Category Archives: Uncategorized

Make a Colorful Painting of Fall Leaves to Hang on Your Fridge

Winter may be coming, but your children can make a colorful fall painting to hang on your fridge to brighten wintry days ahead.

In this project children will:

  • Learn how to draw a tree
  • Have fun mixing yellows and reds to make orange; reds and blues to make burgundy. They can discover that adding a little brown to yellow gives them a golden color.
  • Choose and experiment with different tools that are easy for little hands to use.

And this art activity can help your children in other areas of learning, because:

  • Opportunities to make choices with color and tools, as in this activity, enhances problem-solving skills.
  • Discussing their choices as they work aids in vocabulary and conversational skills.

Supplies

  • Red, yellow, blue, brown, and green tempera paint and containers for mixing paint
  • blue and green construction paper (for the variation explained below, you’ll need purple and a darker blue)
  • markers or crayons
  • pencils
  • scissors
  • glue stick or white glue
  • round brushes, clothespins to hold cotton balls, Q-tips held together with a rubber band, and small pieces of damp sponge

Directions

  1. For the background cut a wavy piece of green paper and glue it to the bottom of the blue paper. This is the foreground on which the tree stands.
  2. For the tree use a pencil to draw a simple Y tree. You can see this in the photo. On the left is a tree of single lines, each branch formed by the letter Y. In the tree on the left you can see how those lines are thickened to form the tree.
  3. Color the tree with crayons or markers using different browns, grays, and even a little black. Add some greens below to suggest grass.
  4. Mix the paint in shallow containers.  
  5. Let your children try different tools on scrap paper first to discover the different effects they will get. Sometimes the marks will look better after dabbing on scrap paper first.
  6. After they have experimented, they can paint colorful fall leaves all over the branches of the trees and falling onto the ground below.

Helpful Hints: If possible, before starting this project, go outside and look closely at some trees to observe the following:

  • All the colors and textures in the bark
  • How the branches get thinner as they get farther from the trunk
  • How leaves may have mixtures of greens and yellows or reds, as the chlorophyll is no longer being produced.
  • It might also help to stand in front of a tree and look into the distance while you explain that the tree next to them and the one they’ll do in their painting are large as we would expect. But things farther away look smaller in real life and will in their painting, too.

Help your children experiment with mixing and creating new colors from the ones they have. Show them that when you make a color like orange, mix just a little bit of the darker color (in this case, red) into the lighter color, yellow. The other way around, and you’ll find yourself having to use way more of the lighter color and may never get the light mix you want.

Hints for Clean Up:

Have a large plastic container to put the tools in when finished so you can easily throw away used Q-tips and cotton balls and wash the rest in the sink.

Variations:

If you and your children wish, you may add the other two landscape distances to the green foreground of their picture. Add blue water for the middleground and purple or gray mountains for the background. You can also use one of the tools and white paint to add some clouds.

Molly hopes you enjoy Making a Colorful Painting of Fall Leaves to Hang on Your Fridge, We’d love to hear what your favorite part of this project was!

Molly and I hope to see you right back here soon for a Fall Art Project for Older Children!

Devotion based on the painting, Autumn on the Hudson River, by Jasper Cropsey

Hudson River school artists wanted their light-filled landscapes to teach lessons about God. The beauty of the landscapes, and the realistic details of foliage, skies, and clouds weren’t just to celebrate nature, but to show God’s glory and power in creation, and His continuing care of it all.

Autumn on the Hudson, Jasper Cropsey, public domain

Supplies

Gather your children in a room you an darken and discuss how hard it is to see details of the leaves and other objects you collected. Depending on how dark the room is, it’s also hard to see much color.

Now open the curtains or turn on the lights and look at all the details and colors of the objects, especially the veins in the leaves.  

Now look at the painting by Jasper Cropsey. He has illuminated his whole scene with that light. We can see every detail!

He’s painted sunbeams coming through the clouds in the afternoon when the sun’s rays are longer and warmer, making his landscape look warm and peaceful to remind us of God’s loving care of every detail of His creation. Read together, “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” (Genesis 1:2-3 NIV)

God created each of His creatures, and He continues to care for them!

Look at the pictures that you gathered of animals and plants and ask what are some of the ways God cares for each one. For example, how the bright colors of flowers attract bees and other insects to cross pollinate them. Ask how a rabbit can blend in with grass and bushes. How does a woodpecker’s bill differs from a duck’s, and why. How does each bird get its food? Read together, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.” (Matthew 6:26 NIV)  

The Hare by Albrecht Durer, public domain

God created each one of us, and He continues to care for us!

Ask children what are some of the ways God has cared for them. For example, discuss how their eyes can see colors and can see into the distance or close-up. Ask what are some of the many ways they can use their hands and fingers. Read together “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:13-14 NIV)

God created everything that exists and He continues to care for All of His creation!

We can also look into the distance to see some of the biggest things – the mountains, the sky, and the river. Cropsey wrote that the sky was a beautiful gift of the Creator and encircled the earth “like a halo.  Read together, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. (Psalm 19:1-2 NIV) 

Prayer:  Dear God you created everything from the smallest leaf to the tallest mountains, and all the bright stars above us. You have wonderfully made each of us, too! We praise You for creation’s beauty and the careful care You give to every part of it. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Molly and I hope you enjoyed looking at how Autumn on the Hudson River can help us understand some Spiritual truths!

