Practical Tip ~ Creative Opportunities

We are a very creative family!  Right from the start, I provided art and craft materials and allowed my children much free time to create daily in our homeschooling, which I believe laid the foundation to their  their talent and enjoyment of all things creative.  May I encourage you to do the same?

Homeschool 20154Set up a craft area with supplies to provide creative opportunities for your children.  This is especially good for hands-on activities while the children listen to a read alouds, or for handicraft time in the afternoons.

Art and craft supplies need not be expensive.  I started our collection with a cheap craft purchase here and there each month, and added new, interesting items to our stash to keep my kids excited and stimulated.  I stored these items in Ziploc bags in plastic suitcases, placed in an easily accessible area on the bookshelf.   Read how I organized our art supplies here.1-P1160658-001

Here are 25 art and craft ideas gathered from around the globe on Pinterest ~

  1. Watercolor set, brushes and paper
  2. Wax crayons and watercolor to create wax-resist painting
  3. Giant chalk to create outdoors drawings on concrete floors
  4. Shoestrings and wooden beads
  5. Cheap camera and nature prompt list
  6. Recipes and ingredients
  7. Magazine, scissors and glue to make a collage
  8. Soap block or soft pine wood pieces and carving tools
  9. Wool and pompom maker
  10. Shaving cream, food coloring in a tray to make marbled paper
  11. Lego, cardstock and felt-tipped markers to create a Lego diorama
  12. Flowers and vases or flower press to create a pressed flower collection
  13. Felt, scissors and a felt board
  14. Pipe cleaners and tiny pompoms to create fantasy animals
  15. Sunflower and bean seeds and some small garden  tools
  16. Long piece of cheap fabric, pegs and poles to create a tepee or tent
  17. Tinfoil, card board, glue and string to create foil art
  18. Stamps and stamp pads
  19. Feathers and beads to make necklaces
  20. 51 ideas with shoe boxes
  21. Dress up clothes
  22. Music instruments or let them make their own musical instruments
  23. Twisty balloons
  24. Leaf rubbings with wax crayons
  25. When all else fails – Bored jar with activity ideas
Tips on making art and crafts activities easier ~
  • It is worth spending a while clearly and simply demonstrating to your children how to work with the materials, how to take care with specific things, how to clean up and pack away.
  • Establishing foundation skills with each activity prevents the mess and chaos that most moms hate and therefore avoid doing art and crafts.
  • Purchase some plastic sheeting or cheap painter’s drop cloths to cover the floor if working with messy things.
  • Insist that your children wear an old over-sized T-shirt (my kids loved wearing their dad’s T-shirts) or art smocks or aprons over their clothes.  You can even make aprons out of plastic bags.
  • Set a limit where the activity can take place.  Children may only work in a specific room, on specific tables or floors.  Don’t encourage them to wander around with the supplies.
  • Remind your children to wash paint brushes, close glue tops, pack away when done.
  • Lastly, provide a lovely gallery to display their works of art.

Check out all my art ideas, lesson plans and free downloads on my Art Page.  Have you got any creativity ideas to share with us?  Please share in the comments below.

Here’s wishing you and your family hours and days of fun and creativity!

Blessings, Nadene
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Shared Art Sets

Here’s this weeks’ practical tip ~

art setsWe are a creative family and do a lot of art!  Our art supplies are available on our bookshelf for anyone to use at any time.

I believe in quality over quantity, yet I often bought the large art sets so that we could enjoy the full range of colors.  There’s nothing more thrilling than having several shades of each color to chose from!  So, rather than supply each child with their own basics, I spend the same value of money for 3 children and splurged it on the biggest set we could afford.

If you train your children how to correctly use, clean and store art supplies from the start, they will enjoy years of creative pleasure!  In over 19+ years of homeschool, I have had to periodically replace paint brushes, felt-tipped markers and acrylic paints, but our colored pencils, chalk and oil pastels and our watercolors are still going strong!   A very worthwhile investment!

Once a year, for birthdays, we purchase specific creative supplies for each daughter.  These they use and enjoy for their own pleasure.  We have watched them develop their creativity to produce beautiful gifts, or make and sell their products or develop their hobbies.

