children’s art

Recent Drawings: The Machine Series

Earlier this year, I shared a few of Jenna’s map drawings. I love it when she lands on a theme all on her own and continues to explore it, drawing after drawing. The past week or so, she’s been working on a series of machines. And not just any machines. These machines perform magical acts – like turn you into a princess or make cupcakes. I used to think she might end up being a designer like mommy, but maybe inventor is more her speed.

Painting Patterns

This is a fun way to paint patterns with kids. I started by taping a “J” and a chevron pattern on some canvases, and then I let Jenna pile on the paint. At first she thought she was supposed to paint only on the tape, and it took a little convincing to get her to move the brush around the tape. But once she did, she didn’t want to stop. These ended up being some thickly painted canvases, and, after the paint dried (many hours later), it was pretty hard to peel the tape from the canvas.

Designing With Children’s Drawings: Part 2

Last week, I used one of Jenna’s recent drawings to create a tote bag. This week, we’ve been on a bit of a sticker craze.

I started this craft with the idea of using some of Jenna’s existing drawings to make stickers for her, but once she realized that we could make stickers, she became a bit of a sketching machine. And with each new drawing, no matter how small, she immediately wanted me to cut it out and run it through our Xyron sticker maker. At first I was making the stickers for her, but then I realized she could probably do it herself. It was a bit of a struggle, but she was pretty determined and eventually got the hang of it.

I purchased the repositionable cartridges so that we would move the stickers around. I even let her put a few stickers on my desk and her door – something I might regret later – not sure if she understands the difference between repositionable and permanent adhesive. Guess we’ll find out someday.

We also tried to enlist Jason in this activity by appealing to his current obsession with The Avengers, but he wouldn’t be swayed. I think he’s already under the impression that stickers are for girls.

So Jenna made a Captain America journal – for herself.

But, mostly, she made flowers, rainbows and people.

Designing With Children’s Drawings: Part 1

It’s no secret that Jenna LOVES to draw, and as much as I enjoy her doodles taped all over the walls of our home, I’m always looking for more creative things to do with her drawings. Earlier this year I made a series of thank you cards with her drawings, and I also recently found out about a company that transforms kids’ drawings into stuffed animals. Very cool.

But I decided to take a more practical route and design a couple of things I know we’ll use. First up: tote bags. Who doesn’t need more of those on hand during the summer months?  So I tracked down my current favorite Jenna drawing (a map of our neighborhood) and went to work with my photo transfer paper.

I made the bag for me, but I suspect I might have a bit of competition the next time I’m headed out the door.

Stay tuned next week for another design.

Kids Love: Giant Canvas Painting

Jason is not the most art-inclined child. He’s much happier in the swimming pool, behind a Darth Vader mask or knee-deep in a pile of Legos. But every once in awhile, something artsy comes along that’s just too good to ignore. This weekend, we were doing a mini-makeover in our entryway, and my husband brought an old painting in from the garage. I had painted it several years ago, but didn’t like it much and was ready to toss it. Then I realized it was the perfect art project for J+J. They had a blast painting the giant canvas, and now, instead of throwing it out, I think we’re going to hang it up in our playroom.

Here are a few scenes from their paint fest:

Wall of Art

Jenna’s room received a mini makeover this weekend. She’s become quite the prolific little artist, and I decided to update the framed art in her room to incorporate some of her (and Jason’s) latest work. I was able to complete the entire project for about $50, since we already had 2 frames and I was able to pick up 6 additional frames for about $35 at Michaels (on sale for $5 each). I also purchased a large batch of 3M picture hanging strips.

Jenna helped me pick out and frame her favorites pictures. Next, I tried a couple of layouts on the floor in front of the wall. The wall has 2 small dressers at different heights, so I wanted something that would fit the space of the uneven levels.

Then Jason and Daddy got to work, measuring, leveling and, the best part, shooting lasers across the room – definitely something Jason was eager to help out with.

And, finally, Jenna has a new wall of art:

Mixed Media Wreath DIY

This weekend we had a friend’s daughter over for the afternoon and I decided to organize a holiday craft activity to keep everyone entertained. This one took a bit of prep work, but it was definitely worth it.  Our friend’s daughter was incredibly creative, the “most creative person in her family,” as she explained to me,  and I think I got a peek into the future of what it will be like to work on arts and crafts with Jenna when she gets just a few years older. We had a great afternoon and I have to admit, I was more than a little psyched when she asked what I did “for work” and whether we did stuff like this at our house all the time.

Jenna and I started by cutting wreath shapes out of boxes and painting them apple green.

I prepped and assembled the wreath decorations: felt and fabric leaves, pom poms, pipe cleaners, ribbon (we also had a stash of green paper). You can pretty much use anything you have on hand – buttons, beads, yarn, etc.

We glued the decorations to the wreaths.

Once they were sufficiently covered, we let them dry. (We used A LOT of glue).

Jenna and I hung our wreaths on the office doors, and our new friend was very happy to take home hers home.

Inspired By …

Sources:  Josef Albers, Jeff Depner

I’ve  been loving all of the geometric patterns surfacing in art/fashion/jewelry lately, so when I came across a series of geometric coloring books I immediately decided to buy one for Jenna, who is rarely without a crayon in her hand (or a paintbrush, or both as seen above). I’ve long been a fan of artists such as Josef Albers, Ellsworth Kelly and Frank Stella, so I guess my love of abstract patterns is nothing new. Jenna and I are having fun making our own abstract art these days. Wish one of us could parlay our coloring skills into a gorgeous painting like the Depner above. Maybe they make giant geometric coloring books?

Weekend Top 5: Adventures in Art

Jenna and I ventured into the big city this weekend to visit the Mark Bradford exhibit at the DMA and take part in a Bradford-inspired art-making activity at Bows and Arrows. It was a big day of new places and new people, and despite a few moments of shyness, Jenna told me later that she had “a great day.” We kept the art theme going most of the weekend, making a leaf garland, some jewelry and a painting or two.

Oh, and Jason played lightsabers with daddy … and, there may have been a visit to Legoland.

Jenna making her collage at Bows and Arrows

Collage supplies for the kids at Bows and Arrows

Even more painting at home

Taking a break from our leaf-gathering expedition. More on that tomorrow …

Jenna admires the necklace she made