Be sure and come back for our next post. It’ll be an art project for younger children, based on Cropsey’s painting.

Painting the Light, Making Connections to Other Subjects

Art works can spark stories to write, suggest books to read, historical events to explore, and science to discover!

So read on to see ways Jasper Cropsey’s painting, Autumn on the Hudson can help you and your children make connections with other subjects such as language arts, social studies, and science.

Connections to other subjects

Social Studies

Geography:

  • Use maps and photos to look at this region’s sections of the Appalachian Mountain chain called the Catskills and Adirondacks and important rivers such as the Hudson and the Mohawk, which helped transport goods to bring prosperity in the 1800s. The Hudson Highlands figures prominently in the Revolutionary War.

History: this region is rich in history with so many topics to pursue, that I’ll just mention a few:

  • The Iroquois League or Five Nations (their culture and history before and after the coming of Europeans)
  • The Oneida, an Iroquois League tribe that trekked hundreds of miles to bring corn to Washington’s troops at Valley Forge.
  • The discovery and exploration of the Hudson River by Henry Hudson who was sailing for the Dutch and therefore why the Dutch claimed and were the first European settlers of the region. Reflected in many place names such as Catskills, Schenectady, Tappan Zee, etc.
  • The importance of this region of the Hudson during the Revolutionary War. What did the American troops do to keep the British from traveling up the river and cutting New England off from the other colonies?
  • The Erie Canal, completed in 1825, which connected Lake Erie with the Hudson River at Albany, enabling the easier transportation of goods and people between western New York and New York City.
  • Albert Bierstadt, 1830-1902, who traveled the American West with various expeditions. His paintings helped encourage people to go west to settle.

Language Arts

Writing: Story prompts:

For Younger Children:

  • Write a story about the children on the bridge. What are they doing there? Do they live in the cabin? Are they taking a break from their chores?  What are their chores? Do you think their parents allowed them to take a break or not? Is that their dog? What other sorts of things do they like to do?

For Older Children:

  • Pretend you’re traveling on the paddlewheel steamer. Are you going downriver to visit New York City? What will you see in the city? If you’re traveling upriver to Albany and then taking the Erie Canal west to your home, tell about your trip, describing things you’d see you’ll be traveling the Erie Canal, describe what it’s like to go through a lock. What gives power to boats on the canal?
  • If you like horses, you might imagine and write about where the rider has been and what the roads were like. Was the rider on a trip? If so, where would the rider have stayed, eaten? Was the rider a doctor, returning from treating a patient? Or a traveling preacher?

Books to read that are related to the region or times:

For Younger Readers 1st -3rd:

  • The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh, a true story of a young girl in 1700s, a Newbery Honor book
  • The Matchlock Gun by Walter D. Edmunds, Dutch settlers in Hudson Valley,  a young boy’s courage, Newbery Medal

For Middle Grade Readers:

  • Farmer Boy by Laura Ingolls Wilder, story of Almonzo Wilder growing up on a western New York farm in the 1860s
  • Caddie Woodlawn by Carol R. Brink, growing up on Wisconsin frontier in mid 1800s
  • The Cabin Faced West by Jean Fritz, a family moves to the Pennsylvania frontier in late 1700s
  • Justin Morgan Had a Horse by Marguerite Henry, true story of a frontier school teacher in Vermont and his amazing horse, late 1700s
  • Rip van Winkle and the Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving, legends of the Dutch settlers, set in the Catskills

Classics for Older Readers:

  • The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper, classic adventure and romance
  • Drums Along the Mohawk by Walter D. Edmonds, the struggle of pioneers in the Mohawk Valley during the Revolution
  • The Light in the Forest by Conrad Richter, a young settler boy captured and raised by Native Americans must return to his true family as a teenager.

Science:

  • Sunbeams or Crepuscular (Latin for twilight) rays. Discover how sunbeams are created as they shine through gaps in clouds, mountains, or tall buildings.  Your research will also help you find out why the sky is blue for much of the day, but reddish at sunrise and sunset. You can go to this link to Britannica to begin  .https://www.britannica.com/science/crepuscular-ray
  • Look up why and how leaves turn colors in the fall. It has to do with the green chlorophyll not being replaced as days shorten and grow colder. But this link to the University of Vermont will tell you lots more!    https://pss.uvm.edu/ppp/articles/fallleaves.html

Wow, can you believe what a lot of interesting paths this painting could lead you on? Molly and I hope you’ll choose a few to follow!

I’ve discovered that these interconnections, deserve their very own post, so these new series will now probably have 5 posts instead of 4!

 Come on back for a kid-friendly devotion next time on post 3 of this series!!

 

 

 

 

Painting the Light

Artists of the Hudson River School, America’s first home-grown art movement, flooded their panoramic landscapes with light.

This first in a series of 4 posts will give you:

  1. Background information about the Hudson River School of art and Jasper Cropsey, a member of that group
  2. A lesson plan that includes
  •      Materials and vocabulary lists,
  •      One principle of art or design to learn about
  •      A fun activity and story to introduce Jasper Cropsey to your children
  •      A kid-friendly game to help your children explore one of Cropsey’s paintings

Now let’s get right to the first in the series of 4 posts based on art by Jasper Francis Cropsey.

