Sunday, May 31, 2015

Swimming Colors

  • Milk (at least 2%)
  • Food coloring
  • Dish soap
  • Bowl or lipped plate 

Step 1: Pour milk into your dish until there is a thin layer covering the whole base.

Step 2: Put several drops of food coloring in, scattered around the whole surface.

Step 3: Drip a very little bit of dish soap in and watch the colors begin to swim and mix!

Step 4: Swirl the bowl to watch the design change.

Saturday, May 30, 2015


  • Microwave-safe bowl/plate
  • Bar of soap
  • Microwave
  • Watercolor
  • Parchment paper or something else to catch drips during play

Step 1: Place a bar of soap on a microwave-safe dish and microwave for a couple minutes.

This is what it looked like after about one and a half minutes, so I put it back in for another 30sec-1min.

This is after about 2 minutes

It's looking more like a cloud now!

Step 2: Let cool and then place this in front of your amazed children. Give them water colors or watered down tempera and let them turn their cloud into a rainbow! A paintbrush is optional. At this point, the activity turns from art project to hands on activity. Encourage them to rub it between their hands, break it apart, hammer it with a paintbrush, and anything else they can think of! 

Symmetrical House

  • Drawing paper
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Optional: markers, colored pencil, canvas&paint

This is a very versatile activity. I like to teach symmetry to each group of art campers, because I know it is something familiar to them, but not necessarily in an artistic context. Houses are good things to practice drawing symmetrically, as are cats, dogs, people, trees... and the list goes on. 
Also, this idea can be done as a large project that they measure out and paint or color, or as a quick sketch for practice. 
This time we will be learning symmetry the day before completing this exercise. I like to give the children an activity each day that reviews what they learned the day before. It so happens that our theme that day will be "Architecture/Design," so it seems logical to incorporate some architecture into our review as well! 
The students will each receive a piece of paper, a ruler, and a pencil. Rather than explaining my method of measurement, I am going to let them reason through it on their own. It is not necessary that they actually achieve a perfectly symmetric home; I place a much higher value on the time they'll spend thinking about implementing the concept of symmetry. For that reason, I do not have specific instructions on teaching students how to do this. I do, however, recommend drawing a line down the middle by which to measure and compare. 

Book-Page Cityscape

  • Book (that you are okay with tearing apart- I chose one from our donation pile)
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Watercolor paper
  • Watercolors
  • Paint brush
  • Water
  • Glue stick
  • Markers

Step 1: Cut your book pages into strips of different widths and heights to represent buildings in a cityscape. Spread them out as you choose how tall and wide to cut them, but do not attach them to the paper yet. 

Step 2: Using watercolors, paint a background. To do this, you must consider what time of day it is, if there are other buildings around, what part of the world you are in, and any other influential factors. 
(Your project should show more effort and detail than the one below. That is simply a quick example.)

Step 3: You can splatter some water color on your buildings by dipping your brush in water and then the paint without wiping any water off before splattering. Try not to splatter the paint all over things other than your buildings though!

Step 4: Once the background is dry, glue down your buildings and add more detail! 

Popsicle Stick Prints

  • 1 Popsicle stick
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Markers 

Step 1: Trace the popsicle stick all over your paper, making sure to have several overlapping points.

Step 2: Choose one color for each overlapping spot. Then color the rest of the sticks using whatever colors you would like! You may choose to use only warm or cool colors, or you may use a combination of many colors like I did!

Modeling Emotions

Modeling Emotions
This project looks at how our facial features change with varying emotions, and how they can be easily and creatively illustrated. This project could follow a book pertaining to emotions and/or a game of charades. 

  • Thin cardboard or thick paper (such as watercolor)
  • Circular object to trace
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • A few different scrapbook papers (construction paper or other colored/patterned paper can also be used)
  • Glue

Step 1: Trace 2 circles on your sheet of cardboard. 

Step 2: Cut out the circles.

Step 3: Draw basic facial features on the construction paper. Remember to draw on the side opposite of that which you want to show on your project. Once you cut them, trace and cut a second set. 

Step 4: Experiment with showing different expressions on your faces. When you find your favorite two, attach the features using glue or another adhesive. 



This project is a lesson in making your own tessellations using very few supplies. I suggest doing this project after defining and viewing examples of tessellations. You can discuss parallels between art and other disciplines by pointing out the significance of tessellations in both art and math. 

  • 1 index card
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • 1 piece of construction paper

Step 1: Draw a line from the upper right side of the card to the bottom. It does not need to be any certain shape or any specific distance from the edge of the card. 

