Author Archives: Kathy The Picture Lady

About Kathy The Picture Lady

I am a pastor’s wife and retired Christian school teacher. After teaching elementary and middle school classes for many years, the Lord combined my teaching experience with my love of art, and I had the joy of teaching studio art and art history with a Christian emphasis to kindergartners through high school seniors. I also taught church history in high school for many years and continue to teach this to adults. This perspective adds to my thoughts about art through the ages. In addition, I am a writer, with articles and devotionals in adult and children’s publications. I grew up in Maine right on the coast, and I love the beach. When the fall storms came I loved to stand on the rocks and watch giant waves roll in to crash over the rocks and send spray high into the air. The American artist, Winslow Homer, also loved the ocean, and he spent many years painting it from his studio in the town where I grew up. When I see Homer’s paintings I can still hear the roar of the waves and recognize many of the places I love. More recently my husband and I have lived in Oklahoma and Texas, where I love to go horseback riding and watch the sunsets blaze across those wide skies. Putting these two things together, I chose Homer’s West Point, Prout’s Neck with its waves and a sunset to be the header at the top of my home page,. (Maybe when I get better at setting up my pages, I’ll include this painting by Charles Russell called Pardners!!)

Butterfly Creations, A Fun and Easy Art Activity for Creative Kids

Butterflies are colorful creations, that we like to draw or paint in our own pictures. But it’s hard to make their wings exactly the same on each side of their body. In this project you’ll have fun making a butterfly that’s colorful and also exactly the same on each side!

In this post you’ll find:

  • A supply list
  • Directions to make the butterflies
  • Clean up hints
  • Variations and extensions
  • How this activity helps children develop mentally, physically, and socially
  • A related and kid-friendly devotion


  • Sturdy paper
  • Paint in different colors
  • Markers or crayons


  1. Fold the paper in half and then reopen it.
  2. On one side of the paper only, squeeze out drops of paint where an upper wing and a lower wing would be. You may use more than one color, but don’t mix them yet.
  3. Refold your paper to cover the drops of paint.
  4. Use your fingers on top of the paper to move the paint around, swirling colors together and creating an upper and lower wing. You may need to help children move the paint outward to make wings.
  5. Open up your paper to see your colorful butterfly with identical wings on each side.
  6. Notice that this process creates veins like on a real butterfly’s wings.
  7. When dry, use crayons or markers to draw the butterfly’s body.

Variations and Extensions

  • Make smaller butterflies and use them as cards for friends and family
  • Make smaller butterflies all over large sheets of paper and use as book covers or wrapping paper
  • Cut out some smaller butterflies and use as gift tags

How this activity helps children develop mentally, physically, and socially

  • Mixing colors is fun and relaxing and teaches children to be better observers
  • Choosing colors aids problem solving skills
  • Making cards or other things to send to friends and family fosters kindness and thoughtfulness for others

Clean up hints

Use a large sheet of wax paper under your painting, because the paint often squishes out as you move it around.


Bible Verse:  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV).

Butterfly caterpillars aren’t very pretty. They crawl along plants chomping leaves, and they can’t see well at all. But when it’s time, they form a chrysalis, and God creates a beautiful new creature. He gives them new eyes to see all around, new straw-like mouths to sip nectar from flowers, and beautiful wings to soar through the sky!

Sometimes we do things we shouldn’t. We may say unkind things to friends or disobey our parents. The Bible call those things sins, and they aren’t very pretty. But God loves us so much He gave us His Son Jesus, who died so we can be forgiven for our sins. When we believe that Jesus died for us, and that God loves and watches over us, we don’t get new eyes or wings, we get something much better. God gives us a new heart that loves and wants to please Him.

If you would like to become God’s child, you just have to ask Jesus to come into your heart and forgive your sins. When you do that, you receive a new heart to follow Jesus. Like a butterfly you become a new creation, and God helps you soar to be all He has planned for you.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, thank You for giving us Your Son to die for our sins, so we can become part of Your family. How wonderful that You make us a new creation to love You and live with You forever. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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. Just click the sign-up  button above on the right. You’ll receive a free guide to making art museum visits a fun masterpiece for your whole family. Even if your family isn’t into museums, the quarterly issues have lots of fun stuff for kiddos!

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

Molly and I hope you enjoy making colorful butterflies! Our August posts will be favorite summer paintings and funny vacation photos.


Fight Summer Boredom with Fun Art Activities from Nature for Children

Have you heard the dreaded words, “I’m bored!” yet this summer?  These two links will take you to more of my summer activities to fight summer boredom!

Guest Post

I guest posted on a great parenting blog this week called In the Quiver. Click here to read Turn Treasures from God’s Creation into Art Masterpieces for art projects made from all those things like rocks and shells and sticks, that children love to collect.

My Newsletter

And If you haven’t yet signed up for my newsletter, I hope you will, because not only will you receive a fun guide to visiting museums with children (and living through it!!)  but each newsletter has loads of free fun ideas to enjoy art, history, and nature with your children. And I’ll make sure you get the most recent newsletter about making a nature pyramid for weaving. Don’t wait, sign up here.

