Tag Archives: painting

Kids Art Week Lesson Two: Night Skies

Today we did the second lesson of Kids Art Week, which was to make these fun night sky paintings, using crayons as a wax resist.

I think there was a hurricane going on in Waif’s night sky:


Mine is a bit more dreamy:


We haven’t been doing as much art lately, and I think taking part in this workshop has made us both realise how much we have missed it. Here’s to including more art in our home education schedule!

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Kids Art Week Lesson One: Picasso Dogs

A few weeks back, I mentioned that we had signed up for Carla Sonheim’s free Kids Art Week class. Yesterday, we did the first lesson: Picasso Dogs. We had such fun with this that Waif (10) and I made two “dogs” each 🙂

Here are Waif’s two creatures:

picasso dog #1 Rafe1

picasso dog #2 Rafe

And here are mine:

picasso dog #2 Viv

picasso dog #1 Viv

We can’t wait for the next lesson!

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Prompt60 #3 Green

prompt 60 #3 full spread

prompt 60 #3 lhs

prompt 60 #3 rhs

This journal page is my response to Daisy Yellow’s Prompt60 #3, which was about creating a collage around the colour of green and baring in mind the principles of book page design. You can read the full information about the prompt here.

I enjoyed pulling together lots of green ephemera. In fact, I discovered that a large proportion of bits and pieces that I had saved in my collage box were green, so I guess I am drawn to the colour. The chap on the right hand page is Milarepa, an ancient Tibetan yogi and poet. He is sometimes referred to as the “Green Yogi” as it is told that, after subsisting on a diet of nothing but nettles, his skin turned green “and even the hairs on his head became bristly and green.”

After making the collage, the prompt suggested journalling some words in the margins. I feel my words may owe some explanation! I am reading Norman Fischer’s “Training in Compassion: Zen Teachings on the Practice of Lojong“. Lojong is a Tibetan Buddhist practice, training in generating compassion and wisdom with the help of short slogans. The first slogan is “Train in the Preliminaries”. Fischer suggests this can be interpreted in three main ways:

1. Recognising that regardless of what has happened in your life and why, it is your life and you are the only one equipped to deal with it.
2. Practice meditation. Daily if possible!
3. Follow the traditional set of reflections – I have written these around the edges of the right hand page. (The rarity and preciousness of human life; the absolute inevitability of death; the awesome and indelible power of our actions; the incapability of suffering)

One of the questions he suggests asking of yourself has really struck me and that is “Am I a force for good in the world?” and this I have written in the bottom right hand corner.

I hope this goes some way to explaining the possibly slightly unusual (and some might consider, morbid) phrases in my journal page!

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Bad Art, Buddha and the Gifts of Imperfection

I am sure you will agree that there is a lot of amazing art to be found online. There are talented drawers, painters, mixed media artists, textile artists, sculptors…and it’s easy to get into the mindset of “who do I think I am, sharing my feeble attempts at art when there is so much quality work out there?” I know I feel like this at times. I recently came across Brene Brown’s work, and in particular her book “The Gifts of Imperfection” and I feel much better about making art, and about sharing it. In her chapter on creativity, she talks about the importance of letting go of comparison in relation to our creativity. As she says this is “not a to-do list item. For most of us, it’s something that requires constant awareness. It’s easy to take our eyes off our path to check out what others are doing and if they’re ahead or behind us”. I am trying to cultivate this awareness. I am trying to approach looking at others’ work in a spirit of interest and appreciation rather than with a feeling of “I’d never be able to do something as great as that”. And to realise that it’s ok to share my work, however imperfect, in the hope that others will share theirs, however imperfect, and that we can all understand that our creativity cannot be compared.

In this spirit, I share with you my second attempt at a watercolour-only piece which is this little painting of a Buddha head statue that I did. It’s far from perfect, but I enjoyed painting it 🙂


Some might say it is “bad art” but so what! Listening to Grayson Perry’s recent Reith Lectures, I found myself nodding in agreement with his answer to an audience member’s question as to whether it is important to be a good artist or can you be a bad artist:

It’s important to make art because the people that get the most out of art are the ones that make it. It’s not … You know there’s this idea that you go to a wonderful art gallery and it’s good for you and it makes you a better person and it informs your soul, but actually the person who’s getting the most out of any artistic activity is the person who makes it because they’re sort of expressing themselves and enjoying it, and they’re in the zone and you know it’s a nice thing to do. So I don’t think it’s important to be a good artist, no, unless you really want to be one and it can be very painful if you aren’t.

So express yourself, enjoy yourself and don’t worry if it is “good” or “bad” 😉

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With one thing and another, it’s been a while since the boys and I made some art together. Lately, I’ve been somewhat obsessed with paintings of trees so when I saw this project on the wonderful Art Projects for Kids blog, I knew I wanted to do it and persuaded the boys to join me :-).

Here’s Waif’s interpretation:

whimsical trees - rafe

And Gman’s:

whimsical trees - george

And mine:

whimsical trees - viv

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Going Dotty for Lichtenstein

Ahead of our planned trip to the Lichtenstein exhibition at the Tate Modern, the boys have been learning a bit about Lichtenstein and his art. Today, we made tributes to Lichtenstein based around advertisements. Gman and I based our paintings on adverts from a food magazine, and Waif made his own advert for a games console. We used good ole sequin waste to get the dotty effect. What fun!

Here’s mama’s frying pan:

Lichtenstein style - mama

Gman’s knife:

Lichtenstein style - G

And Waif’s games console:

Lichtenstein style - R

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Colourful Faces

We have been having some more fun in a Warhol style! Mugshots were taken, desaturated and posterized in Photoshop, then printed out, whereupon we got to work with the acrylic paint:

warhol r
warhol g
warhol mama

Fun, fun, fun!

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Plums in April?

plums in april

I wouldn’t normally buy plums in April, but these were a gift from my mother-in-law. I’m not sure how edible they will be, but I am sure they will be greatly improved by stewing with some honey, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. And they were fun to draw 🙂

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Raising (Cave) Boys

The boys have had some fun today learning about prehistoric cave painting. After reading a bit about prehistoric art from library books on the subject, and looking at pictures online of caves in Lascaux, they had a go at creating some of their own prehistoric style art.

They tore large pieces of brown wrapping paper up and scrumpled them to get a nice texture. We then popped out in the garden to gather sticks for painting with:

painting with sticks

Next they set to painting bison and stick figures and so on. Here’s Waif getting stuck in:

waif paints bison

And some detail from his finished piece:

waifs hand cave artwaifs bison cave art

And here’s Gman’s version:

gman cave art

And if you thought I wouldn’t be able to resist joining in as well, you’d be right. Here’s my bison:

mamas cave art bison

Actually, painting with sticks was quite liberating – it certainly frees you from any perfectionist expectations!

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Mad for Mondrian

After a few hectic and unsettling weeks, this week I decided to do some artist study with the boys. We selected Mondrian, and the boys have created two masterpieces each in his style.

First, using black electrical tape and coloured paper:

Mondrian - R
Mondrian - G

Then following instructions from “That Little Art Teacher” to create these Mondrian style animals.

Waif went for a fish:

Mondrian Fish

And Gman for a turtle:

Mondrian Turtle

Aren’t they super? We actually took the paints and things outside and sat in the garden doing these (hooray for the flexibility of home education!), and because I can never resist joining in, I even made an animal of my own:

Mondrian Snake

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