activity, because we use several different art mediums.

In this post you’ll find:

  • Supply list It looks a little long, but most of it is stuff you may already have
  • Step-by-step directions
  • Helpful hints
  • Variations and/or adaptations for different ages
  • Vocabulary and art and design elements and principles children will learn
  • 4 ways this activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development
  • Clean-up tips
  • Cute Molly Photo

Let’s Make a Seascape!


  • Sturdy light blue paper for a background (with light blue paper, you can paint clouds and water on an already sky and water colored background)
  • White foam plates make great paint palettes and can rinse off easily for reuse or be thrown away
  • Tempera paint in white, black, blue, green, and purple
  • Clean damp rags to paint with
  • White drawing paper for the lighthouse
  • Pencils, erasers, scissors
  • Colored pencils, crayons, or markers to color the lighthouse
  • Tan or white paper to spatter for sand
  • Watercolor set and 2 brushes for spattering
  • A fork or old plastic card to make sea grass
  • Small sea shells (gathered yourself, or available in craft stores)
  • White glue

Directions: (I’ve split these into sections for easier use)

Sea and Sky

  1. Lightly draw a horizon line to divide the sky and water
  2. On the palette, pour a small puddle of white and a very small puddle of black, leaving space between each puddle
  3. Scrunch up your rag or hold it over your index finger to paint
  4. After looking at clouds outside or in photos, use the rag to paint clouds. They can be fluffy or straight. You may swirl the paint to suggest movement. See the picture at #7.
  5. If you wish to add gray to clouds, put a little white in another spot on your palette and mix in a tiny bit of black to make different grays. Always mix just a little of the darker color into the lighter color. The opposite way takes way more of the lighter color to change the darker color.
  6. Add blue, green, and purple to your palette.
  7. Use these colors or mix together to make the ocean. You may make a calm sea or big swirling waves. Add white to the top of waves for foam.


  1. Sand comes in all colors, so use a sheet of white or tan paper.
  2. Swirl a wet brush into the brown pan of a watercolor set.
  3. While holding it over the paper, tap the brush against the handle of another brush to spatter paint. Use other colors if you wish—maybe some yellows and even a little green and blue for beach glass.

Lighthouse (The camera has distorted some of the lines)

  1. Look at a glass or towel tube and help children draw a cylinder’
  2. Look at a picture of a lighthouse and see that it’s a tower, which is a cylinder.
  3. Some lighthouses taper towards a narrower top, but they are still cylinders.
  4. Encourage children to look at other details, such as the rounded top or roof and the balconies with railings that often go around the outside. Keepers needed to get outside to keep the glass clean. These railings should curve.
  5. If children wish they can add some out buildings around the lighthouse tower. Don’t worry about 1-point perspective, unless they’re older and want to learn. There are lots of online tutorials for it if they do.
  6. Color the lighthouse and cut out.

Putting it all together

  1. Cut out stretches of sand and glue in place over the water.
  2. Glue the lighthouse somewhere on top of the sand.
  3. Use a fork or old plastic card to make sea grass.
  4. Glue on seashells.

And there you have it–a beautiful seascape with a lighthouse.

More Helpful Ideas and Tips for this Activity

Helpful Hints:

  • Painting with rags and spattering paint is fun and easy for all ages, but it is messy, so if the weather cooperates, you might want to do these parts outside in one session.
  • You may spatter paint with an old tooth brush and a popsicle stick, but remember to scrape towards yourself. It’s a little counterintuitive, but the other way just spatters you!
  • Paint shirts are a good idea !
  • To help prevent globs of glue, pour a small glue puddle on a plate and have children use their finger to spread the glue.
  • Place waxed paper under things as you spread glue. It keeps things from sticking in the wrong places.

Variations and/or adaptations for different ages:

  • Paint a sun setting over the horizon

    sunset over Higgins Beach, photo by author

  • Use gray paper and paint lots of black clouds over a stormy sea
  • Use black paper and use thick yellow tempera paint to show the lighthouse’s beam of light
  • Draw and cut out small ships to sail out in the ocean
  • older children may want to get more detailed with their lighthouse drawings.
  • Sometimes children get discouraged if their drawing efforts don’t look just as they’d like. Remind them that drawing is a skill just like playing soccer or making a cake. It takes practice and time. Encourage them to try and praise their efforts!
  • Younger children may need help cutting and gluing all the parts together.
  • You may need a glue gun to make the shells stick.