Molly says, “Come visit us next week for another fun and easy art activity for creative kids,

A Fun and Easy Art Activity for Creative Kids: Design a Roller Coaster

Roller coasters are designed for thrills, and now you can design and make your very own 3-D roller coaster in this Fun and Easy art activity. You can even put you and your friends or family in the very first car! In this post you’ll find:

  • Supply list
  • Step-by-step directions
  • Clean-up tips
  • Variations and Adaptations to Include and Challenge Various Ages
  • 2 Ways this Activity Aids Mental, Physical, and Social Development
  • A Kid-friendly Devotion

Let’s get started!

Supply List

  • Cardboard for a base
  • Paper in all colors (use colorful papers left from other projects)
  • White glue (glue sticks may not hold)
  • Scissors
  • Markers or crayons

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. Glue a plain colored paper on top of the cardboard base
  2. Cut other papers into strips of various colors and sizes (these can have straight, wavy, or even spiky edges)
  3. On plain strips you may wish to make designs with markers or crayons
  4. Put glue on ends of strips and start arranging these in loops all over the cardboard base (see photos)
  5. Make a small rectangular box or boxes for roller coaster cars (see photos)
  6. Cut small strips of paper the width of the car and draw people on these (give them different facial expressions and hair dos)
  7. Fold the bottom end of these strips under, add glue, and glue into the car (see photo)
  8. Glue the car to the top of a loop or on the way down a loop

Clean-up Tips

  • Wax paper under the strips as you add glue keeps the strips from sticking, AND makes clean up quick and easy.
  • A plastic dish tub for scraps also aids quick clean up

Variations and Adaptations to Include and Challenge Various Ages

  • Younger children may need strips cut for them and a short demo of how to make the loops.
  • Young children will need more help with the box car and people, but be sure to let them draw the people!
  • All children may need a reminder to hold each piece in place for a moment until the glue sets a little
  • For more challenge, use a larger base and make your roller coaster much larger
  • Use cardstock for stiffer loops
  • Connect the loops as if a roller coaster car could really travel on it
  • Make multiple cars
  • Use actual photographs of you and family or friends in the cars

2 Ways this Activity Aids Mental, Physical, and Social Development

  1. Learning to use scissors is an important skill for young children
  2. Making color and design choices helps enhance creativity and encourages children of all ages to learn to problem solve

A Kid-friendly Devotion

Higher and higher the roller coaster climbs. As it teeters on the top, people hold their breath. Then wooosh, down it rushes, and everyone raises their arms and screams!  

Have you ever been on a roller coaster?

How did you feel?  Excited? Scared?

Sometimes life is like a roller coaster ride. Everything is going along smoothly, and then woosh, your family moves, a new baby arrives, or your best friend gets angry with you.

Was there a time you felt as if you were on a roller coaster?

Were those rushing changes scary?  Did you feel sad or lonely?

Sometimes Jesus felt sad and rushed. In Mark 6:29-46 we learn that when His cousin, John the Baptist, was killed, Jesus and the disciples were sad and tired. But people still crowded around. Jesus and the disciples didn’t even have time to eat!

When they tried to get away, crowds followed them. Finally, that night Jesus sent the crowd away. He even told His disciples to leave in the boat.

Wow, Jesus was all alone. But was He?

No, He knew His Father was there. So Jesus climbed up the mountainside to talk to Him. He trusted His Father to give Him comfort and strength to continue the rush of His earthly ministry.

When changes rush at you and you’re scared, Jesus promises you can talk to Him just like that. Jesus is with you and will never leave you (Deuteronomy 31:8), and He will comfort and strengthen you.

And when you are sad or lonely, remember Jesus will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).

Prayer: Dear Jesus, we know you sometimes felt sad and tired, so you understand just how we feel. Thank you that we can come and talk to You about these things, and You will comfort and strengthen us. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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. Just click the sign-up  button above on the right. You’ll receive a free guide to making art museum visits a fun masterpiece for your whole family. Even if your family isn’t into museums, the quarterly issues have lots of fun stuff for kiddos!

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

Our last post used zigzag and curved lines for ocean waves, and so does the roller coaster, so on  a recent walk, Molly posed with zigzag shadows! Molly and I hope you enjoyed making a roller coaster. Sign up to receive our posts by email, and don’t miss a fun and easy, AND  squishy paint activity!



Sailing Over the Bounding Waves, A Fun and Easy Art Activity for Creative Kids

Sailboats skimming over a lake or breezing through ocean waves are colorful parts of summer. In this art activity you’ll make a mixed media, 3-D project with waves and boats that look like you could sail away in to catch the cool summer breezes!

In this post you’ll find:

  • Supply list
  • Step-by-step directions
  • Helpful hints
  • Clean-up tips
  • Adaptations for various ages
  • Variations to extend the activity or make it more challenging
  • 6 ways the activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development
  • A short kid-friendly devotion
  • AND as always pictures of Molly, the Artsy Corgi!

Supply list:

  • Sturdy white paper for the waves and for the background paper
  • Tempera paint for the waves—blue, green, and purple
  • Watercolor paints for the sky on the background paper
  • Large brushes
  • Colored paper or cardstock for the sailboats
  • White glue—glue sticks aren’t strong enough for this project
  • Scissors

Step-by-step directions:

I’ve divided the directions for this mixed-media activity into 4 parts to make it easier to understand, and because each part needs some drying time. Each part only takes 15 to 20 minutes depending on individuals. Each section takes more time to explain than to do!!