Background for You.   

The Hudson River School artists were a group of artists whose lives and work stretched across most of the 1800s. They knew and learned from each other, sometimes painted together in the same areas, and often exhibited together.

It all began with a sketching trip Thomas Cole, who is considered the founder of the school, took up the Hudson River in 1825. The Hudson River flows south from the Adirondacks, through scenic landscapes, such as the Catskill Mountains, to empty into the Atlantic in New York City.

Following his lead, more and more artists took sketching and painting trips north on the Hudson. Many of them had grown up in New York or New England, while others were immigrants. A few were women, and one was an African American man.

These artists also explored rivers and mountains throughout the northeastern part of the United States, which was still largely rural. They encouraged each other to make careful observations of nature and detailed sketches of what they saw. (Here’s a link to see images from one of Jasper Cropsey’s sketch books at the University of Michigan’s Bentley Historical Library)

Eventually some traveled even farther. Frederick Church painted in the Middle East, South America, and the Arctic. Albert Bierstadt (who had immigrated with his family from Germany) traveled with exploratory expeditions to the American West. His paintings helped make the West better known back East.

Look at this painting called Autumn—On the Hudson River by Jasper Cropsey to see many of the features of Hudson River School paintings

Autumn on the Hudson, Jasper Cropsey, public domain

 

(here’s the link to this painting in the National Gallery in Washington D.C., which enables you to enlarge the painting and scroll around to see its details)  https://www.nga.gov/collection/art-object-page.46474.html

  • Wide, panoramic views of a river, distant mountains, and lots of light-filled sky, usually from an elevated position.
  • The river or a winding path invites you to “walk” into the painting
  • Lots of realistic details of plants, rocks, and trees, rural life
  • Light used to reveal the form of things, unlike the Impressionists, who used light to dissolve outlines
  • Often show a few people or animals, hiking, resting, or working in fields
  • Sometimes the artist shows him or herself painting in the foreground

Above all else you’ll see light and 1 point perspective used to draw you on into the mountains and beyond. (when we see look at a road or wall receding into the distance, we see an illusion of the parallel lines receding at an angle and coming together at “one point” on the horizon. Artists use this 1 point illusion or perspective to help create the illusion of distance in a painting).

In a Hudson River School painting all the lines converge at a point that is lost in light, so it seems as if we can see beyond nature to infinity—to God who created all that beautiful nature. And that’s just what these artists wanted.

Lesson Plan:  Engaging your children’s minds to explore and enjoy this painting!

Materials: 

  • link from above to this painting in the National Gallery so you can scroll around to see details
  • links in this post to maps of Hudson River and photos of the actual places painted
  • colored leaves gathered on walk or photos of these
  • Optional, but fun! Make a “magic” paintbrush pointer—add a little glue and glitter to the handle of a paintbrush—when you sprinkle a little “magic” artist glitter on children, it becomes fun to imagine walking into the painting or pointing out objects with the brush.

Vocabulary The words will be in bold green the first time they come up.

  • autumn
  • landscape painting
  • sketching
  • foreground, middleground, background (big words, but ones that will help you and your children talk more easily about different parts of a painting)

One principle of art or design to learn about:  Color can help create a mood by using warm and/or cool colors

Introduction: An activity and a story

Activity: If possible go on a walk and let children gather colorful fall leaves. If that’s not possible, look at a few photos of bright fall leaves. Ask questions such as: Which colors do they like best? Did they find any leaves that still showed some green? Are there any patterns formed by the changing colors? What do those veins do?

photo from a previous post’s leaf painting activity, showing the leaf veins

Isn’t it wonderful that God has given us such beauty before winter?

Story: There was once an American artist who loved colorful fall leaves so much that he took lots of sketching and painting trips along the Hudson River and in New England in the autumn to paint the bright red, orange, and yellow leaves. But when he showed some of his autumn landscape paintings in London, the British were amazed. Their fall leaves weren’t that colorful, and some thought he had exaggerated the colors in his paintings. So the artist, Jasper Cropsey, attached samples of leaves to his paintings to prove his colors were right on!

Teaching and Sharing: Jasper Francis Cropsey (1823-1900) was part of a group of American artists who lived not long after the American Revolution when America was still a small country with few cities. They loved to hike along the Hudson River in New York State and in other northeast states, sketching nature and painting landscapes. (The link to the map of the Hudson River is helpful here)  https://www.hudsonrivervalley.org/hudson-river-valley-map

Let’s look at one of Jasper Cropsey’s autumn paintings together.

Ask children what’s going on in the painting and what tells them that.    (Giving children time to look at and talk about the overall painting before using a game to get more specific improves cognitive and social skills)

A fun game to explore the painting and enhance children’s observational skills:  Tap a child lightly on the shoulder with the “magic” paintbrush and invite him or her to pretend they are walking through the painting. Encourage their imaginations even more by first asking if it’ll be cold or hot, rainy, or sunny, etc. and therefore, what clothes they should wear and what they might take with them on their walk. Will they need a snack or water?

Ask them to tell what they see, hear, smell, and touch as they travel from the foreground, through the middle ground, to the background. Encourage them to find the men and dogs sitting on the hill, the man on horseback, the town along the river, the children playing on a bridge, trees with red leaves, blown over trees, a paddlewheel boat on the river, and to see colors and patterns.

