Thursday, February 26, 2015

DIY Abstract Art "Masterpieces" on Canvas {Crafting with Your Kids No. 2}

Well, it's no secret I love art. All kinds of art. And I love sharing this passion with my children. Today, I have a simple and fun project that my two littles ones (Hazel & Owen) worked on with a little bit of help from me. We collaborated on these pieces to make abstract art masterpieces (in our humble opinion) to decorate our home.
I love coming up with projects or artwork that both parents and children can work on together, to create new decor for the home. This is one such project and is the second "official" post in my Crafting with Your Kids Series. This has been a long time coming, as my kids and I made these at the end of the summer. I used them in our decor in late September as part of a mantel vignette. They have moved around our home since then, but are special pieces that I love displaying.

This all started with some large canvases that were taking up space in the basement. They were on the large size (15" x 30"). We picked them up at Joann's but you can also find them here*. I wanted to have some "statement" pieces, which is when larger is better.

Since it was warm when we made these, we painted them outdoors. Art is always more fun outdoors, isn't it? My children get so excited when I tell them we are going to make art outside. Cheers all around! I have a small folding table set up for them on our back patio and usually cover it with a drop cloth or old sheet.
For this particular project, I got everything set up before bringing them out. Since my kids are little, this tends to work easier. I put paint in two trays (They absolutely cannot share paint. It is like a federal offense if you dip your brush in the other person's paint. Meltdown City. Sheesh.). I purchased this pack* of sponge brushes because I knew they would have fun experimenting with them, and set out jars of water and a few paint brushes.

At this point, you can think about where these pieces will hang and determine what paint colors to let them use, or let them decide. I gave each of mine a variety of washable paints to start. Later we experimented with some acrylics including a metallic gold, which added a pretty shimmer.
They had their smocks on (aka Dad's old work shirts) and ya know, maybe a chip clip or two to help them fit ;p.
I let them have at it for awhile, and it did get a bit messy. But that's the fun part for them, right?
When I saw gobs of paint that would take years to dry, I started using the brushes and sponge brushes to smooth them out. Then I showed Hazel and Owen some different simple techniques like going back and forth, making circles, and using the smallest sponge brushes from the pack previously mentioned (the ones that look like eye shadow brushes), to make designs.
There were some elements to their work that I wanted to see in the final result, so I worked them in while smoothing the gobbed paint. The circle in the above painting was done by Hazel and I loved it. I boxed it in with a brush to make it stand out even more. It is the "focal point" of this piece.

There really are no rules. Even if you aren't an artist, you can have fun getting creative. And if you are really brave, you could teach them how to splatter or drip paint. I didn't that day, but maybe when the weather warms and I get out of my funky winter blues!
In the end, all that matters with a project like this, is that your children and you have fun, explore and bond over a creative activity. And, hey if you end up with a masterpiece to hang on your wall even better, right? Children love to know we are proud of them. That we are impressed with their work. That we want to show off what they have done. Displaying their artwork somewhere noticeable speaks volumes.
I have tried to embrace this mentally since having children, and display their artwork and creations in all rooms throughout our home. These paintings are currently in our living room for everyone to see and enjoy. I might not be able to afford fancy abstract paintings, but I would say these masterpieces are priceless.

Till next time...
~Alice W.

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