Part A: Creating the ocean waves

  1. Put largish puddles of blue, green, and purple tempera paint on a paper plate or a plastic tray. Don’t worry if they get mixed.
  2. With a large, flat brush paint these colors across the paper from one side to the other.
  3. Don’t try to fill in every little space.
  4. Don’t clean the brush between colors.
  5. Do mix colors together on the paper as you add new ones.
  6. Have fun and paint in a slappy,dappy manner, letting your brush stokes show.
  7. Set aside to dry. When dry you may need to flatten it under some books.
  8. When the tempera paint is completely dry, slowly tear across the painting to create jagged strips of ocean waves.
  9. Don’t tear quickly, make zig zag dips and points like waves.
  10. Don’t cut these—tearing creates the white edges that look like foam on breaking waves.

Part B: Creating the sky

  1. Mix up largish puddles of water color paints in whatever sky colors you’d like. I chose a couple blues and a yellow.
  2. With clean water and a large brush, wet your background paper. Don’t soak it—just give it a light sheen.
  3. Paint and drop in your sky colors in various places and allow these to mix freely. Move the paper around to let the colors flow into each other.
  4. Don’t worry about leaving some white–these can be cloudy areas.
  5. Set aside to dry.
  6. When dry you may need to flatten it under some books.

Part C: Create the sailboats while the waves and sky dry

  1. Cut and glue together sailboats of various sizes out of colored paper (look at the pictures for ideas)  Cardstock paper is stiffer and will stand up better, but you can use a double layer of colored paper.
  2. Set aside to dry.

Part D: Putting it all together

  1. Choose where the ocean will meet the sky and lay a strip of ocean waves across the sky background. Have the white edge of the strip uppermost.
  2. Do not glue yet.
  3. Overlap more strips of waves across each other until you reach the bottom of the background paper. Work with these until you have a number of layers of waves and colors, always keeping the torn white edge showing.
  4. To begin gluing, pick up just the bottom strip and put a line of glue along its bottom edge. Then place it down so its edges are even with the bottom edge of the background paper.
  5. Pick up the next strip, add a line of glue along its bottom edge, and tuck it under the strip you just glued.
  6. Repeat this with each strip until you reach the point where you want the sky to show.
  7. By not gluing down the tops of the waves, you now have waves that stand out and look more real.
  8. Decide where you want the boats to be and put just a line of glue along the hull. Then tuck the boat down into the waves.

Ahoy there, matey! Now you can enjoy your easy, breezy ocean picture to send to a friend or put up on the fridge!!

Helpful Hints:

  • It takes quite a bit of tempera paint for the wild ocean wave paper.
  • When you mix your watercolors for the sky, start with a puddle of clean water for each color and add enough pigment to make your colors bright. Remember that watercolors fade as they dry, and when mixed wet-in-wet, they get diluted even more.
  • You may want to tilt the boats so they look like they’re riding the waves.
  • To give your picture a sense of depth, put larger boats up closer than smaller boats.
  • Try curling the flags around a pencil first so they look like they’re flapping in the wind.

Clean up Tips:

  • Use an old plastic table cloth under your work.
  • Use wax paper under the tempera wave painting and your watercolor background. That way you can paint right over the edges on both sides and not worry about cleanup.
  • Use wax paper under the sailboats as you assemble them with glue. They’ll peel right off.
  • Have a plastic dish tub handy for all paper trash.
  • If using plastic containers for paint, use the brushes to clean these under running water. The containers get clean, and your brushes may only need a little more cleaning.
  • But brushes that have had tempera paint need soap and water. Put a little liquid soap in your palm and swirl the brush around. You’ll be amazed how much more paint comes out. Rinse well and dry flat.

Adaptations for various ages

  • Once the papers and paints are prepared for the waves and the sky, little ones should only need a little demonstration to be able to enjoy doing these 2 parts.
  • Little ones will need more help tearing the waves, making the boats, and assembling the scene, but use your judgement about your children. And remember to let them create as much as possible. It doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s.

Variations to extend the activity or make it more challenging

  • Instead of watercolor, use blue paper for the background and cut out paper clouds or dab clouds on with white paint and cotton balls.
  • Instead of blues for the sky, use blacks (these will be gray to black, depending on how much water is added) to make a stormy sky. Add lightning zigzags with yellow tempera paint or marker when the water color is dry.
  • Make different kinds of boats, such as cruise ships, navy ships, tugboats, etc.
  • Go online and find directions to make origami sailboats.
  • Follow this link to Winslow Homer’s famous painting, Breezing Up, a painting of ocean waves and sailboats and enjoy together.

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

  1. Using paint brushes and scissors helps children develop fine motor skills.
  2. Discussing their own art and/or the painting, Breezing Up, builds vocabulary and social skills.
  3. Discussing zig zag lines and places you may see these (as in the letters A, K, M, N, R, V, W, Y, and Z) will help young children become more observant of small differences—helpful in learning letters and in reading.
  4. This art activity also helps children develop visual/spatial skills, which is important in learning to interpret photos, graphs, maps, etc.
  5. When children make choices in creating art, it enhances problem-solving skills.
  6. Creating art enhances creativity and refreshes minds and eyes from all those screens.