With landscapes, it can be fun to compare the artist’s work to actual photographs. Here are links to 2 photos taken of that mountain seen in the distance across the Hudson River in Cropsey’s painting. Called Butter Mountain by early Dutch settlers because they thought it looked like a lump of butter, today it’s called Storm King Mountain. It helps form the northern entrance to the Hudson Highlands, a narrow section of the Hudson River. West Point Military Academy is on a bluff just south of this section of the river.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hudson_Highlands#/media/File:Hudson_Highlands.JPG

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storm_King_Mountain_(New_York)#/media/File:Storm_King_mountain_as_viewed_from_top_of_Break_Neck_Ridge.JPG

One principle of art or design to learn about:  Color can help create a mood.

  • Ask children which colors Cropsey has used. They’ll see he has used both—warm colors for the foliage and cool colors in the sky and river.
  • Explain that while Cropsey has painted his landscape with realistic colors, he’s also creating a mood with his color choices. Often warm colors, (reds, oranges, and yellows) can make a painting exciting. Cool colors (blues, greens, and violets) can give a feeling of peace.
  • Ask children how the painting makes them feel.
  • Help them notice that Cropsey’s reds and oranges  and his blues and greens, too, are a little muted by distance.
  • And one color seems to warm up every part of this landscape.  Which one is it? (that golden sunlight gives an overall mood to this painting of a warm welcome to a peaceful country scene)

Whichever of the above activities you choose, enhance children’s verbal skills by rephrasing words and helping them use the new vocabulary. Encourage their observation skills by pointing out nuances of color such as the different blues and greens of various parts of the sky, water, and land.

 

 

Molly and I hope you and your children will enjoy learning about the Hudson River School artists and exploring Jasper Cropsey’s painting, Autumn–On the Hudson River!

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I’ll post Connections to Other Subjects very soon! As I was listing them, I realized this post would be too long if I included them now. But sign up to receive these posts by email so you don’t miss them! There are many great connections to social studies, science, and language arts from this painting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Changes Coming To Help You with Homeschooling or Online Teaching

Are you looking for ways to enjoy art with your children as you homeschool or teach online? If so, this is the blog for you!

Since so many are homeschooling or teaching online at this time, I’m making some changes to better help you engage your children’s minds, hearts, and hands in learning about art and make connections from it to other subjects.

Each post will typically be part of a series of 4, all relating to one artist or art movement.

This is what you can expect from each series:

Post 1 will engage your children’s minds in art appreciation activities. This post will include background information with pictures and links for you.  Then I’ll give you some kid-friendly activities to introduce the artist’s work to your children. I’ll also include ideas to help you make connections to other subjects you are studying or how to use the art as an attention-grabber to introduce new topics in other areas of your curriculum.

Post 2 will engage your children’s hearts in a kid-friendly devotion based on the artwork

Post 3 will engage younger children’s hands in an art activity based on the artwork

Post 4 will engage older children’s hands in an art activity based on the artwork

Whether you’re homeschooling or teaching online, I hope this new format will help you with games, lessons, and activities to engage your children’s minds, hearts, and hands in learning about and enjoying art.

The first series will begin this Friday, September 18th with Artists Who Painted Light, and feature Jasper Cropsey.

Autumn on the Hudson, Jasper Cropsey, public domain

So be sure to sign up to receive these posts in your inbox and share with others who are looking for ways to enjoy art with their children.

 

 

Molly and I are looking forward to  helping you and your children enjoy great art and your own creativity this fall!

Saving Summer in a Bottle, A Fun and Easy Art Activity for Creative Kids

Do you and your children save summer treasures—shells and driftwood from the beach, pinecones from a hike in the woods, a special rock, or a perfectly preserved dragonfly? Sometimes we put those items in bottles to remind us of summer fun on a cold day in January.

Today you’ll learn to draw bottles! You’ll learn 2 tricks you can use to draw any shape bottle you might use to save summer treasures. It’s so easy even younger children will catch on quickly. Then you can draw or print out pictures of treasures to put in your bottles.

Then . . . in the Variations part of this post you’ll use your imagination to draw fantastic bottles that can capture even the most fantastic summer memories! Like the special smell of hotdogs and hamburgers sizzling on the grill, the fizzy feel of cold soda hitting your tongue, rainbows lighting up the sky after a summer storm, birds song as the sun comes up, or peddling your bicycle through cool evening breezes that smell of honeysuckle!!

Let’s get started, but wait . . .Don’t miss the 2 sections at the end of this post that show how this art activity can:

  • 5 ways this art activity can contribute to your children’s mental, physical, and social development
  • Help your children learn more about God: What does God want us to remember?

You’ll need a few

Supplies:

  • Bottles and vases of various shapes and sizes
  • Pencils and erasers
  • Crayons, markers, etc. for adding color if you wish
  • Paper to draw on

That’s it. Now we can get started!

Directions

The Looking part—very important in art!

