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!


Bruegel Wedding Feast

We have started our next famous artist ~

Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Because so many of his works feature peasants in everyday life, he was known as “Peasant Bruegel”.

My daughter chose this painting,The Wedding Feast, for our first art appreciation lesson.

The Peasant Wedding, a 1567 or 1568 painting b...

The Peasant Wedding, a 1567 or 1568 painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, with two men playing pijpzaks (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We both looked at all the details in his painting. He puts so much into his works that you can almost play “I spy” to try find the many characters!

I traced a fairly detailed outline of the painting.Bruegel Wedding Feast

Miss.L11 painted it with watercolors, carefully copying the colors. 2013-06-17 21.37.09

It took several short sessions before had she completed the entire painting, but it was a quiet and enjoyable activity.20130617_213723

Why don’t you give this art work a try?

  1. Find the painting online  ~
  2. Download the outline ~ Bruegel Wedding Feast
  3. Color or paint the picture if you wish.
  4. Have fun!


Marjolein Bastin ~ Nature Artist

Every now and then I find something really inspirational on Pinterest!

I discovered Marjolein Bastin!

Marjolein Bastin's Autumn in Holland

Marjolein Bastin’s Autumn in Holland

Quoting JoAnne Carter’s “Marjolein Bastin’s” Pinterest board:

Marjolein Bastin is a Dutch-noted nature artist, writer, children’s author and illustrator. She is the creator of the character “Vera the mouse”. A Hallmark designer discovered Marjolein’s artwork while on a trip to Holland in the early 1990s. Today, stationery, greeting cards, home décor items, and gifts in Hallmark’s Nature’s Sketchbook by Marjolein Bastin line are among the company’s best-selling offerings.

Marjolein Bastin

JoAnne Carter’s “Marjolein Bastin’s” Pinterest board

I love her detailed and finely sketched paintings of garden and nature scenes.

Marjolein Bastin's "Summer"

My younger children loved her cute animals, especially Vera, the mouse, and these raccoons ~Marjolein Bastin Racoons

So pop over to her website and enjoy the exquisite beauty of her nature art and add her to your “Famous Contemporary Artist of the Month”.


Loretta Grayson Inspired Art

I first came across Loretta Grayson’s art via Pinterest a few weeks ago.

I spent some time browsing her blog Shoebox of Photographs I was totally mesmerized by her colors, style and themes of her art and crochet work.We spent Friday’s art session doing her free tutorial.The tutorial was very clear and laid out simply.  You will need good paper, a ruler and pencil, oil pastels, water colors and acrylic paint for this art activity.

I followed her tutorial precisely and enjoyed the process and the results.

My two daughters created their own design inside the tree circles and came up with completely different paintings.

Miss K.13’s named hers “Burnt Trees Come to Life

Miss L10 worked her textures with toothpicks and added lots of detail, spending much more time on her art than we did!  She loved the process, but was not thrilled with her actual painting. 

I spent some more time in the afternoon working on tree inspiration for our Lucerne Tree Farm.  I managed to capture our mountains, the lucerne seeds on our trees and their long roots going deep into the soil with their nitrogen-fixing nodules.

I loved the simplicity of the Loretta’s squares, the colors and the patterns. 

I’m hooked on Loretta Grayson’s art!

It was refreshing to focus on a ‘newfamous contemporary artist for our Friday Fine Art theme.

What artist has inspired you lately?


Matisse’s Goldfish

This is our third week of looking at the famous Fauvist artist ~

Henri Matisse

We enjoyed a lovely simple art appreciation lesson ~

The Goldfish

I used Charlotte Mason’s approach and asked Miss. L10 to look closely at the picture for a few minutes.  Then she tried to describe the picture with as much detail that she could …

… the tall cylindrical shape of the gold-fish bowl

… the number and color of the fish

… the reflection of the fish in the surface of the water

… the pink round table

… the blue railings on the balcony

… the leaves and flowers of the flower pots

… the black  and grey background

She and I happily painted the outline picture that I traced.

We took our time and listened to our Famous Composer Tchaikovsky as we painted.

Miss. L10’s painting

A simple, relaxed art appreciation lesson.

My painting

Will you give it a try?  Here are Matisse’s famous quotes, some art works and the Goldfish outline ~

Henri Matisse paintings & quotes & Goldfish outline


Matisse’s “Red Studio” Inspiration

This week we did a lovely study of Henri Matisse‘s

Red Studio

We looked at the picture.  Of course, it was distinctly red!

Miss . L10 noticed the scratch marks for all the furniture.  Matisse did not paint anything in colour or detail except for the artworks in his studio.

I encouraged my child to “create a mental picture” and then tell me all that she remembered in the painting.  Her oral narration was wonderfully detailed and accurate.

Our A History of Western Art by Anthony Mason had lovely explanations of the visual elements of the painting.  For example, he suggests the grandfather clock has no hands because “time is meaningless in his (Matisse’s)  studio.”

This work led to a lovely art application lesson ~

Paint our school room …

or more specifically Sketch Tuesday’s theme

School Supplies

in Matisse-fashion!

  1. Sketch your school supplies.  Put out some items on the desk to draw.
  2. Color everything in red/ or any bold color.  I chose yellow. Miss.L10 did her room red.
  3. Scratch the furniture  or other ‘unimportant’ details with a toothpick in the wet paint.  (Note: Wet paint makes the paper soft and my toothpick pierced a hole in my paper!  Also, it did not leave a clear white mark.  I let mine dry and used a white pen to “draw” the scratch lines!  Of course, Matisse’s method will work on canvas with acrylic or oil paints.)
  4. Paint the important details in color.
  5. Outline in black pen when dry.
  6. Viola! A Matisse-Inspired School Room!