4 Vocabulary and art and design principles children will learn

  1. Seascape—a painting that has views of the ocean
  2. Color: tint=a color plus white, shade=a color plus black—in this activity children learn how to mix tints and shades for the clouds and water. They also learn how to mix just a little darker color at a time into lighter colors.
  3. Texture: how something feels to the touch, rough, soft, etc. In painting we often simulate texture by spattering, etc.—as children use this different painting technique and spatter paint, they learn about putting texture into paintings.
  4. Perspective: the ways artists create the illusion of depth in a painting, creating a foreground, middle ground, and background—without getting technical, children can discover 2 ways (differences in size and overlapping objects) to create the 3 distances in paintings.

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

  1. Using pencils, brushes, scissors, etc. helps children develop fine motor skills.
  2. This activity helps develop visual/spatial skills as children create a picture with 3 distances.
  3. Making choices in creating art enhances problem-solving skills.
  4. Making art enhances creativity and refreshes minds and eyes tired from screens.

Clean up Hints:

  • Be sure to put a plastic table cloth or large paper under your work
  • Have paper towels handy
  • A plastic dish tup is great to hold tools you will keep and wash
  • Keep a wastebasket handy for trash
  • 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.

Before You Go, See Molly’s Photos and More about Lighthouses

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. You can also learn more about us and see more fun activities on our website

Photos of Molly the Artsy Corgi with a few ocean things

Molly was a little worried at first

then she decided a shell might be good to eat.

Finally she settled down for a good photo. She knows it means a treat!

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 the Artsy Corgi hopes you enjoy making a mixed media art project of the sea and a lighthouse! If you missed them, be sure and go to earlier posts about lighthouses this month—Shipwrecks and Lighthouses and Lighthouses Tall and Small, A Kid-friendly Devotion about Lighthouses.

Next week in our newsletter you’ll discover connections to other subjects, a museum gem with activities for kids online, freebees, book reviews, and links to continue learning about lighthouses!

Molly and I hope to see you back here soon for a new Kathy the Picture Lady art series.




Lighthouses, Tall and Small, A Kid-Friendly Devotion about Lighthouses

Tall lighthouses have helped steer ships away from dangerous rocks and to safety for thousands of years. Almost 300 years before the birth of Jesus, the Egyptians built a lighthouse that was 330 feet tall. That’s taller than the Statue of Liberty!

The Lighthouse of Alexandria, Egypt had bronze mirrors that reflected sunlight during the day and firelight at night. That light guided ships safely into the harbor. A tall tower with a light at the top has usually been the pattern for lighthouses ever since.

Lighthouses in America

The British built the first lighthouse in America in Boston harbor in 1716. Lighthouses were costly to build, though, so just a few more were built during colonial times.

When America gained independence, it didn’t have many good roads. Travel and trade were faster and easier by sea. Lighthouses helped keep ships and their passengers and cargoes safe at sea and as they entered harbors.

In 1789, one of the first acts of the new Congress was to pass a bill to maintain existing lighthouses and build new ones. One of the first to be built was Portland Head Lighthouse in 1791. President George Washington signed the commission for Captain Joseph Greenleaf to be its first keeper.

Portland Head Lighthouse, Library of Congress photo, 1933, public domain

The Light of the World

Portland Head’s light can be seen 24 miles out to sea. That powerful light guides ships through the dark to a safe harbor. We have an even more powerful light in Jesus Christ. In John 8:12 Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” And the place Jesus guides us to is an eternal safe harbor with Him.

Small Lighthouses

This lighthouse is also in Portland Harbor. It’s much smaller than the other lighthouses, but it has a big job to do. It guides ships safely around a breakwater.

Portland Breakwater Lighthouse, Maine, author photo

Even if you’re small like the Portland Breakwater Lighthouse, you can be a light to the world, too. Whenever you say a kind word to a friend or help your parents, Jesus says your good deeds are like a light guiding others to God.

Don’t hide your light like Molly is doing in this photo!

What is one way you could shine brightly like a small lighthouse this 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 an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.

Molly hopes you enjoyed this devotion and will join us next week for a fun art project about lighthouses.


Shipwrecks and Lighthouses

It was nighttime, August 11, 1897, and a thick fog had closed in around the Howard W. Middleton, a 3-masted schooner carrying 894 tons of coal from Philadelphia to Portland, Maine. The schooner had just passed rocky Black Point, made famous by the stormy seascapes painted by American artist, Winslow Homer.

Rather than risk sailing farther, Captain Shaw decided to put into a harbor on nearby Richmond Island, but in the swirling fog he missed the island and wrecked his ship on a rock just off a mainland beach.

sunset over Higgins Beach, photo by author

The Middleton’s crew made it to shore, and eventually tugboats from Portland retrieved much of the coal. A lot of coal also washed up on the beach, and people came from miles around to gather it for the coming winter. But with a huge hole in her hull, the Middleton was declared a loss and left on the rock. That winter a storm broke up the ship and carried it onto the beach, where today,125 years later, its seaweed-draped keel and ribs still lie half buried in the sand. I’ve walked around it many times at low tide.

