Thursday, October 19, 2017

O'keeffe inspired acrylics

How could I do a camp themed on doing everything supersize and not utilize Georgia O'Keeffe for the acrylic project?

10 year old


We spent some time looking through a large book I have of all her flower paintings. We debriefed several of the artworks and the kids had a lot of insightful things to say.

6 year old

6 year old



Each child was given a large canvas to use for their creation and I cut flowers and leaves from my backyard for reference. For fun I gave each of them some white gesso with a palette knife and a piece of cardboard to experiment creating texture on their canvases before painting.

We did this at the end of the camp the day before so it had time to dry by the next morning.

7 year old


They had the option to focus on one leaf, one flower or several from the bunches I brought into the studio.

6 year old


They mixed all their own colors from a primary palette with black and white.

8 year old

Although it would be cool, I do not have carnivorous plants in my backyard. This child utilized the file cabinet full of reference for this painting. However the addition of the spider was all his own!


9 year old



Love how each child interpreted the project and the wide variety of flower paintings we had at the end.

9 year old

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

large ink bird drawings on rice paper

Everything was supersize in the Supersize It! art camp.

So instead of cutting up the large sheets of rice paper, the kids created ink paintings using a full size sheet.

So we are talking very big pieces of paper.

Using India Ink and a sumi-e brush, the young artist created a gestural ink drawing  of a bird and then using colored inks painted their drawings.

Although they used reference, I encouraged them to create birds from their imaginations.


I love the way they turned out. They are so vibrant and full of so much personality.



Some children realized that although they thought they were drawing their birds big, they in fact were still drawing small for the size of the paper and were left with a lot of negative space.


But what an incredible opportunity that turned out to be to figure out a way to problem solve what to do next and really resolve it with some amazing new compositions they hadn't first thought about doing. I love how the addition of the branch adds interest to the flying bird's movement and how one of the youngest artist added additional birds to a wire to create a repetitive pattern to the one original small bird she placed on the paper.


This brushes of blue around this bird with the nod to a tree on the right is quite brilliant. When I look at this I can hear Picasso's quote of how adult artist are always trying to draw like children as would we with all our training have the courage to just place a couple of brushstrokes of blue to represent sky next and a quick stroke of green for tree to frame a bird?


I was quite impressed with all the kids compositions to be truthful. I think just trying to manage reaching the full paper from top to bottom led to some choices they would not of made normally.


A couple of children really worked with creating an abstracted version of a bird from real life. LOVE this woodpecker!


And this Dodo bird?! The only thing better than the picture is the conversation that happened while he was painting it. He went on and on about how he wished he could see a Dodo bird. How sad it was that the bird is extinct. I thought that was so sweet and then he announced he wished they were still around so he could eat one because he wondered what they would taste like.

Not where I thought the conversation was going......out of the mouth of babes.

A couple of the kids wanted to explore the inks a little more after they finished their first artworks and I had some extra paper cuts for them to play with.


This one was created using a quill pen on rice paper instead of the semi-e brush. I don't know why, but I can absolutely see this as a tattoo.


And this boy just wanted to play with mark making and explore the strokes he could make with the brush.

Vibrant. Bold. Original. 

These paintings are some of my favorites to come out of the studio during the summer. I love how using the ink and brush along with the large paper helped the kids really open up their strokes and create some very loose drawings full of personality.

I'm sure I'll be coming back to these materials in the future.










Tuesday, October 17, 2017

large watercolor paintings

I ran an art camp where the theme was big.

Every single project was supersized.

"on the hunt" 8 year old


We started the week with very large watercolor paintings.

dragon, 9 year old

I suggested the subject matter be their favorite animal.

flying unicorn, 6 year old

pygmy puff, 7 year old


We discussed foreground, mid ground, and background as they sketched their compositions.

photobombing hamster, 7 year old


I asked them when faced with such a large piece of paper if their animals should be small?

Thankfully I got a resounding NO!!

eye of the dragon, 9 year old


I then offered up a challenge to draw their favorite animal SO LARGE that only a portion of the animal was on the paper with the caveat that this was only a suggestion and that it was up to them to make the artistic choice as to how they decided to compose their picture.

panda in bamboo forest, 6 year old


Each child then had a palette of primary colors along with black for painting so they could use the project to explore color mixing.

dragon war, 10 year old


The results are super fantastic!