Teach

Shapes Exploration Art


Shapes Exploration Art

exploring shapes with little ones through mixed media art | art bar

exploring shapes with little ones through mixed media art | art bar

Today on Art Bar Monday on Small for Big I will teach you how to make this whimsical mixed-media circle art with your kids. These were made by children from ages 4 to 10. They loved learning how to rubber stamp and about funny shape names (rhombus got quite a few laughs). Hop on over to Small for Big to see how it’s done!

xo Bar

 

Art Class Poster for Sale!


Art Class Poster for Sale!

My post on the importance of art programs in school struck a chord with many of you, especially my readers who teach art. Today I am announcing that my poster is finally for sale! This version is new (and improved) with just a few small changes.

Click below to buy the poster in three different sizes. {This link will bring you to Zazzle}.

Art ClassPoster

You can also download the free PDF of this poster to print on your home computer.

Art Class Printable

AND, as if this weren’t enough good news …today I am also announcing my first ever giveaway!! I am so excited!! One lucky reader will receive a free poster (size of their choice, unframed). All you have to do is leave a comment here or on my Facebook or Twitter. You can also follow me on Instagram and comment on my poster image. Enter to win up to four times if you leave a comment at each place! Please include a way to get in touch with you. Contest ends June 27th, 2013 at midnight. The winner will be chosen at random and I will contact the winner directly.

Thank you, as always, for your support and enthusiasm!! And remember to always thank your child’s art teacher whenever you get the chance…it will mean the world to them.

xo Bar

{this giveaway now closed}

 

Notepads for Teacher


Notepads for Teacher

Yesterday, my printer dropped off our notepads that the kids made for their teachers, and they are perfect. I wanted to share this idea with you because I think this is a really easy and inexpensive way for your child to give their teacher something personal, meaningful, and useful! All you need is a black sharpie or pen, and a local printer that you can visit (or better yet, scan in the drawing and send to the local printer via email).

My seventh grader chose to rubber stamp her teacher’s names. I love the simplicity.

The other two, in first and fourth grade, chose to draw. I love how my seven-year old attempted his first bubble letters. And how his teacher will never forget who made her that pad with the penguin.

The pads are 5″ x 8″ with 100 sheets. They cost me $7 each. Next week I will share the gift tags I made, which are awfully cute. (If you want a head start on wrapping, you could download the ones I made from last year).

Have a happy weekend!

xo, Bar

 

Montessori Letter Tracing


Montessori Letter Tracing

At any given moment, my son is obsessed with at least thirty different things. Two-thirds of them relate to sports or food. Then you have the chinese erasers, Oliver Jeffers, cool pens, etc. category. Within this last group falls his obsession with script, and his love of similes. Yes, similes. He’s talked in similes for a couple of years now, and they always make me laugh. Similes are the way he expresses himself when he wants to make his point. What I love most about his similes is that they give me a glimpse into the inner-workings of his fascinating seven-year-old brain. He thinks pumpkins are clean and chickens are hungry! He’s a poet (or a comedian)…both are awesome.

His obsession with script is because his cousin in London of the same age has been writing in script since birth, practically. Our school doesn’t teach script until third grade which, in my opinion, is missing the boat. Montessori educators believe that at around age 4 1/2, children “explode” into writing. This is the perfect time to start them tracing letters with a pencil (before that age they can trace with their finger). Thank God for cousins abroad who inspire! For about a year now he has been tracing my script letters. This time, I decided to mix his love of similes with his passion for script. We used these neon Bistro Chalk Markers, which are so cool to write with as they glide smoothly along the black surface.

As the little guy was tracing his similes with his tricked out pens, he told me that he was as psyched as a cow!

 

Color Study // Liquid Water Color


Color Study // Liquid Water Color

color study with liquid watercolor ~ art making for all ages | art bar

color study with liquid watercolor ~ art making for all ages | art bar

Aren’t these paintings so pretty? I had a little art class with the kids in the neighborhood to try out these color studies and they really got into it – creating some stunning pieces. To read the full post, hop over to Melanie’s blog You Are My Fave. Her blog is just lovely, with a winning combination of the cutest ideas + photos + writing. And not only that, she is so nice! Today I am a guest on her blog and I couldn’t be happier. Thank you Melanie!

 

Self-Portraits: What They Reveal


Self-Portraits: What They Reveal

I recently did small paintings with the kids, which I wrote about here. One of their “assignments” was to paint a self-portrait. I helped them a little bit by drawing the proportions for them lightly in pencil. This way, they all had the same starting point. I had them use a black sharpie to draw their face and hair, and then use watercolor to paint the rest.

I revisited this project often over the course of a month, inviting their friends and other neighborhood kids to make one whenever they happened to be over at our house. I wanted a collection of self-portraits because there was something that was beginning to fascinate me. As I watched these kids (ages 5 to 12) draw in their facial features, they all had a different innate style. Some drew their mouth gigantic, some so small they were hardly there. There were noses and eyes in all sizes, too. I began to wonder…were these drawings arbitrary, or did they mean something? I did a little research and here is what I discovered:

Eyes: Large eyes indicate intellectual curiosity, a vivid imagination, and sensitivity. Small eyes show organization.

Nose: A large nose shows decisiveness, an idealistic mind and bossiness. A small nose shows kindness and sensitivity.

Lips: A large mouth show emotional availability and a sensitive nature. Full lips indicate a confident, spontaneous, risk-taker with a charming nature. Thin lips indicate a measured and selective person who appreciates subtlety.

Forehead: A large forehead shows an ability to learn and digest information. A smaller forehead shows a person who acts first and thinks afterwards. An average forehead means you’re intelligent and able to see two sides to every story.