  1. Look down at the top of your bottle or these photos. Notice the shape is a circle
  2. Do the same thing with the bottom of the bottle—also a circle
  3. If you could cut your bottle off at any level and looked down at it—again, all up and down, you’d see a circle
  4. This is important to see, because many people who try to draw a cylinder (which is what a bottle is) forget those circles and draw a straight line across, especially for the bottom edge.
  5. Now look at what happens to those circles as you begin to turn the bottle away.  What do the circles become?  YES, ovals
  6. Notice they don’t ever become straight lines or a football shape with pointy ends!

The Drawing Part—even the simplest bottle or vase has some ins and outs, but it’s still easy to draw, using the following 2 tricks: ovals and a central, straight line or axis. Here’s what you do:

  1. Draw an oval for the top of your bottle
  2. Lightly sketch a straight center line down from the middle of that oval to where you think the bottom of your bottle should be.
  3. Draw another oval at the bottom with the vertical line going through its middle. Pay attention to whether the bottom oval should be the same size as the top opening or is smaller or larger. Draw your bottom oval to match the relative size you see
  4. Now move up and down your vertical line, lightly sketching ovals wherever you see a change in size.
  5. Now connect your ovals with curving in, curving out, or straight lines depending on what you see on the bottle’s sides.
  6. Finally erase your center line and all but the top and bottom ovals
  7. Here’s another type of bottle to draw and fill with with drawings or photos of summer treasures!
  8. Add color and Enjoy!

Hints:

Don’t erase the bottom or top ovals, because we’re drawing glass bottles. If you were drawing a non-see-through container, you’d also erase the back of your bottom oval.

Variations:

Here’s where you can let your imagination go and draw fantastic bottles to hold fantastic treasures!

  1. Turn your paper so it’s vertical or what we call portrait orientation
  2. Starting at the top draw an oval of any size you like
  3. Lightly sketch your center line down the length of your paper and draw another oval of any size at the bottom.
  4. Next, up and down the center line draw more ovals of different sizes—some wide, some small—lots of variety
  5. Connect your ovals on the sides with some curving-in lines, some curving-out lines, and some straight lines. Whatever you’d like to make your very own fantastic bottle!!
  6. Now fill them with pictures or drawings of special memories of your summer.
  •      How do you draw a special smell or sound? Perhaps draw the flower, food, or bird and draw someone sniffing or listening.
  •      How do you draw a rough or soft texture? Find some sandpaper, smooth cloth, or even sand or small pebbles and glue these down to give the feeling of roughness or smoothness.
  •      I’m sure you can come up with even more creative ways to show your memories.

5 ways this art activity can contribute to your children’s mental, physical, and social development:

  1. Using pencils and crayons, etc. helps children develop fine motor skills.
  2. This art activity helps develop visual/spatial skills and how to understand and use visual   information—important in learning to interpret photos, graphs, maps, etc.
  3. The opportunities to make choices in this activity enhance problem-solving skills.
  4. Discussing their choices of things to put in their bottles and why aids in vocabulary and conversational skills.
  5. Creating fantastic bottles and how to illustrate a smell or a feeling encourages creative and imaginative thinking

This art activity can help your children learn more about God:

When I visit the beach I always come home with shells, drift wood, and beach glass. Why do I save treasures from the beach? Because when I feel the ridges of the shells, the velvety softness of the driftwood worn smooth by sand and water, or see the colorful sparkle of the beach glass, it brings back the memory of that special time.

Have your children hold a pinecone or other treasure they have saved. Ask them to describe how it feels, smells, looks. Then ask what they remember about when and where they found the treasure and how they felt at that time.

While summer memories are special, God tells us it’s even more important to remember how He has cared for us in the past and the blessings He gives us each day.   

     “Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced”  Psalm 105: 5 NIV

     “Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”  Psalm 103:2-5 NIV

The Lord knows that just as shells remind us of the beach, things that engage our senses also help us remember His care. In the Old Testament, He commanded the Israelites to celebrate Passover, (Deuteronomy 16:1) wear phylacteries, and sometimes build memorials of stones, because things they could touch and taste and see helped them remember God’s deliverance and promises so they could trust Him in the present. verses

Now we have the Lord’s Supper and baptism, also using everyday items we can feel and smell and taste to do in remembrance of Jesus’ sacrifice (1 Corinthians 11:24). We can use our voices to sing praises to God and our eyes and ears to take in God’s word. We might wear a cross or make a colorful bracelet to remind us of God’s love.

All these remind us of God’s grace in Jesus who died for us and of our heavenly Father’s continuing love that provides for our daily needs. Keeping God’s deliverances and promises fresh in our memories, keeps our faith and trust in Him fresh in the present.

An Activity to Remember God’s Loving Care:

Take one of the bottles you gathered for this activity (maybe decorate it as I did with ribbon) and try one or both of the following activities:

  1. Draw or find photos of times when you saw how God cared for your family. Perhaps keeping you safe in a storm while camping, seeing a sunset that reminded you all of God’s creativity, or a neighbor finding your dog when it ran away. Roll these up and tie with a ribbon or fold and put in the bottle.
  2. In your Bible and find and write out promises God has made to care for you, such as Deuteronomy 31: 8 when He tells us He’ll never leave us or forsake us. Decorate these with pictures if you wish, and add these to the bottle also.

Now when someone in the family is feeling down or is worried, they can take out one of the papers and remember how God has cared for your family in the past or be reminded of His promises and be refreshed to trust God today.

