Monthly Archives: November 2022

Weaving the Beauty of Jesus into Every Part of Your Day, A Kid-Friendly Devotion

Look at this colorful paper weaving. For their cat on a mat project children chose their favorite color to be the lengthwise (warp) part of their weaving.

Then for the strips that weave across (weft) they painted with watercolor paints. They added colors and let them swirl and mix.

They didn’t really want to cut apart their beautiful design, but they knew a tabby weave, which goes over and under, would create an even more beautiful pattern when combined with their favorite color.

Psalm 139 says God created your inmost being and wove you together with your color hair and eyes, your favorite foods and colors, and even how tall you’d be. He has given you the ability to play music or soccer, love math or art. You are wonderfully made. And above all God has made you to be able to love and worship Him and love others as we love Him.

But it’s not always easy to do that, is it? We may get angry when our friends don’t want to do something we like. We don’t always obey our parents. We may get tired and cranky and say mean things to our brothers and sisters.

So God sent His Son, Jesus, to us. He came as a baby and grew up just like you, except that He never sinned. Jesus is more beautiful than the most beautiful watercolor painting you’ve ever seen. He showed us the perfect beauty of God’s love and care, wisdom and guidance, and understanding and forgiveness.

Jesus was willing on the cross to be cut apart, separated, from God the Father to save you and weave His beauty into your life.

You are wonderfully made, and when you allow Jesus to weave the colorful threads of His perfect love, wisdom, and forgiveness through your day, you will become an even more beautiful creation to glorify God.

When you start each day, pray and thank Jesus for coming into your life. Then watch for how He weaves His love and care over and under you at school, playing with friends, and at home with your family. Then those beautiful threads of love will show in your life, too.

 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

Molly and I hope you enjoyed this devotion based on our Cat on a Mat watercolor and weaving art project. If you missed it, here’s the link.

And if you’ve signed up for our newsletter, next week you’ll receive lots more connections—fun research ideas and children’s books about the Impressionists and cats, as well as links to a museum gem with online art activities for all ages.

Molly and I wish you and your family a blessed Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

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Cat on a Mat, An Artsy Corgi Art Activity

Let’s have fun making a cat on a mat. We’ll paint wet-in-wet with the light-filled colors loved by the Impressionists and weave the painting into a mat for a happy cat! You’ll discover how to draw a cat and learn a basic tabby weave.

In this post you’ll find:

  • Supply list
  • Step-by-step directions
  • Helpful hints
  • Creative variations and adaptations for different ages
  • 4 Vocabulary and art and design principles children will learn
  • 4 ways this activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development
  • Clean-up tips
  • Cute Molly Photo

Let’s have Fun Making Art!

Supplies:

The Mat

  • 9X12 “ Watercolor paper (smooth or rough is fine). You can find inexpensive pads or packs at craft stores and in the craft section of places like Walmart.
  • Choose your favorite color of construction paper for the loom.
  • A larger white piece of paper as a background for the mat
  • Crayons or oil pastels
  • Watercolor paint set and brush

The Cat

  • Pictures of cats
  • Drawing paper
  • Pencils, erasers, scissors
  • Crayons to color the cat
  • White glue

Directions:

The Mat

  1. With crayons draw curvy and straight lines, dots, spirals, etc. in different colors all over the watercolor paper. Leave lots of white space for the paint. These marks have to be crayon or oil pastels.
  2. Mix several puddles of watercolor paint. Your puddle should flow, but have lots of pigment.
  3. Use a large wet but not dripping brush or rag to wet paper with clear water. The paper should be a more than just damp, but no standing water.
  4. Start adding watercolors, allowing them to flow and mix . Paint right over the crayon or oil pastel. The wax resists the paint and stays bright.
  5. Allow to dry.

The Cat  (do this while your painting dries)

  • Really study pictures of cats. Notice these details:
  • the roundish shape of heads
  •  the oval shape of bodies
  •  the rounded triangular-shaped ears that are more on top of their heads
  •  the shape are eyes and pupils
  • the thickness of tails
  • cats often wrap their tails around themselves so you can’t see their paws
  1. Before drawing, picture in your mind where the cat’s head and body will be. Use your fist to help you imagine where to put the head that will leave room for both the ears and the body.
  2. Draw lightly, sketching, so you can erase a line you don’t want.
  3. Color your cat. You may want to color it in a Tabby pattern, which is stripes in any color.
  4. Cut out your cat

The Loom and Weaving

  1. Cut the painting into 1 inch strips the long way.
  2. Make a paper loom  (See pictures)
  3. Use masking tape to temporarily hold the loom on the white paper
  4. Weave the 1st watercolor strip through the loom—under, over, under, over
  5. Start the 2nd strip the opposite–over, under, over, under
  6. In tabby weave each strip should be opposite to the previous strip
  7. Keep gently pushing the strips together and up toward the top of your loom, until you run out of room for more strips

Putting It All Together

  1. Glue your mat to the white paper
  2. Glue your cat on top of the mat
  3. Draw and color cat-related designs around the border of the mat

Now display your happy cat on its colorful mat for everyone to see! Enjoy how the crayon glows through the watercolor!

More Ideas and Tips to Make Your Cat on a Mat

Helpful Hints:

  • As you paint, pick up your paper and move it around to help colors mix
  • Don’t mix too long, or colors become muddy
  • If your painted paper curls, flatten it with a book after it’s dry
  • When drawing lines for the loom and watercolor strips, do these on the back so they don’t show later
  • Masking tape holds the loom in place but can be removed without as much damage as cellophane tape

Variations and adaptations for different ages:

  • Cut wavy lines for the loom
  • If you don’t have watercolor paper, sponge paint some sturdy paper with tempera paints
  • Add ribbon or yarn bows to your cat
  • I do this project with 1st graders, and I cut the watercolor strips and make the looms, but they love doing everything else!
  • If children aren’t sure whether they want their painting to be cut, number the strips so they can weave them in order.
  • Color your cat in wild colors

4 Vocabulary and art and design principles children will learn

  1. Crayon resist—crayon’s wax content resists water-based paints and remains bright. Oil pastels work the same way.
  2. Sketch—to draw an object with short, light strokes, sometimes lightly redrawing a line before erasing the unwanted line.
  3. Pattern—the repetition of a design. Tabby cats have a striped pattern.
  4. Tabby weave—the over and under pattern that is opposite in each row.

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

  1. Weaving helps children develop fine motor skills.
  2. Drawing helps children take time to look carefully, seeing details as well as the overall picture. Important in every subject, but especially in learning to recognize individual letters and word patterns for beginning reading.
  3. Making choices with colors, patterns, etc. enhances problem-solving skills.
  4. Making art enhances creativity and refreshes minds and eyes tired from screens.

Clean up Hints:

  • Plastic table cloth or large paper under your work
  • Paper towels
  • A plastic dish tub holds things to be washed
  • A wastebasket for paper scraps
  • After washing and rinsing brushes, reshape bristles and lay them flat to dry. Store with bristles up in a container.

Check out these Great Freebies Before You Go

Watch for a special thank you gift for our newsletter subscribers coming in early December. Molly the Artsy Corgi has some Christmas art ideas you and your children will love. These fun and easy projects will provide shared moments of calm and invite Jesus into your busy holidays. Don’t miss out. Sign up for our newsletter today!

If you sign up, you’ll right away 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 once a month more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources will come to your inbox.

Visit our website to get 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 happy cat on a mat! You can read our first post about Renoir here, and Molly and I hope you’ll come back next time for a devotion based on our cats on a mat art activity.

And finally a cute Molly Photo

She thinks she’s helping me get ready for our walk!

 

Endearing Portrait of Julie Manet and her Cat by Auguste Renoir

Auguste Renoir enjoyed painting people, and his painting of Julie Manet and her cat is an endearing portrait of the daughter of another Impressionist, Berthe Morisot. Many people choose cats as pets, but farmers need cats to keep rodents out of the livestock feed. Not many cats can be both friendly pets and pest controllers, but Maine coon cats often do both!

Fluffy, a Maine coon cat, ruled the barn on my grandparents’ Maine farm when I was a child. At nearly 25 lbs. and with long hair, a bushy tail like a racoon, and ear tufts like a wild lynx, she terrorized the mice population. But this black and gray tabby had a softer side and loved to come in and socialize with her family. She seemed as big as a dog to me, and her silky coat crackled with static when I stroked her.

Several legends surround the origin of Maine coon cats, now a popular cat breed everywhere. Old-timers claimed they were mixed with a raccoon, which is biologically impossible. Another old legend said France’s doomed queen, Marie Antoinette, planned an escape by a ship whose home port was Wiscasset, Maine. Although Marie missed the boat, her long-haired cats sailed to Maine and bred with local short-haired cats.