Of course we should take this all with a grain of salt. They could have been copying their neighbor (ha)! But interesting, nonetheless.

 

 

Drawing Books for Kids


Drawing Books for Kids

I came across this Fingerprint book by Marion Deuchars and it sparked something in me. I loved making fingerprint animals when I was a growing up! I can’t believe I haven’t tried this with my kids. I am definitely adding this book to my Amazon cart for Christmas, I’m so excited.

I decided to do a little research to find the best drawing books that ignite creativity in the little ones. As you can imagine, there are many books on drawing out there. I wanted to keep the list short and pick just the ones that I thought would instantly excite the kids, with very few directions and good graphics.

I could not make a list of drawing books without including award winner Ed Emberly. I would spend hours as a kid learning how to draw from his books. I still have one of them on my shelf! Granted, it’s not the open-ended art experience that I promote in our house. But the kids do LOVE it, and it keeps them busy. Also, there comes a time in their young lives when they realize that they can’t draw something perfectly. This usually happens around the age of 7 or 8. I found that my girls would start to draw lots of hearts, peace signs and rainbows. I can’t tell you how much this drives me crazy. So taking out Ed Emberly can actually free them up and remind them that drawing is fun and that they should try new things. This book is also great for the reluctant artist. (Ages 4 and up.)

Fotoplay by Mj Bronstein is an art activity book that blends realism and fantasy. It’s rare to find a book like this that uses photos as prompts to spark the imagination. It’s smart and funny and gets kids to think outside of the lines. Great for road trips or vacation days. (Ages 5 and up.)

642 Things To Draw is the perfect inspirational sketchbook. With its collection of offbeat and clever drawing prompts, this book is perfect for that child or teen who loves to draw. Inside this simple book are blank pages with just a prompt at the top: A rolling pin, a robot, a pickle, a water tower, a hammock, a wasp, a safety pin, a kiss. I am getting this for all three of my kids (and will secretly fill some pages myself!). (Ages 4 and up)

I will keep searching for more great art books and share them with you again!

Ed Emberly Photos via Trula Kids.

 

Wall of Sight Words


Wall of Sight Words

My son is six and learning to read. To learn his sight words, we use little cards and put about 10-15 in a baggie next to his bed. Once he knows them cold, we tape them to his wall. Now that we have so many up there, we can make full sentences!

Me: The old fly can look this way and that.

Him: People who find number two like each other. (Fits of laughter.)

Me: Many old people walk into each other. (Uncontrollable laughter.)

Him: You can just walk there to do number two. (Wetting his pants with laughter.) 

As you can tell, every sentence for him involves ‘number two’ which I innocently taped next to each other. But I will take potty humor as long as there is laughter and learning!

Tip: Only put the words they know cold up on the wall, this way it makes playing the sentence game fun and not work. They are proud of their growing knowledge!

 

Why Art in School Matters


Why Art in School Matters

A little something to think about this week on the subject of art for kids (my favorite subject).

I came across an article in the Boston Globe about the importance of teaching art in school in this era of standardized tests. If you have the time to read the whole article, do it. It’s not long and it’s very good. Here are a few excerpts that I thought were the most profound:

………………………

“Art for Our Sake: School arts classes matter more than ever – but not for the reasons you think” By Ellen Winner and Lois Hetland

“There is a very good reason to teach arts in schools, and it’s not the one that arts supporters tend to fall back on…[that] art makes you smarter.

In a recent study of several art classes in Boston-area schools, we found that arts programs teach a specific set of thinking skills rarely addressed elsewhere in the curriculum – and that far from being irrelevant in a test-driven education system, arts education is becoming even more important as standardized tests…exert a narrowing influence over what schools teach.

We need the arts because in addition to introducing students to aesthetic appreciation, they teach other modes of thinking [and skills] we value.

Such skills include…reflection, self-criticism, [persistence], [expression] and the willingness to experiment and learn from mistakes. All are important to numerous careers, but are widely ignored by today’s standardized tests…which reveal little about a student’s intellectual depth or desire to learn, and are poor predictors of eventual success and satisfaction in life.

Those who have learned the lessons of the arts…how to see new patterns, how to learn from mistakes, and how to envision solutions – are the ones likely to come up with the novel answers needed most for the future.”

………………………

Ok, well this article enlightened and inspired me so much that I had to make a little poster to hang up on my wall and share with my kids. Pass this around to EVERYONE! And give your child’s art teacher a big hug when you see him or her to let them know how much you appreciate them.

Have a great week!

{update: this poster is now for sale!}

 

Small Paintings


Small Paintings

These small paintings are beautiful, aren’t they? I love this project. It is perfect for any age (we had ages 2 to 12 painting these sweet little gems), and the white edge is so striking and arty it just makes me happy. Truly, you could have the ugliest little painting but when that tape comes off it becomes a Rothko or an O’Keefe. It’s magical!

Supplies:

Watercolors (we used our awesome new set from Vilac)

Tape (I tried both masking and washi to similar effect)

Brushes

Sponge

Watercolor paper (cut to 4 x 6)

Tape down a piece of paper for each person (our border is about 1/4″). I put out newspaper but you could easily tape it to another piece of paper so it’s movable, or directly to your work surface. This is not a messy project, the newspaper was really there just to protect the table from the tape. We did several variations on the small theme: small portraits, small still lifes and small abstracts. (For more in depth instruction on using watercolors with kids, you can read my post here.) The only rule was to cover all of the paper with paint. (This makes for a more dramatic white edge!)

Once they are dry, sloooowwwwly peel off the tape. And then, voila! You have beautiful art to hang in your home.

Enjoy this project…and you should make one, too! Leave the supplies out for a day or two and make many paintings so that you can hang them all up together.

Via Red Bird Crafts