A short kid-friendly devotion about when Jesus calmed the storm:

Jesus and His disciples were in a fishing boat when a big storm came up.

Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. the disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord save us! We’re going to drown!” (Matthew 8: 24-25 NIV)

Then he [Jesus] got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm (Matthew 8:26 NIV).

  1. Have you ever been in a boat and felt it rocking on the waves? Did you feel a little afraid?
  2. But we don’t have to be in a boat in a storm to feel afraid. What are some things that make you afraid?
  3. When Jesus awoke, He spoke to the wind and the waves, and they became completely calm right away! Jesus was with the disciples, AND He was completely in control of the storm!
  4. God is in control of everything! He holds the sea and the mountains in the palm of His hand (Isaiah 40:12). He is mightier than the waves of the sea! (Psalm 89:9)
  5. When we’re afraid and call out to Jesus as the disciples did, we can trust that He is always with us to calm our fears and that He is in control of what’s happening. Memorizing this verse may help you remember God loves you, is with you, and He is always in control:

One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving. Psalm 62:11-12a

These verses may be helpful, too:

  • Psalm 139:9-10
  • Joshua 1:9
  • Psalm 4:8
  • Psalm 23:4
  • Psalm 62:1-2
  • Hebrews 13:6

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, that we can always run to You when we’re afraid. We praise You that nothing is outside Your control, and we know You’ll understand and help us, because You love us. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Molly, the Artsy Corgi

In this activity we made zig zag lines for the waves. In our last art activity we made lots of circles, and Molly decided to get in on the fun! Here she is sitting in the middle of a hula hoop after some lessons on jumping through it!

And here she is all tired out from jumping through the hoop.

But You don’t have to jump through hoops and get all tired out to have even more summer fun!!  Sign up to receive these posts by email.

AND If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to click the button to sign up for my newsletter, and receive a free guide to making art museum visits a fun masterpiece for your whole family! Sign up now and you’ll be all set to receive my summer newsletter, with lots of ideas for summer fun–inside and outside!

Visit my all-new website to get free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages and coloring pages for kids and see an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.











Circles of Fun, A Fun and Easy Art Activity for Creative Kids

School is out, but before you and your children jump into summer activities, take some time to wind down together. Enjoy sleeping in. Soak up some sun. Watch clouds sail overhead. And try this Fun and Easy Art Activity for Creative Kids, called Circles of Fun.

It doesn’t take many materials or time, and it’s neat enough for indoor fun—have I said fun enough? It also encourages some quiet creativity, without screens!

Circles of Fun is a printing project, simple enough for preschoolers, but with a few variations and suggestions, can easily challenge older children.

The only thing you need to think ahead about is to save cardboard tubes!!

In this post you’ll find 6 things:

  1. Supply list
  2. Step-by-step directions for the activity
  3. Easy clean-up tips
  4. 8 Variations to extend the activity or make it more challenging
  5. 4 Ways the activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development
  6. A short kid-friendly devotion

Supply List

  • Paper
  • Paint (tempera or acrylic; watercolors won’t work well)
  • Paper plates or recycled plastic containers for paint puddles
  • Cardboard tubes
  • Crayons or markers
  • Find other circular-shaped items around the house, such as pencil erasers, bottle caps, glue stick covers, etc.


  1. Spread thin puddles of different colors of paint around your plates or plastic containers
  2. Set cardboard tube up in each paint puddle
  3. Demonstrate how to go up and down with the tubes on their paper—explain that they are printing, not painting


Some children like everything very orderly, while others like to mix things up. No one way is correct or better. Some children will want to return each tube to its color before changing to a new color, but if they end up mixing colors on one tube, that’s an opportunity to see color blends and talk about how that happens.

If you have children of both types, try this solution to prevent arguments: provide a separate plain container for used tubes. As these dry they can be used again, and since cardboard tubes are pretty abundant, provide a stash of new ones, too.

Okay, Let ‘em loose! Have fun!

Easy Clean Up Tips

  • Put an old plastic tablecloth down to collect spills
  • Have paper towels and wipes handy to wipe fingers
  • Have an old plastic container, such as a dish-washing tub to dump all disposables in
  • Use cheap paper plates for the paint puddles and then toss

8 Variations to extend the activity or make it more challenging

  1. Suggest children see how many circles they can make before the color gets too faint. Ask which they like better—the bright colors or those that are lighter.
  2. If you have large enough stamp pads, children can try these instead of paint. Neater, but not as bright:)
  3. Create a pattern of different size circles or colors and encourage younger children to repeat your pattern.
  4. Use crayons or markers to color in the various shapes created by the overlapping circles. Whenever they cross a line, they must change colors. They could use all the colors or just cool or warm colors. I dare you to stop, once you start this!!!
  5. Use some of the circles to create people or animal faces.
  6. Use circles to create things, such as a caterpillar or a bike.
  7. Use the cardboard tubes and other circular objects to create designs and patterns.
  8. Print the random circles or designs on large sheets of paper and use as wrapping paper for presents.

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

  1. Circles of Fun helps develop visual/spatial skills and how to understand and use visual information—important in learning to interpret photos, graphs, maps, etc.
  2. When children make choices in creating art, it enhances problem-solving skills.
  3. Discussing their choices builds vocabulary and social skills.
  4. Children improve fine motor skills as they print up and down.