Read my posts about buying big art sets and organizing art supplies.

Hope this practical tip helps you in your homeschooling!

Blessings, Nadene

Street Art Appreciation Lesson

Using Charlotte Mason’s approach of art appreciation we studied street art, and focused on two famous British contemprorary street artists ~ 

Bansky and Stik

Bansky is a British graffiti artist,  a political activist, film director, and painter, and he likes to be anonymous.  His satirical street art depict a dark humour and his works of political and social commentary have been featured on streets, walls, and bridges of cities throughout the world. To avoid arrest, Banksy’s developed his stencil technique which enabled him to create large, detailed paintings in just a few moments.

Banksy

Stik is also a London-based street artist who was homeless and lived on the streets of London for many years.  His works are recognizable for his cheerful humanoids which reflect universal themes such as jealousy, anger, love, friendship etc.  Stik’s stick figures,  despite their simplicity,  convey compassion and emotion.  He uses very simple stylistic color, painting his figures in white with black outlines on a flat, colored background. Untitled picture 1.jpg

Now, why teach about street art, you may ask?  And what is the difference between graffiti and street art?   

College & Research Libraries News defines –

The differences between graffiti and street art can be found in authorial intent, intended audience, and form. The most common form of graffiti is a tag or a graffiti artist’s signature. Tags are text-based and largely indecipherable by those outside the graffiti community. The intention behind a tag is the rebellious proliferation of the artist’s signature, akin to brand name advertising. Street art is a sub-genre of graffiti. While graffiti operates within a closed community, street art is an open invitation for anyone to interact, consider, and discuss. Furthermore, street art is drawn with a pictorial focus rather than textual, and it is rebellious but not purposefully destructive as there is intent to beautify the urban environment.” (Emphasis mine)

Should this art be banned?  Why are graffiti artists arrested?  Why are some street artists’ works protected while others are cleaned off walls?  We watched an excellent 4-part YouTube series – Graffiti – Wars: Banksy vs. Robbo  Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 which addressed some of these questions.

Our art activity was to use Stik or Banksy’s style and create a poster to protest or make a statement on a problem, a theme, an issue, a war, or social problems.

I went into a creative flow and quickly produced 3 large A3 posters.  I used brown paper to represent an urban feel of street art.  I photocopied my Banksy-styled images in black and white on some brown paper and then added Stik-inspired characters.  I enjoyed word-play to name my posters.20150902_140752The timing of my “Migrant Waves” painting was quite amazing because the same day that I painted the poster, world news featured distressing photos of a drowned Syrian boy found washed up on sea-shore.  This photo is now iconic with the Syrian refugee crisis that has flooded Europe for the past 2 years.  
20150902_155418

20150902_155541Lara drew our family in Stik style –20150903_110845 - CopyLara then created another beautiful art work.  Although it is not the in the style of the contemporary artists we studied, she wanted to express her thoughts in a creative way. 20150908_113844Kate created a dramatic Ebola  poster.  You will notice her graffiti splatters and lettering and Banksy’s rat symbol.20150902_155905

We thoroughly enjoyed our contemporary art lessons!  Give it a try with your middle school or high school children!

A few more links and references:

Pop over to my Art page for more art appreciation lessons and pages.

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Blessings,

Paul Klee Art Appreciation

Following our Charlotte Mason approach of studying one great artist and his works for a month,  we have discovered the colorful world of

Paul Klee!

Paul Klee was a Swiss-born abstract painter castlewhose work noted for his colorful and  fantasy-style of art depicting a world of semi-abstract, dreamlike images. His style was always highly imaginative, often strange, and sometimes playful.  Klee himself defined his art as “taking a line for a walk”.

I prepared a Wall Chart page, a biography page and three art appreciation lessons, along with extra Paul Klee art examples.

