This week’s little fires

Art projects are like little fires. See more of them here.

Coloring pages

This week I started making my own watercolor pages for the kids to add to. Started with a waterproof brush pen drawing and then they added watercolors on top. I think they turned out

Here are the results. I didn’t think about this before but now I’m thinking about doing a whole book of illustrations each for them and compiling them into some sort of narrative after-the-fact. Or maybe they should all go into the same book, trucks and unicorns combined. Hmm…

Morning brushes

Also, here are a couple of morning brush pen drawings that turned out pretty good, kite flying and trampoline jumping have featured prominently over the last week.

More electric

Finally, another addition to the electric series.

Illustration of Sam painting.
The creative force is strong with this one.
Art Kids Parenting

Four little fires

I like to think of art projects like little fires. First you gather your wood (the materials), you built it (get everything set-up) and then you light it. When inspiration strikes, you get burning.

I love the process of gathering the materials from the store (art, craft, book, hardware, etc) and have them all ready, meaning out and in view, so we can work when the mood strikes. Until I have a dedicated studio space this means transforming our dining table over the weekend, but here’s proof that it’s worth it: four projects done over the past four roughly four weeks that just sort of happened because the fire was ready to be lit.

The mini-zine

I got this idea from Austin Kleon. I never knew how to fold and tear a piece of paper like this until now, and it’s a little detail that makes it super easy to transform any piece of paper into a mini-zine. No idea where the story came from either.

Mixing by hand

Me: “Sam you want to do some painting?”
Sam: “Yes daddy!”
Slide out some large sheets of card stock. Squeeze tubes of different color paints on. Watch him mix. Repeat!

The paper laptop

Vivian created this paper model of a laptop complete with fold out keyboard, sitckers on the case, kick stand, and laptop sleeve with handles. It’s just like what her parents use, and she even drew a browser on the screen showing “Google: Unicorns” on it with the search result.

No one helped her, no one even knew she was working on it. We were just going about doing chores while she was busy doing something at the dining-table-turned-studio.

The box critters

Kav made these with the kids, starting with some cutouts from a magazine and expanding into homemade hands and eyes and tails of all sorts. Reusing materials from around the house is a bonus, as it the fact that this art gets named and played with after. This genre of art project (box critter-making?) is an underrated wellspring that we’ll be sure to tap into more often.

I love art projects. Keep burning those fires!

Art Parenting

Rainy day watercolors

Last Saturday Kav and the kids and I were faced with a stormy Saturday with no plans and very little daylight to work with. Luckily I have been amassing a small bunkers-worth of art supplies, including some proper watercolor supplies. You don’t have to ask me twice, queue art project time!

Fight water with water!

Watercolor is one of my favorite mediums, but I think it often gets a bad rap as something that’s overly messy or difficult to do. I’m definitely no expert, but it’s always fun to play with water with kiddos and with the right supplies, it’s really easy to create cool art with.

Here are some of the things that made this session good:

  1. I have actual watercolor paper. Although our paint was whatever, having paper that can actually take a little water is key.
  2. We had multiple pieces going at the same time. Watercolor involves a lot of back-and-forth between being wet and letting things dry. Letting things dry can be, well, boring, so that’s when you work on piece number 2 (or 3 or 4).
  3. We worked on the pieces gradually after the Saturday as well. I have waterproof pens and we added to the paintings on an ongoing basis over the week. There’s something about having pieces visible and in progress that feels good.
  4. We tried different techniques. I showed them washes, we tipped the pages and watched the color run in different directions and used that as a tool for flower stems. There was plenty of exploration.

Afterwards I started to see how this kind of project could translate well into a workshop setting. Kav’s been prompting me to do something like that at the kids school, so we’ll see. We’re starting out the new year with a new medium. Here are a few of the finished pieces: