Not All Artists Use Brushes: Finger painting for the fun of it

Posted by on Jan 9, 2015 in Creating, Slider | 0 comments

I love finger painting! It’s a fun, colorful, tactile way to create. As an educator and a parent, nothing can compare to witnessing the joy and surprise on children’s faces as they use their senses to create. Finger paint has a pleasant aroma, an interesting feel, the ability to mix an infinite number of colors, and great squishy sounds. It even tastes good if the paint is pudding.  Shaving cream is another alternative to paint. When my daughter was little, after eating spaghetti, I’d place some shaving cream in the tray of her highchair and let her finger paint the mess away.   Prepare Your Workspace – Cover the work area with a dollar store plastic tablecloth. It’s big and waterproof. – Use a finger paint tray to contain the mess – a jelly roll pan works great. Line it with the paper. – For the palette use a muffin pan lined with cupcake liners or glue 6 cupcake liners onto a piece of cardboard.   Three cups for the three primary colors and the other three cups are for mixing secondary colors (orange, green, violet)   Gather Up Your Materials – Finger paints in primary colors (red, yellow, blue or cyan, magenta, yellow) The latter colors blend better but you will need to make your own finger paints to get the cyan and magenta. – Paper (finger paint paper or freezer paper) – Damp paper towels to clean fingers – this is a must – especially for the sensory challenged child or adult.   Tools – Fingers (required) – Plastic fork, knife, comb (optional) – A smock (Don’t forget this! An over-sized t-shirt is best – it covers everything and the sleeves are the right length.)   THE SCIENCE PART OF ART Place a small dollop of paint in the muffin tin. Less is best and it’s easy to refill if needed. Too much and you make a huge mess. Mix some red and yellow and see what happens. Wipe fingers on the paper towel. Mix some yellow and blue and see what happens. Wipe fingers on the paper towel. Mix some blue and red and see what happens. Wipe fingers on the paper towel.   LET THE CREATIVITY BEGIN! There are no rules – except paint goes on the paper in the tray. One finger at a time – that works. Paint on all fingers – that works, too. Mixing paint in the cupcake pan is perfectly acceptable. Blending colors on the paper – keep that creativity going! Explore lines, shapes, color, texture (the comb, fork and knife are great tools to achieve this), pattern and space. Experiment with fingerprints – notice the whorls of skin that make each of us...

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Every Picture Tells a Story: Let’s start the conversation!

Posted by on Sep 17, 2014 in Seeing, Slider | 1 comment

What an interesting painting! What do you see? Taking a child to a museum or looking at art can be an extraordinary way to encourage not only an appreciation of the arts, but to strengthen powers of observation, build language skills, enhance vocabulary, and encourage discovery and problem solving. It’s amazing how perceptive and curious young children are about art. While visiting the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, I was in awe of a class of nursery school kids, probably 3 years old, with their teacher sitting in front of Raphael’s Madonna of the Goldfinch. Imagine my delight watching the children and teacher having a conversation about what they saw. Even if I didn’t understand the language spoken, it was obvious that each child was engaged in the activity. They were mesmerized and eager to add their ideas! The fact that figures in the painting were unclothed didn’t seem to matter. As an American art teacher, who taught in an elementary school where some parents asked the principal to remove art books that contained nudes from the school library, I was enchanted by the choice of the painting. An art museum can be overwhelming, with crowds of people, guards, sights, sounds, endless galleries of paintings, sculpture, ART. You can make it friendly and fun. Less is best, pick a section or gallery and focus on one or two artworks on your visit. Can’t get to a museum? Use the vast resources of the Internet (every art museum has a website) to find a piece of art to appreciate. Check out the art books at the public library. Here’s where it becomes fun. Start the conversation. Find an interesting painting that you like or one that your child is drawn to. Ask a few leading questions. WHO is in the picture? WHERE are they? WHAT is going on? WHY are they doing that? WHEN does it take place? Really look at the image – is it day or night? How can you tell? Check out the clothing, it’s a great clue to when the action takes place. HOW does it make you feel? Check out the colors, shapes, lines, textures, values (light and dark) and the use of space. Are objects near or far? HOW did the artist show this? The list is endless and so is the conversation. One last bit of advice – let this be child-centered. Read the cues and know when it’s time to move on. To get you started here is a selection of artworks that tell a story.   The Harvesters Pieter Bruegel the Elder Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York   The Boating Party Mary Cassatt National Gallery Of Art, Washington, DC   Old Man...

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