Tag Archives: Family

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.

Making Art As A Family

Family Art From it's A Dome Life (making art with kids)
Family Art

We have been making art as a family for our living room. I bought some big canvases and a couple of large pieces of Ampersand Aquaboard so we could create a few paintings to hang on our empty walls. I am painting all of the time, but I rarely seem to get anything up on the wall. We’ve lived here close to 4 years now and many of our walls are still bare. Decorating is one of those things I always plan to do, but never seem to get to.

Making Art As a Family
Jim’s silly face

I wanted to have some paintings that also held shared memories for all of us. That seemed appropriate for the living room where we spend most of our time together. Creating the paintings together seemed like the best way to have fun and make a few memories. The first one we created using alcohol inks on Ampersand Aquabord .

Ink drips For Family Art
Ink Drips For Family Art

We all worked together dropping the ink with droppers and paint brushes. Jim even drew a funny face. We picked it up and tilted it so the ink ran in different directions. We had a blast.

Posing with family art (making art with kids)
Posing with family art.

The second one Tiny-Small and I created together. We have some Mexican furniture in our dining room and living room so we really wanted to make something that tied all of the colors together. We were inspired by a Mexican blanket that we have. Tiny-Small and I had a great time painting together. She even made up a story about the paint drips being rain and she drew a sun, with pencil, on the top of the canvas to make the rain go away. I am looking forward to hanging it on the wall with her this afternoon.

Tiny-Small Paints (making art with kids).
Tiny-Small painting the big canvas. Making art as a family is really fun.

I was debating doing some zentangle type painting over the top of it, but I think I will leave it as is for a while and see if it really needs anything else done to it. Tiny-Small is very proud of the painting she did and I worry if I paint something over it that she will feel like her contribution has been diminished. Plus, I kind of like it the way it is. Making family art for our walls is something I hope to continue doing. It makes me feel really good when my family takes part in my biggest passion.

Posing with family art (making art with kids).
Posing with family art 2 in the studio. She’s a blur because she never stops wiggling! NEVER!!!


Yesterday was the last day of the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge. Today all of the participants are creating collages of of their completed paintings. You might like to stop by Leslie Saeta’s blog and check out the collages. They are pretty neat to see. I like to see how some people use color or have a very specific painting style and the collages really emphasize those qualities of their work. It’s fun to see all 30 paintings in one place too.

30 Paintings in 30 days January 2015 - Lillian Connelly


Have a wonderful Saturday! Tell me a story about making family art. Have you ever done it?

Bedtime Postponement Tactics

Bedtime can be difficult for parents with small children, but our child is especially skilled at bedtime postponement tactics. Yes, I am bragging. Some parents brag about Harvard. I brag about my child’s ability to outwit her parents. It takes a special talent to be this good at postponing bedtime. A very special talent!

At first Tiny-Small engaged in the usual behaviors. She needed a drink of water, the boogie-man-clown monster was under her bed, she was hungry, she wasn’t tired, she just needed to watch one more episode of Daniel Tiger and then she would totally fall asleep…she swore.

Bedtime Postponement Tactics
Non-stop energy.

We have seen and heard it all, but then she started doing something new. She started fake coughing. At first I thought it was real and I was very concerned, but then it turned out to be fake.  A ruse. A well calculated distraction from the inevitable. She could win an academy award for fake coughing.

When she was a baby I thought she was going to be an actress famous for her horror movie scream. Somehow, this fake coughing performance has moved her into the drama genre which is definitely academy gold. At the age of four she has moved past the B movie category and into Glenn Close territory.  I am already picking out the mansion she will buy me, in her twenties, and what I am going to wear to the academy awards ceremony.  Yes, I will demand to be her plus one. I have earned it.

Those fantasies are the only thing keeping me sane through this bedtime postponement tactic phase. Between making sure she gets enough exercise to be tired every night and the endless trips to get her a drink of water I am often at my wits end by the time she falls asleep. I am often falling asleep before she falls asleep. Or, really, just trying to keep my eyes open through sheer will.

The other night when Jim got home from work I was so tired that I handed the bedtime ritual over to him, laid down on the guestroom bed, and immediately fell asleep. I slept there all night! I was exhausted. Meanwhile, Tiny-Small spins like a top day and night. Her little brain is working over-time thinking up new bedtime postponement tactics. If she decides against being an actress, a dog doctor, or a ballerina I am pretty sure she will have no trouble getting through the Army’s special ops military training.

She will give a whole new meaning to the term “army brat” and as she follows in her father’s military footsteps, I will likely spend my days hoping she hasn’t worn her drill Sargent out too much.

If only I could steal just a little bit of her energy…