A Short Kid-Friendly Devotion

When you printed your circle masterpieces, you probably printed many to overlap or cross over each other to make interconnected designs. Sometimes at home or school, we’re part of a group playing a game or working on a project. God created us to enjoy these special times with family and friends.

But brothers and sisters and friends may disagree about how to play a game or how to complete a project. How does that make everyone feel? What can we do when that happens?

In the Bible, God has given us the very best way to get along with others and settle arguments so everyone can have fun. He tells us we are to love each other (John 13:34-35). God also wants us to treat others the way we want to be treated (Matthew 7:12).

  1. What are some ways you can show love to brothers, sisters, and friends when you disagree about something?
  2. What are some ways you could treat your brother, sister, or friend when you have a disagreement? Would you like them to listen to what upset you?

Prayer: Thank you, Lord for giving us our friends and family. Please help us love them and treat them the way we want to be treated. In Jesus’ name, amen.


Molly and I were soaking up some sun this week, and we found a sprinkler just her size. She didn’t want to drink from it, but she cooled off as she bobbed for cheerios! What kinds of fun do you enjoy with friends and family in the summer?

Before You Go

To receive these posts by email, sign up above and join the summer fun!

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to click the button to sign up for my newsletter, and receive a free guide to making art museum visits a fun masterpiece for your whole family!

Visit my all-new website to get free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages and coloring pages for kids and see an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.

The American Cemetery above Omaha Beach in Normandy

When we visited France a couple years ago I took this photo of a small part of the American cemetery above Omaha Beach where, on D-Day in WWII, so many Americans gave their lives to preserve freedom for us and help bring freedom back to parts of Europe.

Over 9,000 crosses and stars of David stretch across the green hillside that was once a battleground. Seeing the beaches and the cemetery reminded me of all those throughout our history who have fought to preserve freedom and dignity for all.

We must also never forget all those first responders and the health care workers who have helped us through the terrible covid pandemic.

I hope you’ll join me on this Memorial Day, to remember and thank God for all those who have served and given their lives in the military and as first responders to keep the peace and protect us here at home and overseas.

This is a link to an earlier post of mine that has a tribute to my Dad who had just passed away. Although he had to get permission from his parents because he was only 17, he enlisted in the navy in WWII and served in the Pacific.

Fun and Easy Painting of Sheep in a Pasture

Let’s do a fun and easy painting of sheep enjoying a day out in the pasture.

Previous posts this month included Jean-Francois Millet’s painting, The Sheepfold, Moonlight, which is about the Good Shepherd bringing His sheep to safety for the night. Go here to see that post with its related devotion:

Then on Tuesday of this last week I did an interview with children’s author, Laura Sassi, who has a sweet picture-book retelling of the lost sheep. If you missed it, you can go here.

This kid’s painting project is about when the Shepherd leads His sheep out to safely graze under His watchful care.

It makes a cute picture of sheep in a pasture and perfectly illustrates Psalm 100: 3, “…we are His people, the sheep of His pasture.”

The project can be done in 2 short activity times. Do part A and let the paint dry; then come back to finish with part B.


  • 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.
  2. Fold over pieces of masking tape to stick the “clouds” to your white construction paper (you’ll be removing these so don’t stick them heavily—one piece per cloud, and don’t use regular, mailing, or duct tape)
  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. Remove cloud shapes
  2. With pencil draw heads, ears, and legs (I use pencil first so I remember the eyes)
  3. Color these in with black marker or crayon

Use other marker or crayon colors to make flowers. Or use your finger dipped in other colors to print the petals.

Molly and I hope you enjoyed making this painting of happy sheep grazing safely in a meadow that illustrates Psalm 100:3!Next month Molly and I begin our summer series of twice monthly fun and easy art projects!! Molly and I hope you’ll join us for some summer fun!

Before You Go

To receive these posts by email, sign up above and join the fun!

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to click the button to sign up for my newsletter, and receive a free guide to making art museum visits a fun masterpiece for your whole family!

Visit my all-new website to get free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages and coloring pages for kids and see an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.

Interview with Children’s Author, Laura Sassi and Illustrator, Tommy Doyle

This week I’d like you to meet children’s book author, Laura Sassi. I know you’ll enjoy getting to know Laura and hearing all about her latest picture book, Little Ewe. After an adventurous day, Little Ewe is lost and afraid. You and your Little Ones will love the rhyming and counting text and finding out who rescues Little Ewe.

You’ll also meet Tommy Doyle, the illustrator of Little Ewe.

Welcome, Laura and Tommy! We’d love to get to know you and hear about your latest picture book, Little Ewe.

Laura, Please tell us a little about yourself and how you began writing. Did you write as a child?

Laura: I began my career as a fourth grade teacher. Not surprisingly, my favorite subjects were reading and writing. But when I wasn’t teaching, I was always writing in my journal and playing around with words.

Actually, I’d been writing in journals ever since I was a a kid. As soon as could hold a pencil and spell (sort of), I started writing poetry and stories on my own. How do I know this? I know because my parents sent me a box full of papers and notebooks from my childhood including limericks, riddles, and silly rhyming snippets – all proof that I’ve loved playing with language for a very long time.

