PAINTING WITH YOUR KIDS
1. Get a canvas and some acrylic paints. Canvases are really inexpensive now and you can find one easily at your local Michael’s or better yet, your locally run art store (if there is one). And don’t get a little canvas. Get a BIG CANVAS. One big enough for your kids to go “wow, this is going to be really awesome!”. And also big enough for you to reply, “this is going to take some time and we’re going to try and fill it all up.” (18x24 or bigger should do) Yes, as artists we’re taught all about negative space. That is, the space we don’t fill up on a page. But if we told our 4 year old son that he didn’t need to fill up the canvas, he’d been finished in about 5 minutes. When you have your child look at all parts of the painting they will learn to assess their work and it’s also important in making the activity long lasting (important for a winter activity).
2. Print out a photo and tape it above the canvas. Find one together with your kids. We printed out a picture from a trip we’d taken together. It makes the painting personal for your kids.
3. Turn up the music and mix some paints. We used a piece of cardboard and a plastic mixing palette. You can use either although the cardboard tends to soak up acrylic paints pretty quickly. Spend time showing your children how the primary colors mix together to make any color they want and try to show them how you can match the colors in the photo to the colors you’re mixing on the palette. Of course don’t be too exact (if you can help it) so that they don’t feel like they have to mix for hours, but it’s good to get them to understand that they can do more than just dipping the brush in the primary color and throwing right on the canvas.
4. Outline the painting. Ok, you could let them go at it all by themselves, but we found that if we outline the painting a bit before they jump right into it, it helps keep them focused and understand the link between the photo and the canvas. This will vary greatly depending on the age of your children. Ours are 8 and 4 so they have different skill and attention spans.
5. Paint together. Make it a group activity. Use different size brushes and help them fill in sections when your kids start to get stuck on one part of the painting. Make sure to remind them to move around, step back, and most of all, have fun!
6. Take a break, let it dry and start a second layer. The more layers, the longer the project.
|Layer 1 with both kids.|
|Layer 2, just me and my girl. Layer 3 (final layer) this weekend.|