Step 2: Cut along the line.

Step 3: Attach the cut off piece to the left side of the card using a piece of tape.

Step 4: Draw a line along the bottom of the card. It will overlap your newly attached piece, so be sure that the bottom left corner is attached to the card. If your tape is only in the middle, as mine was, be sure to add a second piece in the corner.

Step 5: Cut along the line.

Step 6: Attach this piece to the top of the card using tape. 

Step 7: Trace your new shape anywhere on the construction paper. 

Step 8: Continue holding the shape with the same orientation as you line it up beside the previously traced shapes and trace it again. 

Step 9: Once you have filled your plane and there are no holes or overlapping areas, you have a tessellation! Use markers, colored pencils, or crayons to add color! If you still have a hard time believing this will work every time, you can try it again cutting your lines differently! 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Summer & Florals

I've spent a lot of time recently making examples of the projects I will be doing with the kids at art camp this summer, but that's not all I've been doing when it comes to art. I decided to share a couple other things I've been working on. Lynchburg, where Liberty is located, is called "Drench-burg" by some because of the excessive rain. Perhaps all those April showers had me even more ready for May flowers than in the past, because all of my work since getting back home has seemed to revolve around flowers.

My mom hangs up my art work all around the house. In fact, there are actually a couple store bought pictures on the floor of my art studio right now that have been replaced with my paintings. She's been wanting something new and big to put over our couch in the living room, so I decided to paint a couple coordinating pictures to hang side-by-side rather than one larger picture. Her favorite colors are red and yellow, so I wanted to incorporate those, and when I picked up a paintbrush, a flower just naturally started to appear on the canvas.

I know, I know, I'm supposed to start with the background. I totally didn't think about that until there was a huge flower on my canvas. The background is some watered-down light blue wall paint. I like getting little sample jars of wall paint and using them for large areas on the canvas. When you don't water it down like I did here, one coat actually covers the canvas really well. I typically prime my canvas with white wall paint because it's thicker than acrylic and much less costly than fancy primer. In general, it's just more cost effective than other paints. I discovered these when my friend and I were brainstorming ideas for our visual arts ministry at church a couple years ago. We needed something that would show up after only one coat and was inexpensive, and happened upon these samples! Sometimes I go look in the clearance section by the paint mixing area in Lowes or Home Depot and find some of these for as little as $0.50! 

I've also been using watercolors quite a bit lately. Admittedly, I used them for this picture a few days ago because I wanted to paint, but wanted to do so in my room and without the potential mess of acrylics. It doesn't show up as clearly in the photo as in person, but I was especially enjoying the milky, white color. Something about layering with that white is so different than with colors. It's creamier and bolder than I expected. I'm not really sure why I hadn't taken notice of it before. I'm feeling a lot more water color usage coming up in the near future.

I hope everyone's long weekend is off to a good start! Be sure to enjoy the sunshine, cookouts, and extra time off work that come with holiday weekends!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

How-to-Draw: Circle Roses

This project idea was found on
I am posting this for use in the art camps that I am teaching this summer. 
Parents, please take a look at some of the projects your kids will be or have been doing in camp! They may even want to use these templates to teach you or their siblings what they have learned.

How-to-Draw: Circle Roses

  • Drawing paper
  • Pencil
  • Black marker
  • Colored pencils or markers 

Step 1: For this project, I have included several photos. There are a lot of separate, but fairly simple lines to draw, For that reason, I won't include a description for all of the steps. But if you look at the picture it should be clear what comes next! As you will notice, I traced over each of my lines in black marker before moving on to the next step. I do suggest doing this, but be sure to draw in pencil first incase you make a mistake that you want to change! 
The first step is drawing the circles that will become roses. I suggest 3-4 larger circles, and 3-4 smaller circles. They do not have to be in the same arrangement as mine. 

Step 2: Pick one of your circles to turn into a rose first.

Step 3: 

Step 4:

Step 5:

Step 6:

Step 7:

Step 8: Once you have one rose drawn, follow the same basic pattern to complete the other flowers! The line placement doesn't have to be identical by any means. If you look at my picture, each rose is a little bit different.

Step 9: Add some leaves and swirly lines wherever you think they will look best! 

Step 10: Add veins to the leaves. You may want them on only one side like I did, or on both! 

Step 11: Add color! I chose several shades of pink and red for my flowers. I scattered my different shades so that one shade was not in two touching sections.