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Molly wasn’t interested in these bottles until I filled one with cheerios and dog kibble. Then she decided they were worth a second and third and fourth look! And then a GOBBLE!

Molly and I hope to see you right back soon for Another Fun and Easy Art Activity for Creative Kids!

 

Painting with Frozen Paint, A Fun and Easy Art Activity for Creative Kids

You and your children will enjoy painting with frozen paint on a hot summer day. Paint popsicles are fun for everyone and can lead to discussions about the water cycle God created to give us water, and how Jesus used water to teach something very important about Himself.

You’ll need a little advance preparation to freeze the paint, but once that’s done, dress in old clothes, grab some big pieces of paper, and head outside for fun and discovery!

Don’t miss the 2 sections at the end of this lesson that show how this art activity can:

  • Help your children in other areas of learning:
  • Help point your children to God:

Supplies

  • Tempera paint in assorted colors
  • Small paper cups or old ice cube trays in which to make the paint popsicles
  • Craft sticks or plastic forks or knives
  • Large sheets of somewhat heavy paper, such as rolls of shelf or craft paper
  • Large rocks or other weights to hold the paper flat

Hints for Clean Up:

  • If you plan to paint on a deck, patio, or outdoors table, an old plastic tablecloth will protect from stains and speed cleanup
  • A large plastic container such as an old dish tub is helpful to hold the paint popsicles until you’re done and ready to throw them away. The popsicles last quite a long time.

Directions

  1. In the ice cube trays or paper cups mix different colors of paint with a little water and freeze until slushy enough to hold up craft sticks or plastic forks. Then continue freezing until solid
  2. When you’re ready to paint, take the paint popsicles outside and let them begin to melt
  3. Turn your kiddos loose to choose their colors and PAINT!

More Helpful Hints:

  • It’s difficult to say how much water to add to the paint because some paints are very liquid right from the container and others aren’t. Half water is probably too much. The following picture shows some popsicles I made with less water. They were brighter, but didn’t move around very smoothly. They were good for producing texture.
  • Also, some colors, such as red are intense pigments and will still be bright with more added water than green or yellow, which can lose color with too much water.
  • As always, be willing to experiment a little and try not to be a perfectionist. Your children will have fun even if some of the colors aren’t as bright as you’d like!
  • If you made your paint popsicles in paper cups, let the paint melt a little before trying to remove them from the cups
  • If the paper cup still sticks to the bottom of the popsicle, give it a little more melting time, then peel the paper away

Variations:

  • Place a paint popsicle on the paper in the sun and watch what happens as the ice and paint begin to melt. You can point out to children how the icy part begins to slide on what’s melting underneath. Somewhat like how glaciers move!!
  • What kind of designs can you get if there’s a little incline?

This art activity can help your children in other areas of learning:

  • This activity is called process art. It focuses on being in the moment, helping us relax and enjoy experimenting with the medium.  We don’t need to worry about producing something recognizable.
  • It can provide many fun moments of discovery with colors and materials
  • It’s good for little hands that may not be able to hold and control pencils or paintbrushes yet
  • The following activity can improve observational skills and vocabulary: explain the following Elements of Art, and have children find examples of these in their paintings.

             Line straight; curved; wavy; zigzag; slanted; standing up; lying down. Introduce the more grown-up words diagonal, vertical, and horizontal only if your children are ready.

            Shape formed by several lines. These don’t have to be exact geometric shapes—encourage creative descriptions

           Space we call empty space negative space in art

          Color cool and warm colors and complementary color pairs—red and green; blue and orange; and yellow and violet.

           Pattern any repetition of shapes, lines, colors. I couldn’t find any patterns in my creations, but you could encourage these as your children paint.

          Texture some paints produce a grainy texture you can see and feel

 

This art activity can help point your children to God: Why not make or buy some good-to-eat popsicles to enjoy while you talk about God’s wisdom in creating water—a substance necessary for life on this earth! And Our Savior, Jesus Christ who gives us living water for eternal life!!

Did you know?

  • The water you drank today may once have been part of a big, gray elephant leading its baby to a waterhole in Africa or a blue and yellow macaw flying through the Amazon rain forest.
  • Water is the most common substance on earth
  • 80% of the earth’s surface is water
  • Water is the only substance on earth naturally occurring in all 3 states-liquid, solid, gas
  • When water freezes its molecules move farther apart or expand. So ice is lighter than liquid water and able to float—ice cubes in your drink or icebergs in the ocean.
  • 75% of a living tree is water—think of all the water it takes to carry nutrients around a giant redwood tree that can be taller than the Statue of Liberty
  • 66% of the human body is water—water carries oxygen and nutrients to our cells, it helps protect our joints, organs, and tissues, it keeps our temperature even, and carries away wastes
  • A person can live about a month without food but only about a week without water

We and all creatures and plants need water to live! And yet, the same amount of water has been on the earth since God first formed the earth. But we don’t run out of water, because God, in His wisdom, created the water cycle:

  1. The sun’s heat melts ice to liquid water and evaporates that as well as water from ponds and lakes and oceans.
  2. This water vapor or gas rises high into the cooler air and condenses into a cloud.

