Completed canvas project

Completed CanvasWhile A was at basketball camp in July, J and I began working on a canvas project for my office wall. I’m constantly on the look-out for art and prints to liven up my office (not that the concrete blocks are nice…reminds me of my house when we lived overseas. HA!). I decided it would be fun to take on a project with J to make a dual canvas. Here is a little more about what we did…

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Matisse Cut-Outs

For those of you who have big plans for New Year’s Eve, that sounds awesome…do tell! Our big plans are crafting, watching football, and making the cake that we didn’t get around to making for Christmas. A few Friday Favorites ago, I talked about the Matisse Exhibit at the Moma in New York. I had been promising A that we would discuss it over the break and Tuesday was the day. We poured over pictures on-line and discussed his method and then busily went to work attempting our own cut-outs.

This is such an easy activity to do and A received a set of shaped scissors from my parents for Christmas that he was eager to use. All you need is glue, scissors, card stock, and construction paper. If you want to make it more involved you can paint the paper like Matisse did, however, we went the simpler route and used the colors we had.

A could easily cut, paste, and put together the whole thing by himself…

Matisse Cut-OutsJ needed a bit more help, so I cut-out a bunch of different shapes and then he glued them on to the paper…

Matisse Cut-OutsWhile this picture may look like he is gluing his pants he is not, he is very seriously distributing glue on a piece of paper: Matisse Cut-Outs

A titled his work “Happy New Year’s Eve Alien Invasion”:

Matisse Cut-Outs

While J titled his “Monster and Monkey Go Up Towards the Sun”:

Matisse Cut-Out


And I made one of my own that the boys’ entitled “Girl with Hair Made of Sun”:

Matisse Cut-OutsAnd we displayed them on the wall for all to see (A loves any opportunity to use his new washi tape):

Matisse Cut-Outs

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Art with Kids: Cubism and Tissue Art

Tissue ArtFor our last art session we discussed the work of Cezanne and Picasso and the art movement, Cubism. This is a fun one to discuss with kids because it it’s a lot about sharp shapes and images, and they can pick up on the ideas of it easily. To combine with our art history discussion we also did a tissue paper canvas craft if you would like to read more…

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Art with Kids: String Art

String ArtFor our second art in the afternoon session, we filled A’s art bucket list and actually talked about Pollock (rather than just putting his information on the board in our kitchen and not doing the project). I have a bit more about Kandinsky, Pollock, and String Art if you’d like to read…

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Art with Kids: Rothko

Rothko IMG_5367Rothko is one of my favorites for his use of color blocking. In addition, he has a terrific painting that uses only black and gray shading, which I thought would be a perfect project for A because he loves black and gray (“they show up the best,” he says).

I loved his picture so much, I added it to our bedroom gallery wall:

RothkoIt’s amazing the amount of depth it has. I told him to think about adding texture (there is a great Sesame Street episode that the boys love that discusses texture, as well) and creating dimension through it (in kid terms).

And while A was painting, J painted at the easel with watercolors:

RothkoAnd later I found this:

RothkoCan you see the heart he made in his painting?? I’m sure it was pure artistic genius.

And here are our facts about Rothko:

Born in 1903


Abstract Expressionism, Color Field


Untitled (Black and Gray)

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Art with Kids: Raphael

A REALLY wanted to learn about Raphael, but I had a hard time finding paintings that were a different way to do an art study. Then I came upon St. George and the Dragon. After that I knew what we would do.

First, we wrote down our facts:

Facts about RaphaelThen, I talked to A about creating a storyboard for the painting. I drew six squares and had him tell me the story in six parts (what happened first, second, third, etc.):

Storyboard a Painting Art with KidsAfter I wrote down the story I had A go back and draw pictures that coordinated with each part.

Last, we collected their dragons and dragon puppets and the boys acted out the story (which was really just a lot of dragon puppet throwing and yelling):

IMG_5340 IMG_5332However, I think they got the idea. It was a fun way to mix up the lesson a bit. Happy art learning!

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Art with kids: Picasso

Picasso is a bit of a wild card artist (as many are). I had to be really thoughtful about the choice of paintings for A to look over, but the activities for it were pretty fun.

We did three things:

1. Creating texture and dimension through paper cutting.

2. Painting Picasso’s blue period with water colors

3. Making and drawing silly faces.

We created texture and dimension by cutting up different construction paper pieces and then gluing them on paper to create a picture:

Paper cutting Cutting and paper creatingThis was a really great activity for A, not so much for J. J was having an off day and was really not interested in doing anything, but trying to rip apart whatever A was working on. I finally had to move the whole thing to the table during J’s nap time for A to finish.

2. The water color painting was more up J’s alley as it was messy and outside. I didn’t take any pictures, but I just told A to use colors in the shade of blue (purples, blacks, and various blues were incorporated), and then I showed him a Picasso painting (this one is a great example) on my phone. He had a great time recreating the painting in his own vision.

3. And last, we made lots of silly faces and tried to draw each others’ silly faces. A collage like this:

Funny FacesIs good inspiration. I also really liked this worksheet, that you can download and use to create different faces (it does cost money, though).

Picasso Fast Facts

Born in 1881


Modern Art

Painter, Sculptor, Ceramicist

Inspirational Paintings: “La Soupe”, “Ma Jolie”, “The Accordionist”

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