watercolor

Invitation to Paint


Invitation to Paint

Ever since my kids were very little, I have always put materials out in hopes that they would walk by, sit down, and get inspired. I just never knew until recently that there is a name for this philosophy! It’s called an “Invitation to Play”. I love this! It’s a term that is rooted in the Reggio Emilia approach to teaching and is used often with Early Childhood educators. Now that mine are older, I still do this but less with toys and more with art.

invitation to paint ~ still lives and open-ended paint exploring

This latest invitation was simple. I just taped a small piece of watercolor paper to the table with green tape. I put out a little still life, some watercolors and some colored pencils.

invitation to paint ~ still lives and open-ended paint exploring

invitation to paint ~ still lives and open-ended paint exploring

invitation to paint ~ still lives and open-ended paint exploring

invitation to paint ~ open-ended art exploration

invitation to paint ~ open-ended art exploration

This littlest artist decided to use some glitter glue and hearts that she found on the shelf to create her own abstract work of art. I like her thinking!

There are so many ways to create an invitation to play. Read this post by The Imagination Tree to get started, or search Pinterest where you will surely find one million ideas! One great Pinterest board is the Rockin’ Art Moms board that I happen to be part of. The other 11 members are well-versed in the Reggio language and they have a plethora of brilliant ideas.

xo, Bar

 

Giant Christmas Tree Paintings


Giant Christmas Tree Paintings

While we have the paints out from our teacher gift tags, let’s make big paintings! From small format to big, there’s nothing the kids love better than changing things up.

Read more about how these were made, the supplies you will need, and photos of all three finished products on Melanie’s blog You Are My Fave! And while you’re there, browse around at all her other inspirational posts. Her blog is just lovely.

This weekend is our big move (three streets over…but it might as well be to Mars I feel so ambivalent and unprepared), so send good thoughts!

xo, Bar

 

Sunburst Paintings


Sunburst Paintings

Today is our first day back to school. I am biting my nails. I don’t know whether to be sad or happy. Both, I guess. To kick off the school year I am sharing a simple “art meets math” project with quite beautiful results. Please click over to Small for Big for my Art Bar Monday post. And let me know if you make these paintings… I’d love to see!

Happy back to school everyone!

xo Bar

 

Circle Paintings + Floating Frame


Circle Paintings + Floating Frame

Today is a very exciting day for me! I am contributing to one of my favorite blogs, Small for Big. Mari calls her blog “A design blog without a snooty attitude” which is not only true, but also one of the reasons why I love it so much. Small for Big has a very playful attitude with just the right mix of design, DIY and shopping.

Mari was so nice to indulge me and let me post about a fun little art lesson for the kids: Circle Paintings! But before you click over to her blog to see how we made these beautiful paintings, I first wanted to show you how I framed one of them. I have always been intrigued by floating frames. Recently, I found this photo on Pinterest which set my wheels in motion. With just a few supplies, and literally a few minutes, this cool + simple frame was made.

Here’s what you will need: Frame (bigger than your art by about 1 inch on each side), wire (22 gauge or thinner), wire cutters or scissors, eye screws (12mm), mini clothespins.

(I picked up everything from my local hardware store and Jerry’s Artorama.)

Step 1: Take the glass and backing out of the frame. Turn it over to expose the back and lay it flat on the table. Center the painting inside the frame, eyeballing it (or you could use a ruler if you don’t trust your eyes). Draw a pencil mark 1cm below the top of the painting and 1cm above the bottom of the painting, (you want the wire to be just below the top and just above the bottom of the painting).

Step 2: Screw in the screws to the side of the frame (the thickest part of the wood). Just push them and turn and they will start to screw into the wood and become secure.

Step 3: Cut your wire about 2″ longer than the finished length. Thread the ends through the eye screws then twist it around and point the ends back towards the inside of the frame (so it doesn’t poke out the front where you could see it).

Voilà…you are done! I painted my clothespins, but you can leave them plain or buy them colored. Now it is time to read about how we made these beautiful circle paintings on Small for Big. And if you’re the following type, become a fan of Mari’s on Facebook or follow her on Pinterest (she has the BEST Pinterest boards, I swear) or Twitter. Her Instagrams are always so fun, too.

Happy Monday!! xo

 

Valentines // Newspaper Heart Postcards


Valentines // Newspaper Heart Postcards

We used the newspaper from my son’s monster-ninja painting to make these hearts. I love painting over newspaper, it’s such a cool look. And also an excellent way to catch up on local news. (I didn’t know my friend became a real estate broker, for example.) Today, I am so happy to be sharing this post on Melanie’s killer blog, You Are My Fave. I hope you will click over and take a look!

C’mon, try it!

xo

 

Art Story // Ninjas attack Monsters


Art Story // Ninjas attack Monsters

My son recently spent a day home from school, his first “sick” day since he started first grade. I wasn’t being fooled, I knew he wasn’t really sick. But it was a Friday…and his sad eyes were too much for me. He loves to paint so we took out a large piece of watercolor paper, a sharpie and some liquid watercolors. My only instructions were to tell a story and to use the whole page. As his story got more involved, his gum-chewing stopped and his brow furrowed in concentration. His story and characters became more intense as they waged a battle to save the princess. And then he would throw in some comic-relief, like a monster with an earring. It’s so satisfying to watch your child experiencing complete flow…pure happiness.

Thankfully, the camera battery was charged so I could capture his art in the making.

Here’s a little movie about his art story, set to a Chopin waltz which fits his mood perfectly!

 Happy weekend! 

 

 

Homemade Wrap // Part 1


Homemade Wrap // Part 1

My mind is racing these days. How could it not? It’s THE HOLIDAYS, which in theory are supposed to be warm and cozy and a time to give and share with family. Don’t get me wrong, I was actually one of those kids growing up who forced her parents to buy a big tree when they just wanted a mini with less mess. And I would decorate the life out of that sucker with as much handmade goodness as I could fit. I have always loved Christmas. But it’s just not simple anymore. Gifts to buy, gifts to make, when to fit in Christmas with all of the different relatives, what food to cook, recitals, teacher conferences. What am I forgetting? Christmas cards, stocking stuffers, decorate the house. I have not yet perfected ‘planning ahead’, so late nights are my December standard.

What this means is that I have to channel my inner child. The one who just wants everyone to be happy, and who can’t wait to share stuff she’s made. I can do it! And not only that – you can, too!

You might think it’s crazy to make your own wrapping paper during this time of stress (there, I said it). But for me, I still have at least one child who would spend all day making these papers, so it’s actually not any work for me at all. And I get to wrap all of the teacher gifts with this beautiful art, which always makes them smile.

Here’s how to do it: Buy a roll of white paper. Put out sharpies, watercolor, markers, rubber stamps…whatever you have around. Clear the dining room table, and create! Circles, stripes, flowers, patterns…it’s that simple. The bubble wrap printing is a little more involved, I wrote about that here. Perhaps save that for another time.

Here is a link for the cute teacher gift tags.

May the force be with you…and keep smiling, it really does help the mood. ♡

 

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.

 

 

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