Most likely, sailors brought long-haired cats back from their sea voyages to places like Norway. But the legends are fun, and the Marie Antoinette tale leads nicely into this post about the French Impressionist, Renoir. Enjoy his painting of Julie Manet and the happy little cat snuggling in her arms.

What’s in this post?

  • A little about Auguste Renoir and his painting of Julie Manet
  • Helpful vocabulary
  • Understanding  the painting
  • Activities to help you and your children explore and enjoy the painting of Julie Manet and her cat
  • Don’t tell Molly, but this week’s cute picture is of my brother and me with Fluffy, the Maine coon cat! Molly will return next week!

Let’s Learn about the Artist

Pierre Auguste Renoir, self portrait, 1876, public domain

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) was born in the French city of Limoges, a center for the porcelain industry. At 13, he apprenticed as a painter in a porcelain factory and became skilled at florals. When he later studied art in Paris, he joined a group of art students who rebelled against the traditional art of their day.

The Impressionists, as they came to be called, wanted to paint landscapes and scenes of everyday life en plein air, or in the open air. They saw how light changed colors and used short brush strokes to capture those fleeting effects. Their small brushstrokes of pure colors make their paintings shimmer and leave edges looking blurry.

Renoir liked to paint people enjoying life at outdoor gatherings. His Luncheon of the Boating Party is a famous example of his happy gatherings. It also shows how the Impressionists used each other and friends and family members as their models. Almost everyone in this painting can be identified, and the woman in the left foreground with the little dog is Renoir’s future wife.

Luncheon of the Boating Party by Auguste Renoir,1880-1881, public domain

Renoir painted many single and family portraits, and Julie Manet modeled for him other times, too. Julie was used to posing for her mom and knew all the Impressionists. A few years ago her diary about growing up among these artists was published.

The Artist’s Daughter, Julie with her Nanny by Berthe Morisot,1884, Minneapolis Institute of Art, public domain

Helpful Vocabulary

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

  1. Portrait: a painting, drawing, photograph, etc. of a person, often done quite close up. The person may be looking straight forward or shown from the side–a profile. The painting Berthe Morisot and Her Daughter Julie shows both.

    Berthe Morisot and her Daughter Julie Manet by August Renoir, 1894, Musee d’Orsay, public domain

  2. Texture: how a surface would feel if touched
  3. Pattern: a repetition of a design, such as a plaid
  4. French Impressionists: a group of artists who became friends while studying art in Paris in the 1860s. They rebelled against the Paris art establishment, preferring to paint modern life and to paint outdoors. The group included 2 women, Mary Cassatt and Berthe Morisot. Many artists in other countries adopted the style.

Understanding the Painting, A Captured Moment in Time

Julie Manet with her cat, by Auguste Renoir,1887, public domain

Portraits can be very formal, with the sitter in their best clothes, like The Mona Lisa, which the Impressionist would have seen in the Louvre.

In this painting, everything—Julie’s dress with gold embroidery and the pretty pastel sofa and wallpaper—point to a formal drawing room. So . . . you might expect a formal portrait.

Instead the painting has captured a moment in time. It’s as if Renoir has just entered the room where Julie is cuddling her pet cat. And as she turns toward the artist, he takes a snapshot. The Impressionists loved to show these moments in time. Photography was still new, but it had a big effect on the Impressionists, who liked the sense of immediacy it gave to pictures.

Renoir’s subjects may be wearing their best clothes, but he usually shows them interacting with other people at a restaurant or with things that provide extra interest or tell a little about them—a musical instrument, a toy, a pet, etc.

Activities to Help You and Your Children Explore this Painting

Before doing any other activities, ask 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 adding new vocabulary.

This is a great painting to learn about portraits and what they tell us about the sitter.

  • What sort of things can you tell about Julie?
  • Do you think she’s wearing her best dress? Remember that at this time girls always wore dresses.
  • Do you think she is in her own home or the artist’s studio?
  • Does she look happy?
  • Is this a quiet or noisy painting?
  • Do you think these are good colors for this portrait? Why or why not?
  • What sort of things do you think Julie would like to do?

How would you like a portrait of you to look? Have some fun choosing clothes and other things you’d like to have in your own portrait. Tell why you’ve chosen the clothes and items. Then have some one take a photo of you and print it.

You might also find and list all the different textures and patterns in this painting. Next to each write one or two descriptive words

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, 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, You’ll also get 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 Renoir and will join us next week. We’ll be doing an art project based on his happy painting of Julie Manet and her cat. The following week will be the devotion.

 Photo of Fluffy the Main Coon Cat