Visit  Khan Academy for a detailed online lesson and video on “The Red Studio” and read Paper Cut Outs with loads of examples of Matisse’s paper cut-out art as well as biographic details of his later works.

I created some Matisse paintings and quotes print outs. Here is your free download ~ Henri Matisse paintings & quotes

Enjoy more art lessons – pop over to my Art Pages!


Sketch Tuesday ~ Picnic & Camping

This week Miss. L10 and  I took half an hour or so to sketch and paint.

The theme ~ Camping

We took out our some of our  camp cooking supplies and

set up a still life on the table.

When we draw what we see,

really look at the details,

our sketches always seem



more detailed.

Compare these sketches to the quick pencil or marker sketches we did the last week ~

The topic ~ Picnic

Miss. L10’s sketch is full of detail and really lovely ideas all creatively displayed,

but mine is rushed, careless …

I suppose it could be a starting-point for something more …

Oh, well, just not enough time …

How are you doing with your weekly sketching?

See you at the next slideshow!


Zoom in Georgia O’Keeffe Flowers

What is characteristic of Georgia O’Keeffe’s flowers?

They are magnified



seen close up

To quote Georgia,

” When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moments.  I want to give that world to someone else.  Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower”.

This week I wanted to do a painting activity based on flowers “O’Keeffe style” and ~

Zoom in on a flower

Look for a flower image on Google images:

  1. Type in the type of flower you want and right-click the image to “open on a new tab“.
  2. Click “View full-size
  3. Right-click on the image and select “Save image as“.
  4. A pop-up menu opens.  Select your “My Pictures” folder make a new folder.  Name it “Flowers” and save the image.  Rename your image if needed.

Now use Picasa 3 to edit your flower image:

Picasa has a wonderful editing option which turns an image into a pencil sketch.  Here’s how to:

  1. Open your saved image.
  2. Click “File” and select “Save a Copy“.  Picasa saves your original image.
  3. Crop the image – select the focused area.  Your flower should touch (and even go off) all the sides of the frame. 
  4. Now select the “blue” paintbrush Picasa edit button for “even more fun and useful image processing” and click “Pencil Sketch” option.
  5. Fiddle with the slide settings to create a clear, sharp outline image with some shadows.
  6. Print” and select “Full Page” and you will have a full-page pencil outline of your flower.
  7. Print the original color image as a smaller size printout to use as your reference while you paint.

Have fun painting:

Georgia O’Keeffe’s painting are beautifully shaded.  Her petals range in tone from light to dark shading.  Look at the original images of the flower to see the main color with its light and dark tones and shades.

  1. We used acrylic paints and a paint tray.
  2. Select and pour a medium-sized blob of your main color and then a smaller blob of white and a tiny dot of black paint.
  3. Create a light mix of color by adding white and a dark mix of color by touching a tiny bit of black to your color.  Now there should be white, light mix, pure color, dark mix and black paint blobs on the paint tray.
  4. I prefer to start with the dark shadows and work lighter and lighter till I highlight the lightest areas with white.  It doesn’t really matter.  Just try keep the colors from all mixing together to become a greyish-medium-color on the page.  Perhaps wipe the brush off on some toilet paper as you take a new shade and work with a clean brush and clean water.
  5. Add fine details with thin brush.
  6. Add final highlights with white to make the light areas really stand out.
  7. Paint the background.

 8. Finish off with a frame.  You can use this one ~ Georgia O’Keeffe Painting Frame

Hang the pictures in your gallery and enjoy!


Sketch Tuesday ~ Something in a Smoothie

Sketching and painting for me is







It is why I love to take part in Sketch Tuesday.

Barb of Harmony Art Mom offers a simple weekly topic or theme, and then puts together a slideshow of all the emailed sketches.

No competition, no comments, no evaluation, so, no threat.

Yet, just viewing the slideshow of the participant’s sketches is an inspiration.  I listen to my children’s observations and how they are inspired to work at improving their art.


This weekend my youngest daughter and I happily sketched and painted this for this week’s Sketch Tuesday ~

Have you joined Sketch Tuesday?  What have your children (and yourself) enjoyed most about it? Please share in the comments.


Maybe List of Things To Do With Mom- ART!

I often write about taking part in Sketch Tuesday!  And I have seen that it is such a positive activity.

I want to share this sweet testimony for this week’s art:

My 2 older daughters went away for a short school break, leaving my youngest daughter (8 years old) at home alone with me.  She rarely is at home without her sisters and so she made a …

“Maybe list of things to do while the others are gone”

And on the reverse, she wrote:

  1. try the letter set    √√  (those letters you rub to transfer on to the page)
  2. play a set of cards
  3. play a board game  √
  4. watch a movie together  √√

I was truly delighted to paint Sketch Tuesday ~ A Fruit Salad with her.  (Note to self: add the word “Tuesday” to this week’s spelling list)

Her list is a homeschooling-mom’s pride!  I love it that she CHOOSES to do those things which I value in our homeschool as her personal fun time with me!

You will see all the ticks to show what we did during the 4 days!

Her great passion is reading books, even though she really has to work hard at it.  So we read together often and finished 2 of her readers – a great accomplishment!

When I asked her what she enjoyed the most, she said that playing a board game and winning 3x in a row against me was the BEST!  I forget that she (as the youngest child) often is over-ruled when chosing board games.  Playing her choice of game was already such a joy.  And beating me three times – well that was the cherry (smile … excuse the fruity pun) on the top!

Perhaps we should institute a “Youngest Child Choses Day” each month?  What do you do for your youngest ones?

Have a wonderful week!