Note about clouds: You’ve seen miniature clouds when boiling water produces vapor that condenses into a cloud of steam as it hits the cooler air outside the teapot. Or you’ve seen your warm, moist  breath condense into a little cloud when you breath out on a cold winter day. And don’t forget about dew. It shows us there’s always water vapor in the air, which condenses on the cooler leaves or flower petals in your garden.

  1. From the cloud water falls to earth again as rain or snow or hail.
  2. In this cycle water changes from a solid to a liquid to a gas over and over again.

God was the first and best ever recycler!

 

Read Psalm 19:1-6 together.  It tells of the general revelation of creation that we see all around us and points to a wise and loving God. Talk about other things in creation that point us to God, our Creator.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies [including the wonderful water cycle] proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.

Read about the woman at the well in John 4, especially verses 13-14. The Bible is special revelation, and in these verses Jesus uses water to reveal something very important about Himself. Discuss how He is our savior who gives us eternal life.

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Read also John 8:37-39a and discuss how the Holy Spirit lives in us and helps us live fruitful lives for our heavenly Father.

…. “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” By this he meant the Spirit ….

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Molly hopes you enjoy painting with paint popsicles and learning about God’s wisdom in creating water and especially His love for us in Christ!!

Molly loves cool blues on hot summer days!

Molly and I also hope to see you right back soon for Another Fun and Easy Art Activity for Creative Kids!

Big changes coming to the Picture Lady soon! Sign up to receive these posts by email and don’t miss a post!

 

Longing for Vacation? Photos from the Beaches of Maine

Something a little different this week. Since many of us can’t get away for vacations this summer, I decided to post some photos from Vacationland–Maine, where I grew up and though I can’t visit it this year, hope to again soon!

So come along this path to the beach. Smell the salt grass and feel the breeze off the water cool your face. Remember that funny squeak your bare feet make in the warm sand?

One of Maine’s few long sandy beachesSeagulls love the beach, too!

Most Maine beaches are smaller and bounded by rocky headlands.

You have to climb down rocks just to get to some beaches.

But I love the rocks! Looking at the folds of the rock ledges. Exploring little pools for creatures. Trying to catch a snail before it pulls in its “foot” and snaps shut. Or watching the feathery cirri of barnacles sweep through the water in search of food.

I especially love being on the rocks in storms. Waves crash against the rocks, sending spray sailing away on the wind.

All those rocks are why Maine has so many lighthouses! That’s us down on the small beach, looking for beach glass and shells!

Maine has many tidal rivers separating the beaches and rocky headlands from each other. This photo shows where one joins  the ocean.

The next few photos show farther up one of those tidal rivers. The beautiful marshes provide a habitat for many creatures, including voracious, drone-size mosquitoes! Growing up in this marshy coastal town, we did get kind of used to mosquitoes!

High tide on the marsh

Low tide on the marsh

A foggy day on the marsh makes everything outside mysterious and everything inside soggy!

Beach roses and other wildflowers fill the fields surrounding every beach!

Maine has lots of islands, big and little. Casco Bay supposedly has 365 of them, and sometimes we’d take the mailboat ferry in a round trip  to visit a few of them.

Casco Bay ferries

Docking at one of the islandsIslanders waiting for supplies. Everything has to come by ferry.

Preparing to move on to the next island.

One of Portland’s smaller lights, Spring Point Light welcomes us back to the harbor.

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Sandy beaches and rocky ledges, the cry of seagulls and the smell of salt grass, pink beach roses and foggy days–all form important memories of a place I love.

What beaches are special to you? What memories of those beaches do you treasure?

I can never leave a Maine beach without  shells, drift wood, beach glass, and even rocks!

What souvenirs do you have from visits to beaches?

Molly is in vacation mode, so this week this little guy is helping me say we hope you’ll visit Kathy the Picture Lady again for great art, fun art projects, and more fun places to visit!

 

And we leave you with a twilight picture over the marsh–taken at great peril of being carried off by mosquitoes!

 

Bubble Painting, A Fun and Easy Art Activity for Creative Kids!

Bubble painting bubbles over with fun for all ages and is just right for a summer activity outside! Try it with your children, and you’ll find it’s hard to stop blowing these colorful bubbles!

Don’t miss the 2 sections at the end of this lesson that show how this art activity can:

  • Help your children in other areas of learning:  in addition to 5 other benefits, this type of painting activity encourages experimentation, creativity, and lots of relaxing fun!!
  • Help point your children to God:  follow the simple outline to discuss with your children how special and unique each one is.

Supplies

  • Tempera paint in various colors (See safety Notes below)
  • Small plastic containers such as yogurt containers in which to mix paint, liquid detergent, and water (I used a paper cup for one color, and it didn’t hold up well)
  • Straws, plastic ones will hold up longer
  • Liquid dish soap–any brand (Not dishwasher detergents)
  • Plastic spoons or forks for stirring
  • Heavy construction paper or watercolor paper
  • A wide plastic dish tub for cleanup, but not essential

Safety Notes before you get started: This is a safe activity, but here are some things to do and some things to avoid so it stays safe:

  • I prefer tempera paint since children will be blowing into it with straws, and some may forget and inhale. Children’s tempera paint is nontoxic. There will still be liquid dish soap so especially with young children, you can poke a hole in the straw near the top with a pin, and that will make inhaling harder.
  • Most children have blown bubbles in their milk or other drink ( often, to your dismay, in a restaurant!!) But to be sure, if you have young children, you may want to have them practice blowing out with a cup of plain water. And this time you won’t tell them to stop!
  • For additional safety, you could buy children’s bubble mixture to use instead of liquid dish soap. If you use this, you won’t need as much water in your paint mixture!!
  • While acrylics or liquid watercolors (an intense, pre-mixed form of watercolors, not watercolors you mix yourself, which wouldn’t be bright enough) do produce brighter colors, they aren’t as safe.

