Cookie Cutter Painting

Tobin was pretty restless last Friday and couldn’t stick with any one activity for more than five minutes. He sort of wanted to paint, but I knew he would not be able to focus on anything that took too terribly long. I came up with this little project when I ran across a couple of Halloween cookie cutters sitting in the utensil drawer. I can’t remember the last time we had even used these cookie cutters for anything. I didn’t even remember having these particular ones!

We kept it simple by sticking with black paint on orange construction paper and white paint on black construction paper.

Boo!

Boo!

I was really happy that I was able to get to Tobin to draw the facial features for his pumpkins and ghosts by himself. He doesn’t like to write or draw much, but he’s been taking more frequent baby steps toward it.

Dot the eyes

Dot the eyes

Happy Pumpkins

Happy Pumpkins

Steve sometimes acts like he’s too old to join us for art anymore, but he always gets sucked in eventually.

spooky pumpkin patch

spooky pumpkin patch

Steve showed some creativity when he decided the lid to our paintbrush tin would make an excellent fall moon.

full moon

full moon

For some reason all the ghost prints reminded Steve of the Pac-Man game, so he wanted to create some Pac-Man themed art. Perhaps someone has been playing too much Atari?

Pac-Man

Pac-Man

Tobin was very excited when our artwork was all dry, and I taped it up around the dining room. He loves when we decorate.

I somehow missed the cat cookie cutter when I was rummaging through the kitchen drawers Friday afternoon, but I discovered him over the weekend. Maybe black cookie cutter cats will appear in our next art project?

Art: Painting with homemade sponge stamps

Today was a good homeschooling day. I finally feel like we’re back into our routine. Steve easily flew through all his lessons this morning and with absolutely no grumbling. He’s way ahead of where he should be in both Latin and Spanish. At the rate he’s going, he’ll be done with both subjects by December. He also seems more interested in his lessons than he had been the first few weeks. After Steve completed his assignments for today, he rummaged around our book room for a copy of the Iliad to read since it was briefly mentioned in his history book. It always delights me when he finds something in his lessons that truly interests him and takes it that step further.

Tobin had an awesome day too. He specifically asked to do his school work. He wanted to get to work on whatever pages in his workbook would allow him to “help baby animals find their mamas.” I am pretty sure that meant that he wanted to do workbook pages with mazes, but Tobin was very willing to work on other pages as well. He even let Steve help him on a page or two which is a big step. Usually, my little one only wants me to help him with his school work, but today he was willing to accept assistance from Steve while I combed my hair for work.

I had also planned a simple little painting project today, but we didn’t spend all that much time on it. I think the kids actually preferred doing their “book work” over doing art work today, but I am pleased that it at least gave us a few minutes to do something fun together before I needed to head to work.

For today’s brief art project we did some sponge painting. Over the weekend I bought a package of cheap kitchen sponges and cut them into various shapes this morning. I chose a bunny head shape for Tobin, a pig shape for Steve, a strawberry, and a tree. I cut the scraps into simple little triangle, square, and rectangle shapes. I was able to cut the sponges into shapes fairly easily with a pair of kitchen scissors.

a few of our sponge shapes

a few of our sponge shapes

Tobin really liked the bunny shape and ran to show it to Nunya. He liked it so much in fact that he refused to have anything to do with the other sponge shapes. He happily stamped out several bunnies who he said were all friends. I encouraged him to add on eyes to each of the bunnies, and by the third one, I think he got the hang of applying the paint with a less heavy hand. The third one is even smiling.

As I expected he would, Steve went right for the pig shape. However, once he stamped it out onto the paper, he felt it looked more like a bull than a pig, so he added on some horns and a nose ring. He named it “el toro morado.” (The Purple Bull) He also added on a sun, some mountains in the distance and an apple tree. I told him it reminded be a bit of Salvador Dali, but he scoffed at that and listed a bunch of ways he would have changed it if he wanted to make it more like Dali’s work.

El toro morado

El toro morado

After Steve had finished with his bull, I had tried the pig shape too. I think mine turned out more pig-like than Steve’s did because I used less paint, so you could see the outline a bit more sharply.

I played around with the strawberry stamp in an effort to get Tobin to at least help me paint on some strawberry seeds in black paint. He did not want to help paint on seeds, but he did make sure to count up all the seeds for me. He wanted each one to have exactly seven seeds.

The paint in the sponges rinsed out fairly well, so I saved the forms to use again another day. I would like to pick up some more sponges so I can cut out more shapes. Perhaps I can add a moon, a star, a heart, a flower, or maybe some bugs to our sponge stamp collection? I would also like to purchase some fabric paint soon so the kids can use the stamps to decorate t-shirts or bags or something. They could make good Christmas presents.