But being a very practical young woman, I didn’t at first consider pursuing a career in writing. It wasn’t until my children came along and I took time off from teaching that it dawned on me that there was a place, and maybe even a need, for a writer like me.  That’s when I took the plunge and began writing in earnest.  And what did I like writing best?  Humorous rhyming stories and poems. And, now with five books out and another set to release next spring, and oodles of poems and stories published in various children’s magazines, I’m still at it and loving every moment.

Laura, it’s wonderful that even as a child you were writing stories and poems! What’s your favorite childhood memory?

Laura: I grew up in a family of readers. Indeed, some of my favorite earliest memories include sitting in my mother’s lap while she read to me from A.A. Milne’s When We Were Very Young. I loved the rhythmic rhyming sound of Milne’s poems and memorized several, quite by accident, because I asked my mother to read them to me so often. I’ve carried the rhyming beat of those poems with me ever since. In fact, I think it’s one of the reasons I became a writer!

What was your favorite thing to do as a child?

Laura: I loved lots of things – most of which involved using my imagination. These included quiet things like writing, drawing, and reading.  I also loved to build imaginary play worlds where, using my imagination, my friends and I went on many adventures!  Many of these adventures were sparked by the books we read including the Little House on the Prairie series and countless others.

Using our imaginations is so important for all of us, and God has given each of us the  gift of imagination! What sorts of things do you like to do for fun today?

Laura: I like to read and write and create things. (So you see, I am still using my imagination!) I also enjoy going on long walks with husband and laughing over the dinner table with my family. I also love, love, love, connecting with readers through school visits and other book events.

Indeed you are! As an author you must use your imagination as you create and write. What was the inspiration for Little Ewe?

Laura:  Little Ewe is inspired by one of my favorite of Jesus’ parables. The parable is about a shepherd who realizes one sheep is missing and so he leaves the flock to find that one and bring it safely home.  As a child I loved this beautiful reminder that, like the shepherd in the parable, Jesus came to find the lost and, oh my, how wonderful it feels to be found. My hope is that, like Little Ewe in my story, readers of all ages will sense the comfort and joy of knowing that our Shepherd, too, wants to find us and care for us when we are lost.

That is such a beautiful parable about God’s love and care for us. And what fun that you wrote it in rhyme! What do you enjoy most about writing in rhyme? Is it hard? What’s your process?

Laura:  I’ve always enjoyed the sound of words and making meaningful patterns with those sounds using rhythm and rhyme, but I think what I love most about writing in rhyme is the challenge of  being creative within a set structure.  To flow smoothly and be pleasing to the ear, the piece must have a consistent form both for the rhythm and for the rhyme.  My poems and stories in verse tend to follow an AABB or ABAB rhyme scheme and I’ve used a variety of meters. The important thing is not so much which pattern I choose for the rhythm and rhyme, but sticking with it.

The fun comes in finding creative ways to express myself within that structure. I do this by playing with plot, character development, and word choice until the piece shines. Done right, writing in verse enhances a story – making it extra pleasing to young ears. Achieving this, however, requires lots of revision. And by lots, I mean 30+ (for me) rounds! And that’s exactly what I do, until the story flows smoothly and is the best it can be.

All your extra work really does shine through. And Little Ewe is not only a rhyming book, but a counting book. What inspired you to do that?

Laura: One of my favorite aspects of Jesus’ parable was that the shepherd left the 99 to find that one lost sheep. That counting aspect really resonated with me, so I knew early on that I wanted my story to have a numeric climb. However, I didn’t want it to be the typical counting book where readers just look for objects on the page that don’t necessarily relate to the plot. Rather, I wanted the counting in Little Ewe to be an integral part of the story, helping to escalate the tension as Little Ewe wanders farther and farther from Shepherd and to conjure feelings of comfort when she is found. I hope readers will agree it adds a rich dimension to the story.

The counting aspect makes reading Little Ewe even more fun! What suggestions would you give parents or grandparents to help children enjoy your books?

Laura: Just reading and talking about the story is a wonderful way to enjoy my books.  For Little Ewe, they might also enjoy the activities I created an activity kit, available for free download. Here’s the link:

Your activity kit sounds like lots of fun. Thank you for sharing a link to it.

I know my readers would love to hear about your other books. Can you tell us a little about these?

Laura: I am the author of five picture books including the best-selling Goodnight, Ark, which was a 2015 Christian Book Award Finalist; Goodnight, MangerDiva Delores and the Opera House Mouse, which won First Honor Book for the 2019 Best in Rhyme Award; Love Is Kind, which was a 2020 Anna Dewdney Read Together Award Honor Book; and, of course, Little Ewe: The Story of One Lost Sheep. My next book, Bunny Finds Easter, will release in 2022. You can learn all about them in the Books section of my blog:

What wonderful books for little ones! What would you like children to take away from your books?

Laura: All my books share themes of love, kindness and comfort.  Through the reading and enjoyment of each story, my hope is that children will know that, just like Little Ewe, in my newest book, or any of the characters in the other books, they are loved and cherished. It is also my hope that they will grow to love the wonderful sense of belonging, connecting and bonding that comes when parent (or grandparent) and child sit and read together.

I’m sure parents or grandparents and children will love connecting over your books and their important themes. What advice would you give young people who might like to become writers?

Laura: Read, read, read!  Write, write, write! Revise, revise, revise!

That is sooo important! Where can readers learn more about you and your upcoming projects?

Laura: Readers can learn more about me on my blog and various social media outlets.  Here are the links:

And where can readers find your books?

Laura:  Amazon, Barnes & Noble and wherever books are sold!

And now, let’s talk with Tommy Doyle about his creative and colorful illustrations for Little Ewe. Children will love these illustrations and finding all the things and creatures to count.

Tommy, what part of illustrating do you enjoy the most?

Tommy: I get to be my own boss and manage my schedule as I wish. I find it helps having a better work life balance. I enjoy being home with my pooch, playing music, and create a space where I can be as creative as I want without any disruption.

That’s a super great recipe for creativity! What medium did you use for the illustrations of Little Ewe?

Tommy: My work is all digital. The sketching part is done on the iPad pro and the colouring is executed in Photoshop with all sorts of different brushes that each create a specific effect or texture.

That sounds like lots of fun. What advice to you have for young people who may be interested in art and illustrating?

Tommy: Keep illustrating. Everyone has bad days where it just doesn’t feel right. That’s ok, it helps you reflect on where you are versus where you want to be. It takes time to develop yourself. If you keep working hard, it will eventually pay off.

What great advice!

Thank you, Laura and Tommy, for taking the time to share about the creation of Little Ewe. I’ve have really enjoyed it! And I know parents and grandparents will love snuggling with their children and grandchildren over this delightful picture book!

Molly is on vacation this week so her fur cousin, Paisley, curled up and loved reading Little Ewe!

Before you Go

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, and book reviews, be sure to click the button to sign up for my newsletter., and receive a free guide to making art museum visits a fun masterpiece for your whole family!

Visit my all-new website to get free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages and coloring pages for kids and see an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.



Jean-Francois Millet, French Realist Painter of Ordinary People

Jean-Francoise Millet spent his youth doing the ordinary work of farming—plowing, sowing, cutting hay, and harvesting. Even when he later studied art and moved to Paris, he never forgot his roots, eventually leaving Paris to settle his family in a rural area. There Millet painted scenes of rural life, such as

The Angelus, by Jean-Francois Millet, Musee D’Orsay, public doma

The Angelus and The Sower, which are beloved paintings today.

The sower by Jean Francois Millet, public domain







The painting we’re going to look at isn’t as well-known as those, but I think you’ll love it and its spiritual emphasis, too!

The post includes:

  • Getting to Know Jean-Francois Millet and the Realist art movement
  • Looking at The Sheepfold, Moonlight, (includes helpful vocabulary)
  • Choosing Activities to Help You and Your Children Further Explore the Painting
  • Going Deeper to Discover What God Can Teach Us Through this Painting

Getting to Know Jean-Francois Millet, Realist painter

Jean Francois Millet, photo by Nadir, public domain

Born in 1814, the oldest son of a peasant family in rural Normandy, France, Millet spent his youth working on the family farm. When he was 19, he began studying with area artists, and in 1837 moved to Paris for further study.

Millet and several artist friends became more interested in painting landscapes and everyday life than portraits and historical events. They found inspiration in the landscapes of 17th century Dutch artists, such as Jacob van Ruisdael,

View of Naarden by Jacob van Ruisdael, public domain

and the contemporary landscapes of English artist, John Constable

The Hay Wain by John Constable, public domain

(for more about John Constable, see this first of a series of my posts about him).

These young French artists, working around the mid 1800s, became known as Realists, because they didn’t idealize the people and places they painted. The group is also sometimes called the Barbizon School, because many painted near Barbizon, a rural village on the edge of the Forest of Fontainebleau, 30 miles southeast of Paris. (An artistic school isn’t a building, but a group of artists who often know each other, may paint together, and have similar artistic goals and/or styles)

The Realists were among the first to paint outside (en plein air). They loved nature and tried to observe and paint it accurately. Their work made landscapes an acceptable subject for art in France, inspiring and paving the way for the Impressionists at the end of the century. They also influenced later artists of America’s Hudson River School.

Autumn on the Hudson, Jasper Cropsey, public domain

(Look here for my first post in a series about one Hudson River School artist)

Many Realist artists painted near Barbizon just in the summer. But following violence in Paris in the 1840s and an outbreak of cholera, Millet moved his family to Barbizon, where he spent the rest of his life.

In his much-loved paintings, The Sower and The Angelus, we see how Millet understood the importance of farming and gave farm workers dignity and a heroic quality, once only used for great historical figures. Millet had a huge influence on the work of Vincent van Gogh.

Millet”s The Sower, 1850

The sower by Jean Francois Millet, public domain

Van Gogh’s Sower at Sunset, 1888

Sower at Sunset by Vincent van Gogh, public domain


Looking at The Sheepfold, Moonlight by Jean-Francois Millet

The Sheepfold, Moonlight by Jean-Francois Millet, public domain

In this nocturnal, scene we see a shepherd directing his sheep into a pen on a wide plain near the village of Barbizon. Our vantage point is up close, just in front of the sheep. Millet typically paints his main characters up close and large.

