Tag Archives: art techniques

10 Tips For creating Fine Art Paintings With Small Children

1. Go Big. Get a giant piece of paper or canvas to work with. Little kids don’t have the best fine motor skills yet so working large makes it more fun and less difficult for them. They can use bigger paint brushes and broader strokes.

2. Go abstract. Don’t worry about trying to make it look like something recognizable. That’s a lot of pressure to put on you and your child. This is about making memories and creating something together. It’s not about expecting your child to be a painting prodigy. Staying open-minded and going with the flow reduces tension and usually results in better outcomes.

3. Focus on process and not the end result. Don’t have a plan in mind. Don’t worry if the colors match your couch or if the shapes reflect your decor. Just get started. Let the child lead. I guarantee you’ll be surprised by what they decide to do. The end result will be so much better if you let go of trying to control things and everyone will have a much better time. Enjoy brush strokes and color.

4. Approach it like an experiment. Try using things to create texture. Paint with a sponge. Spray the paint with water. Use household objects as stamps and stencils. Do things “just to see what happens” and encourage your child to try something new too. Declare that you are artists and scientists. Kids love that. My daughter tells people, “Me and mom work at home. We are scientists and artists.” She’s proud of those titles and they give her confidence when it comes to problem solving or trying new things.

5. Use a color wheel. This is a good lesson about colors for your child. Which colors mix well and which colors don’t? Which colors make other colors seem brighter or dull? Decide ahead of time to limit your color choices so you don’t end up mixing them all together and making mud. Red and blue make purple. Blue and Yellow make green. You can easily add in black and white with red and blue and end up with a very attractive abstract painting when you are done. You don’t need to use every color and deciding that ahead of time and with your child will help you end up with a painting that is much more pleasing to the eye…unless of course you want to explore the many shades of brown and gray! Just decide ahead of time so everyone is on the same page.

10 Tips For Creating Fine Art Paintings With Small Children
Painting with a sponge brush. She paints so fast her brush is a blur!


6. Use the best quality art supplies you can afford or use safely. Some of the paints marketed to kids are really frustrating. Watercolors without enough pigment, brushes that don’t hold the paint, washable paint that is too transparent and doesn’t mix well can all be aggravating to use for both children and adults. Find a good paint that is both safe and easy to use so you can concentrate on having fun instead of grumbling about how things aren’t working well.

7. Model safety. Read the instructions and warnings to your child. Make sure you are following the rules. Are you using age appropriate supplies? Are the windows open? Are you covering surfaces that you don’t want paint on? Most art stores have information on which products might be toxic if ingested or if they get on the skin. Certain paint colors have toxic minerals in them and should be avoided. It’s important to know what you are working with and to take precautions, or not use certain things at all, depending on the age and maturity level of your child.

8. Establish rules and habits for cleaning up. Are the paintbrushes clean? When you invest in good tools and supplies you need to take care of them. This is a good lesson for children to learn as early as possible. Have aprons to protect clothing and hats to protect hair. Kids will accidentally scratch their heads while holding a paintbrush. A painters hat and smock will reduce clean up time by quite a bit.

9. While you are painting ask your child things like, “What is the story behind this painting?”  Does it tell a story? Is it about something? Does it remind them of anything? Does it describe an experience they had? How do the colors make them feel? This is an important part of visual creativity and it’s also a lot of fun. Your child will surprise you again with their vivid imaginations.

10. Hang your finished fine art painting in your home where people can see it. Your child will enjoy talking about it to your friends and family. Your friends and family will enjoy hearing about it too. Plus, hanging a painting you created together as a family sends a message to your child that creativity, team work, and shared experiences are values your family finds important.

Get Your Snail Mail Here!

Snail mail. I have it. Yes I do. Snail mail, just for you! I love snail mail. I have an email newsletter, but it’s not the same as getting real mail. I know you feel the same way because all demographics point to us being people who love actual mail. We are stamp worshippers and envelope hoarders, are we not? Bring us our mail! Bring us our mail! Bring us our mail!

Get Your Snail Mail Here!

So, I am starting a Snail Mail campaign. It’s going to be so much fun. All you have to do is click the snail picture above and it will take you to the sign up page where you can add your address, or you can sign up here: Put Me On The Snail Mail List. Then you will start receiving snail mail from me. Most of the time you will get postcard art, but sometimes, once in a while, you will also get some original art in the mail. It’s going to be a surprise. I plan to send it out once a month starting in August. I hope you will sign up for it. I am going to send you little notes of happiness. I promise.

I will never use your address for evil and you can unsubscribe from the list at anytime through mailchimp or just by saying…get me off this list, lady! I will occasionally (maybe once a quarter) send you an email to ask you if you still want to be on the list just in case. If you are tired of my snail mail ways you can just unsubscribe. It’s that easy.

As an added bonus, anyone who signs up TODAY (July 10, 2014)  will receive one of my altered envelope art pieces! Yay! So sign up today. Get a super fun letter in the mail. Smile all day long!

Also, if you’d like to make your own altered envelopes to send to your friends, here are a few resources to get you started. It’s really fun to mail things back and forth with your friends…hint, hint. Plus, everyone needs something happy mixed in with their bills once in a while, right?

Check out this video by Renee Stein from  www.thetingoat.blogspot.com -she is awesome!

Then go visit my friend Robin Mead Designs on Facebook to see what she created and to get some inspiration for using your own images. Her envelope is gorgeous!

Let’s get snail-mailing!


I See The Seashore – Landscape Day 12

I see the seashore! For some reason this one just reminds me of being out on a boat. The waves are making you bob up and down and sometimes you catch a glimpse of trees on the shore. I am not sure I should call it a seashore because usually you don’t see a row of trees growing out of the sand. Maybe it should be “I see the lakeshore” or “On Golden Pond” so I can catch the attention of Peter Fonda fans. Peter Fonda fans, abstract sea water, and art made by a stay at home mom go together like I don’t know what else, right?

I See The Seashore - Landscape Day 12
I See The Seashore alcohol ink painting on ceramic tile.

Either way, there is water and trees. Two of my favorite things. Plus, being in a boat is pretty fantastic. I miss living on the coast. I miss fresh seafood and sea air and salty-wind-weathered buildings. I miss going to the beach and making sand castles. I miss boardwalks.

Of course, if I moved back to the coast I’d miss the big sky, the green chili, and the mountains in New Mexico. I’d also miss the space and very little traffic. New Mexico has ruined me I think. It gets in your blood. People always say once you live here a while you will always come back no matter how far you move away. Maybe it’s got some kind of spell over people? I don’t know, but I would certainly miss the sun too. I’m becoming a sun worshiper minus the brown, leathery skin. It really helps me feel energetic and happy. When we have a few days of gloom I barely feel motivated to put on my socks. Not good!

So, I used plastic wrap again on this tile to make the waves. The plastic wrap trick works well with watercolors, but a bunch of people in my alcohol ink group have been experimenting with plastic wrap and ink so I had to try it too! It’s so fun. If you like alcohol inks give it a try. Just put some ink on a tile, put a pieces of plastic wrap over it and scrunch it up to get some texture. Let it dry completely and then remove it. You’ll be surprised every single time!

Is there anything you want to know about using alcohol inks? Let me know if you have any questions. I am thinking about making some more video demonstrations soon. I’ll address anything you are interested in knowing more about.

Enjoy your Friday!