Howard W. Middleton shipwreck, photo by author

If the Middleton had been able to round the next headland,

headland at Two Lights, photo by author


rocks and waves at Two Lights, photo by author

Several lighthouses, including Two Lights

Two Lights, photo by author

and the iconic Portland Head Lighthouse, both often painted by Edward Hopper, could have guided her into Portland’s safe harbor.

Since ancient times ships have depended on lighthouses to help them navigate dangerous waters. After independence, in 1789, the new American Congress passed a law to provide for the maintenance of existing lighthouses and for the building of new ones. Edward Hopper is famous for his paintings of lighthouses.

In this post you’ll:

  • Learn a little about Edward Hopper and his paintings of lighthouses
  • Find helpful vocabulary
  • Discover 3 activities to help you and your children explore and enjoy Hopper’s work
  • See a cute photo of Molly, the Artsy Corgi

The Artist

Edward Hopper,photo in public domain

Edward Hopper (1882-1967) was born in a small town on the Hudson River north of New York City. By the time he was 12, Hopper was already 6 feet tall, making him feel out of place and lonely. After high school he studied at the New York School of Art,

Soon after graduation from art school, Hopper traveled to Europe. He wasn’t interested in the modern art movements such as cubism. Instead he was drawn to the work of the French Impressionists. Over the next few years he made 2 more trips to Paris, studying the Impressionist’s emphasis on light and nature, their lighter colors, the cropped compositions, and the buildings many painted.

For a while Hopper struggled. His art didn’t fit either type of art that was prominent in America in the early 1900s–gritty, city scenes or idealized paintings of rural America. By the 1930s, with the help of his wife, Josephine Nivison (also an artist), people began to appreciate his work. His landscapes, and paintings of houses, lighthouses, diners, and storefronts all have a similar style that has greatly influenced American art. Hopper painted in both oil and watercolor. His most famous painting, The Nighthawks, was painted during WWII and seems to show the darkness and anxiety many people felt during those war years.

The Nighthawks by Edward Hopper, 1942, Art Institute of Chicago, public domain


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.

  • Impressionists:  artists who wanted to show the effects of changing light in their paintings. They also painted scenes of everyday life. Claude Monet was a leader of the French Impressionists.
  • Geometric: when used in art–simple shapes showing squares, circles, triangles
  • Mood: the way an artist uses color, shadow, and other aspects of composition to makes us feel a certain way.
  • Composition: how colors, shapes, lines, etc. are arranged in a paintign to create a balanced work.

The Paintings

Hopper’s lighthouse paintings aren’t in the public domain, so I’ll use The Nighthawks and The House by the Railroad to explain his style and then give you links to see his lighthouses.

The House by the Railroad by Edward Hopper,1925, Museum of Modern Art, public domain

Like the Impressionists, Hopper liked to show the effects of light on objects and their colors. Part of this house is in bright sunlight, while the angles of the roof and windows produce sharp shadows—some of them very deep. Unlike the Impressionists, Hopper didn’t blur the edges of objects. He used a definite line and used lots of geometric shapes.

Hopper’s compositions are spare, with just enough detail to tell you the setting of the painting. Notice that in Nighthawks, the counter is almost bare, as are the walls and the windows across the dark street.  Many of his paintings look like snapshots.

Most of Hopper’s paintings have few, if any, people, and there is often a mood of silence and even loneliness in them. The diner lights in Nighthawks are harsh. Fluorescent lights were still new, and Hopper seems to have enjoyed the eerie mood they produced.

Here are links to 2 of Hopper’s lighthouse paintings:

The Lighthouse at Two Lights

Lighthouse and Buildings, Portland Head, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Activities to Help You and Your Children further Explore Hopper’s Paintings

  1. Ask children to tell what’s going on in the paintings, (at least with Nighthawks. The others don’t have much action!) and what tells them that. Enhance their observational and verbal skills by rephrasing words and adding new vocabulary.
  2. Talk about mood, and what colors placement and actions of people, etc., give them the mood of Nighthawks and why the other paintings seem to be so quiet and lonely.
  3. In the other paintings, ask children to find different geometric shapes. How many ovals, squares, rectangles, etc. and of what colors, can they find.

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. Add link

Here’s a photo of Molly with the canvas bag I always use to carry things back and forth to school. It has a picture of Hopper’s painting, Lighthouse and Buildings, Portland Head, Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Molly hopes you enjoyed learning about Edward Hopper and will join us next week for a devotion based on his lighthouse paintings.