Paul Klee wall chart page

Paul Klee wall chart page

Paul Klee word grid art lesson

Paul Klee Word Grid art lesson

Here are our Paul Klee “Word Art” art works ~

Paul Klee Poems 001

Miss. L 13’s Paul Klee-inspired word art

Paul Klee Poems 002

my Paul Klee-inspired word art

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paul Klee landscape grid lesson

Paul Klee Landscape Grid lesson

Paul Klee colour blocks art lesson

Paul Klee Color Blocks art lesson

(Please note that I have updated the grid size since taking these images )

Here is your free download ~ Paul Klee bio & gallery & art lessons

Pop over to my Art page for more art appreciation lessons and pages.

If you are not subscribed, please click the  RSS Feed button or subscribe button for email notifications, so that you can have posts automatically delivered to your reader or inbox.

Blessings,

 

Organizing Art Stuff

My kids have enjoyed arts and crafts since they were little, and as they have become teens, our art and craft materials has grown in quantity.

Here are some practical tips of how we organize and store our art stuff conveniently on our little arts and crafts bookshelf.

Practical Tip 1   Everything has its place and a place for everything

Homeschool 20154

Our stationary tray filled with little boxes has worked excellently over the years.  Each little square box stores the different types of pens, crayons, fiber-tipped pens, and colored pencils.

Practical Tip 2  Buy quality art materials & let everyone share

When someone needs, say, the gel pens, they simply take out the box out of the tray and use them at their table.  Once finished, they quickly pop the box back in the tray.  We all share the same pencils and pens.

Very little kids may need their own chubby art crayons and basic paint sets, but as soon as they are able to correctly use the basic stationary, I train them and let them share with the older kids.

Here are some of my most important rules:

  1. Clean your paint brush and tray before it dries.
  2. Pack your things away where it belongs.
  3. Work with a little and add more later, rather than pour too much and waste.
  4. Do NOT drop the pencils!

I like to purchase lovely, big sets of art materials, 24 colors or more, and we all enjoy the full range.  Rather than spending money on each child’s own set, one really large quality set shared by all is just as economical.

Practical Tip 3   Store all the paints, brushes and mixing trays in a “painting box”Art Supplies

When we paint, we take out the painting box and everything is on hand.  Before, I had paints in one box, trays in another and brushes in another, but, with a little re-organization, we fitted everything into a large, shallow box.

I painted the lids of all the acrylic paint bottles so that we can easily find the color we need.

The brushes are all stored bristlesup in the bottle and they dry perfectly.

Practical Tip 4  Plastic suitcases to store craft supplies 1-P1160658-001

We have used these small plastic suitcases to store our craft supplies for years. These suitcases have lasted for over 15 years!  Standing upright on the bottom shelf, we can easily pull out the case we need for our craft activity.

We store craft items in Ziplock bags.  If we purchase or receive craft materials in boxes, I cut the box lid flat, leaving off the sides, and store it inside the Ziplock bag, along with any instruction pamphlet, for slim, space-saving storage.

Each child has their own little suitcase for their own stickers, craft papers, and bits and bobs.  We tie labels on the suitcase handle.

Practical Tip 5  Store paper and cardstock in clear shelving 1-P1160657

We have used these clear, plastic drawers for years, too.  A simple plan makes habit training simple.

Once again, Ziplock bags save us from chaos!  Any paper or card that has a piece cut off must go into a large Ziplock bag in the drawer.  This keeps full paper or card sheets separate from any slightly used sheets.  Kids waste less if they know that they must find some bits or smaller pieces in a Ziplock bag, rather than cut off a small section from a full-page.

With a little training and some gentle reminders, my children have learnt to use, enjoy, clean up & pack away after their art and craft activities and creative endeavors, and our art stuff is ready for the next lesson.

What practical tips do you find works in your home?  Please share with us in the comments.

Blessings,

More Art Fun!

This past week we have thoroughly enjoyed more art fun with our

Usborne Activities 365 Things to Draw and Paint by Fiona Watt.

The art ideas in this book are pretty fool-proof, so diverting slightly from the lesson is not that risky.  I tell my children to feel free to tweak the ideas in each activity.

Last week we all did “Decorated Elephants“.  Each of us produced a slight variation on the art activity in the book.  I love this kind of originality!