Directions

1.In each plastic container, mix a blob of paint with some water—enough to be runny. Then gently stir in several drops of liquid dish soap. You don’t want it to be frothy.

Hint: There are lots of recipes for how much of each, but every tempera paint is different and it’s best just to experiment a little. Mix one color and try blowing bubbles in the mixture

(my paint is pretty thick and the blob was about a tablespoon, which gave me good color. I did keep adding dish soap and water throughout the process as needed. Remember, if you’re using pre-made bubble mix, it won’t take as much water.)

2.Gently blow bubbles in the mixture until the bubbles round up over the top of the container  Don’t blow in hard bursts. Blowing in a steady, gentle way produces the most bubbles , and the most interesting patterns as they each pop against your paper.

Hints: The bubbles themselves won’t look very colorful, but don’t worry, they’ll look colorful on the paper!

The more bubbles you get, the more interesting the patterns. Here’s a container with very few bubbles, and it didn’t produce a very interesting painting:

3.Take your paper and gently touch it on top of the bubbles. If you push down hard, you’ll get mostly just a ring of color, like in the above painting. This is because you’ve broken the bubbles before they could adhere to the paper. Experiment until you get the hang of it

Hint: If your paint/bubble mixtures stop making bubbles, add a little more water. Another drop of dish liquid may also help, but again, experiment!!

That’s it. Your mixtures will make lots of bubbles and give you many paintings, so have fun! Enjoy the process!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notice how this bubble splattered paint as it burst:

One More Helpful Hint:

You can use one straw throughout. Just wipe the paint off the end with a paper towel before changing colors, and it won’t affect the next color.

Clean up Hints:

  • The paint mixture in the containers could stain your patio or deck, so it’s a good idea to put down an old plastic tablecloth to catch spills
  • Drips will happen, so old clothes are a good idea, especially if your children may be tempted to blow a little paint in the direction of a sibling J
  • When finished, put all plastic containers and utensils in the plastic tub and rinse away most of the paint outside with a hose, leaving only a little cleanup for inside

Variations and Extensions:

  • Try making a trail of bubbles
  • Make some bubble designs in just warm or cool colors
  • Find shapes in the bubbles and draw around these to complete a figure. Can you see the baby donkey’s face in this one?
  • Cut out areas you especially like and use to decorate cards or posters
  • Use bubbles to create flowers—just draw or paint in stems and leaves

How this art activity can help your children in other areas of learning:

  1.   First of all—this type of painting activity encourages experimentation, creativity, and lots of relaxing fun!
  2.    Opportunities to make choices as in this activity, enhances problem-solving skills.
  3.    Learning to blow gently and lowering the paper gently over the bubbles helps children develop fine motor skills.
  4.    Discussing with your children why they chose certain colors builds vocabulary and social skills.
  5.    Enhance their observational and verbal skills by rephrasing words and adding new vocabulary. Help them see nuances of color in the layers of bubbles
  6.    Encouraging children to find objects or shapes, colors, patterns, etc. in the bubble paintings improves their observational skills.

How this art activity can help point your children to God:

  1. We are able to make beautiful art because we are made in God’s image, with the ability to be creative and think and plan Read Genesis 1:27 together.
  2. He has given us hands that can hold a straw or a pencil and eyes that can see colors and patterns
  3. He has given us mouths so we can talk and share about our art with others
  4. And just as no two bubble paintings ever look alike, so God has created each of us to be unique and special  Read Psalm 139:13-15 together.
  5.   Ask children to share how they’re unique—their eye color, hair color, their laugh, their favorite foods, their favorite things to do, etc.
  6. Our unique and beautiful bubble paintings can bring love and beauty to family and friends. God has breathed into each of us to make us His unique and beautiful painting to show His beauty and love to the world.
  7.  Ask children some ways they can be a beautiful painting in the world for God.

End with a prayer thanking God for making each of us unique, with special ways to make the world a more beautiful place.

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Molly loves how the colors of this sunset are spread over her, and she hopes you enjoyed blowing colorful bubbles!

And Molly and I hope to see you right back here soon for Another Fun and Easy Art Activity for Creative Kids!

 

 

 

My Story of a Visit to a Welsh Castle in Refresh Magazine

As you enjoy your 4th of July holiday I wanted to give you a link to Refresh, a great free online magazine of Bible studies and devotions. 19 writers, including myself, contributed to this summer issue.

My Bible study begins with a story and photos about my husband’s and my exploration of Dolwyddelan castle when we visited Wales a few years ago. I hope you’ll take time to read it and all the other great stories!

Here’s a link to the issue:

https://mcusercontent.com/d56d783b628cb25e0234a8678/files/77cfc980-d10b-4805-b99b-7395615184cf/Refresh_June_2020_Issue.pdf

Thanks for visiting! I hope you and your families have a wonderful holiday weekend!