Go here to the painting at the Walters Art Museum to look at an enlarged picture.

Beyond the shepherd and sheep in the foreground, the plain stretches away to the horizon. There’s no middle ground, and a good half of this painting is sky. Showing so much sky emphasizes the large plain and highlights the brilliant moon and its light effects. Notice that the sky is blue, not black as it might be later in the night.

It’s the end of the day. Twilight deepens, the moon rises over the plain, and the shepherd brings his flock home for the night. Much of the painting is in shadow, but see how the moonlight shines on the underside of the clouds and the backs of the sheep.

Also notice how the shepherd and his staff are silhouetted against the sky as he holds the gate open for the sheep to enter. Two dogs are next to him to help funnel the sheep into the pen.

Helpful Vocabulary

  • Realist—true to what is seen
  • Nocturnal—night time scene
  • Vantage point—where the viewer would be standing in the painting
  • Foreground—front of a painting
  • Middle ground—the middle of a painting
  • Horizon—where the land or sea and the sky meet
  • Silhouette—when a figure shows in dark outline against a lighter background

Choosing Activities to Help You and Your Children Further Explore the Painting

Before doing any other activities, ask children to tell what’s going on in the painting and what tells them that.

  1. This is a great painting to talk about mood and how an artist creates that.
  2. What is the mood of this painting? Do all those shadows make it mysterious? A little scary? Are there colors, shapes, lines, etc. that make you think that?
  3. If this were the opening scene of a movie, what do you think might happen next?
  4. What music might you hear during this opening scene?

You may also enhance children’s observational and verbal skills, as well as their imaginations with the following questions:

  1. What things tell you that the sheep are entering the pen, not leaving?
  2. How does a shepherd’s dogs help him?
  3. Why would the shepherd keep the sheep in a pen for the night?
  4. If we were in the painting, where would we be standing?
  5. What sounds might we hear?
  6. What colors do you see in the sky?
  7. What things are in shadow?
  8. Which things are lit by moonlight?
  9. Do the sheep look tired?

Going Deeper to Discover What God Can Teach Us through the Painting

This painting can help you explore with children an important way the Bible often talks about the relationship between God and us, and his loving and wise care of us. Psalm 23 says,” the Lord is my Shepherd,” and Psalm 100 says, “we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.”

Now let’s look again at The Sheepfold, Moonlight painting. It’s the end of a long day. The sheep look tired, and the sky is dark. Clouds may tell of a coming storm. Thick shadows surround the sheep pen.

The Sheepfold, Moonlight by Jean-Francois Millet, public domain

  1. Do you think the sheep would be afraid of those shadows?
  2. What dangers may lurk in the nighttime shadows surrounding the sheep? (wolves, thieves, rocky cliffs, scary storms with thunder and lightning could scatter the sheep and hurt them)
  3. Do you sometimes get frightened at night?
  4. What are some things that make you afraid?

Now look at who is silhouetted against the sky. It’s the shepherd with his staff. In Psalm 23:4 David says, “I will fear no evil for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

The shepherd is taking care of his sheep. He has led them home for the night and is guiding them into the safety of a pen that will hug around them—it’s called a sheepfold.

See how the shepherd is holding the gate open for the sheep to go in. He opens the gate, so the sheep can enter the safety of the pen. In John 10 Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate of the sheep . . . I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved” (John 10:8,9).

During the night, the shepherd will sleep across the gateway to protect his sheep from danger, and will even give his life for his sheep. “The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11).

We are like those sheep—sometimes we become frightened of dangers that could hurt us. But Jesus is our Good Shepherd. He loves us and he gave his life, so we could become part of his flock. We can rest, knowing he will watch over us and never leave us, keeping us safe in his very own sheepfold.

Let’s thank Jesus for being our loving and wise Good Shepherd!

Prayer  Thank you, Jesus, that when we run to you, you will guide us and open the gate for us to enter your sheepfold. There we will be part of your flock and be safe forever. In your name, we pray. Amen.

(All verses are from the New International Version of the Bible)

Molly and I hope you’ll come back for our next post of a cute art project about sheep!

But 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 click the button to sign up for my newsletter., and receive a free guide to making art museum visits a fun masterpiece for your whole family!

Visit my all-new website to get free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages and coloring pages for kids and see an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.



And the Winner Is…

Congratulations to Beverly, who is the winner of the drawing from those who voted in our Cutest Pug Picture Contest.

Jean will be in touch with you, Beverly, to see which book from her Zuggy, the Rescue Pug series you’d like and the best way to send it to you.

Thank you to all of you who voted.  The pug with Santa hat and glasses picture received the most votes!

Santa hat

Before You Go

1. Our next post is the first in a series about the art of Jean-Francois Millet, the artist who painted The Angelus, and The Sower. I love these, but the painting we’ll look at may be unknown to you. I guarantee, you’ll love it, though! This series will continue with a related art activity and another children’s book author interview. Be sure to sign up to follow and receive these posts by email.

2. Are you going on vacation somewhere this summer? Consider visiting an art museum. But before you do, be sure to sign up on the button above to receive my freebie about how to make art museum visits fun for the whole family. You’ll also receive free newsletters  (just 4 each year) with links and more activities.

3. visit my website for free downloadables for children