Art: Painting with marbles

We played again with paint today. I showed the boys how to paint on paper using glass marbles. I remember doing this same activity when I was in Kindergarten thirty years ago. It is actually one of the few vivid memories from Kindergarten that I have.

It is very easy to paint with marbles. The finished pieces remind me a bit of Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings although obviously his technique was quite different.

For this project, you just need paper, a cardboard box slightly larger than your paper and deep enough that your marbles aren’t going to easy roll out of the box onto your carpet, a handful of glass marbles, some kind of dish to pour dollops of paint out onto, and various colors of paint. We used acrylic but poster or tempera paint would likely work just as well. You may also want some newspaper to lay down on your work surface. It might be a good idea to have a plastic bowl on hand to drop your paint covered marbles onto when you are done painting with them.

After gathering your supplies, lay your first piece of paper down on the bottom of the cardboard box. Squeeze small pools of paint out onto whatever you are using as a palette. Dip or roll marbles around in one of the pools of paint. Drop the marble onto the paper in the box and start shifting the box around. Roll a few more marbles into different colors of paint and drop those into the box as well. We started out with just a few marbles at first, but we quickly found that if you have at least 10 or 12 in there, the marbles run into each other and create a better effect.

Rolling around several paint covered marbles in the box

Rolling around several paint covered marbles in the box

Partly finished marble painting

Partly finished marble painting

Once it seems like no more paint is coming off your marbles onto the paper, you can take the marbles back out of the box and roll them around in more paint. When you think you’ve got enough paint on the paper, you are done. Just take your finished piece out and lay it somewhere to dry.

Tobin showing off one of his marble paintings.

Tobin showing off one of his marble paintings.

Steve showing off his marble masterpiece.

Steve showing off his marble masterpiece.

It only took a few minutes for our finished pieces to dry completely using the acrylic paint. I am not sure about the drying time with other kinds of paint. The finished pages would make nice wrapping paper for small gifts.

Tobin wouldn’t touch the marbles once they had paint all over them. He is very against getting his hands dirty. As long as he had a dry part of the marble to hold onto when he was dipping them into the paint, he was okay though. Steve and I, however, had paint all over our hands when we were through.

We had a lot of fun with this project. It was a little messy, but not too messy. Next time we do this, we plan on getting out some black construction paper for the project.

Art: Textured Paint

This week I decided that I definitely need to do more art stuff with the kids. We did tons of art in the spring, but then summer came along, and creativity got pushed aside for other things. We worked on Steve’s 4-H project. The fair came and went. The boys were invited to parties and sleepovers and camping trips. My work schedule changed, so I didn’t get to spend as much time with my boys. Now life is more or less back to normal (as normal as it gets anyway), so I can plan to do more fun things like art and science projects again.

The boys rarely initiate artsy things on their own. Steve used to, but now he’s too old/cool/whatever, and Tobin usually only asks for PlayDoh on his own. (Have I mentioned how much I despise PlayDoh?) I generally have to plan particular projects to do instead of just leaving things open-ended. If I threw a bunch of art supplies on the table and told the kids to make whatever they wanted to, Tobin would probably give me the evil eye, and Steve would do a lot of grumbling under his breath.

I don’t like to overplan things either though. Then Steve and Tobin both get frustrated when things don’t turn out the way they think they ought to. I thought that perhaps instead of planning to do particular projects that we could plan to work with a particular medium over several days or weeks and see if/how we can be creative with it. We’re starting with paint since we have so much of it in the house, and it’s one of Tobin’s favorite art supplies to use (after that evil invention called PlayDoh, of course).

Today we tried adding different things to our paint to give the paints different textures. We used ground coffee mixed into brown paint, ground cinnamon mixed into red paint, and clean play sand mixed into yellow paint. The boys then used the altered paint to cover some wood cutouts we had. Tobin’s favorite part was actually mixing up the paint. For Tobin, the actual painting of the objects was definitely secondary to the mixing aspect.

Tobin mixing coffee into brown acrylic paint.

Tobin mixing coffee into brown acrylic paint.

The brown coffee paint produced a nice bumpy texture. The red cinnamon paint was not as rough as the brown coffee paint, and the yellow sand paint had a cool, gritty effect.

a sandy yellow starfish

a sandy yellow starfish

The yellow sand paint was my personal favorite, but I think the boys liked the brown coffee paint best. The effect was certainly the most dramatic of the three. Steve painted a toad cutout with it because the texture reminded him of a toad’s bumpy skin.

Steve painting a toad.

Steve painting a toad.

toad closeup

toad closeup

I’d like to try this again someday soon with other paint additives. Perhaps sesame seeds? Dried herbs? Dirt from the yard? Torn flower petals?

a squirrel and his acorn

a squirrel and his acorn