Art elephants

My 14-year-old daughter did “Mixing Paints” lessons with her water colors and enjoyed the art activity so much that she prepared some planks of wood and created 2 versions with acrylic paints.  They came out so well!  Such happy-looking poppies!  She hammered picture hanging hooks to the back of each plank and has dedicated the one as a wonderful gift!

Art fun poppies

Mid-week, my youngest and I did “Patterned Park” with pastel pencils on colored sugar paper.  When one works with patterns, it becomes such a relaxing, right-brain activity.  I also was determined to stay away from real, representational colors and enjoyed playing with colors that ‘pop’ and contrast.  Fun and simple!

Art pattern park

This weekend my 12-year-old and I had fun working through the “Simple Faces” lesson.  Here is Miss. L12’s painting.  She is happy with her painting and I love the bright clear colors!

Art simple faces

Waking from an inspirational dream, I wanted to work with masking fluid and represent one of my favorite photos in this simplified, stylized manner.

Art simple faces1

Here’s a simple tutorial:

  1. I used water-color paper, art masking fluid and on old, but very thin paintbrush.  Masking fluid can ruin paintbrushes if it dries in the bristles, so wash the brush in warm soapy water as soon as you are done.
  2. After I penciled in the outlines, I painted the designs in masking fluid.  This stuff is creamy white and dries to become fairly transparent and yellowish.
  3. With fairly wet paints I washed my background with a broad brush. The paint will not penetrate the masking design and those areas will remain white.
  4. Next I painted in the details and left the page to dry well.
  5. The next stage was such fun!  I gently pulled off the masking fluid which pulls off easily in long sticky strings.  You can rub it off too,  It rolls into balls which you can pull off and throw away.
  6. Finally I added silver and black outlines.  Lovely finished product and such an enjoyable activity.

Go ahead and have some art fun this week!

Blessings,

Pastel Art Appreciation of John Singer Sargent

Chalk pastel art is very popular in our home!

My children begged me for another chalk pastel lesson for our weekly art appreciation …

P1170201

After viewing several of John Singer Sargent’s paintings, we voted and then, because we couldn’t settle on one, we chose to do 2 paintings ~

Miss.T18 and Miss.K14 focused on “Rosina” 

Rosina

while Miss.L11 and I selected A Gust of Wind

The Gust of Wind

Miss.K used her new birthday gift; her nifty aluminium, collapsible easel to prop up the printouts.

(My hubby and I agreed to buy our 14-year-old some quality birthday gifts to encourage her natural creativity!  Along with the easel which comes in a lovely carry bag,  she  received some canvasses, acrylic paints and a lovely set of drawing pencils.

I purchased some very basic leather tools for her ~ a bag of mixed leather pieces, some needles, waxed thread, special leather pen and eraser, eyelets and studs and an assortment of brads and buckles.)

But, back to Sargent’s art appreciation lessons …

Here are the “Rosina” chalk pastel paintings ~

Art John Singer Sargent3

Art John Singer Sargent2

And here are our “A Gust of Wind” chalk pastel paintings.

Art John Singer Sargent1

This week, my youngest did not once worry or fret about her art work.

Art John Singer Sargent

Here are free downloads ~

The reason my older daughters love chalk pastels is that they can cover ‘mistakes’ with extra layers.  They even use an eraser and rub out small sections!  Because it has a ‘loose’ feel, they do not feel that they have to get the details perfect, but I am stunned by the clarity and detail they achieve.

Chalk pastels are a simple medium which produce  gorgeous effects.  I love the color combinations, the smudged effect when you rub an area, the quick way you can cover a whole page with the side of the chalk .

We use all three types ~ the basic chalk pieces, really good quality wrapped chalk pieces and my extra-special set of chalk pencils.  We have discovered that one cannot really use the chalk pencils over other chalked areas, so now we save the area where we want to use the pencils for the last phase, when we ‘pull out’ the details.

We each use a section of toilet paper to keep our hands fairly clean, and we quickly wipe the dust off  the plastic tablecloth with a damp cloth.

I really encourage you to try chalk pastels for some of the less detailed, precise art works you and your children may study!

Blessings,