Monday, May 24, 2010

Father's Day Art Work~ A Child's Seasonal Impressions

This weekend was once again raining, cold, and windy here in the Northwest. My little one kept asking me if he could make some sort of project. Of course, I won't turn that down. So I decided it was a perfect day to make a Father's Day gift.

Joe told me he wanted to paint something. Well to be honest I was too lazy to go to the store so I told him he had to work with what I had available, small pieces of watercolor paper. Joe complained that they were too small until I told him he could paint four different pictures. He was all over that. Here is what we came up with.

He had exactly four sheets of paper so we discussed things that came in fours. Joe thought of the four seasons and that's where this art work came from.
These are Joe's impressions of the four season. He thought the paintings would look great in Dad's office.
This present is particularly lovely because it captures a time in your child's life and reflects what they see, and understand. It really is a view into there perception of the world around them.

Here is your opportunity to see what impressions the seasons make on your child.

First we gathered supplies.

Watercolors-we use cheap ones. Any watercolors will work.

Water-I save my Starbucks cups to use as watercolor craft cups.

Paint brushes the fatter the better, since the technique we used was a "wash" you don't need anything fine.

Salt (any type of salt) this was for the winter technique.

A surface that doesn't mind getting wet. HINT: You can go to Home Depot and have particle board cut for you. I have several of theses boards from my days I spent in the University Of Oregon art department. It seems every class I had we needed these particle board work boards. They are a must for any crafter or artist.

Paper-any cheap tablet of watercolor paper will do.

Painter's Tape-you can get it at a local hardware store.

After I taped down his paper (which creates an automatic boarder) I had Joe draw a horizon line. We discussed this important line. For a child this helps them visualize and ground their painting. It also helps them get started because sometimes it's intimidating to stare at a blank canvas. We discussed sky and ground and how you can put the horizon line anywhere on the paper as long as it's horizontal --thus horizon.

I told Joe what watercolor technique we were going to use. It's called a "wash". That means you are using lots of water. Nothing solid, no details. Everything is very fluid. This might be a hard concept for kids because we are so used to everything being exact in this world but once you show them or guide them they really start to like just letting go of form and moving the paint and water about. Remember to keep some white paper showing. Joe kept saying he needed white paint. I had to keep reminding him white paint in watercolor is his white paper.

Joe started with one of his favorite seasons-Winter. I had him put lots of clear water on the paper then add the paint for the sky. After he got that going I told him to drop salt across the sky. He was so excited to see what this would do. I told him it would look like snow once it was dry. When the painting is dry rub off the salt and voila! A snow effect.

Winter was the only season I guided him on because I wanted to show him the snow technique. But the rest of the seasons I let him go. He came up with the colors and impressions and feelings of each of the seasons. I asked him questions out of interest but also to prompt him into thinking about what he sees during a season. His memory served him well. It is soooo cool to hear what your child remembers about a particular time of year.

Once all the paintings were done he stamped the names of each season accordingly.

Then I took over. I distress the edges of each of Joe's painting just for fun. You don't have to if you don't want. I used the distressing ink from Ranger in Vintage Photo.
Because I had nothing else to mount his work on, I cut a canvas off it's frame (it was a painting I had done several years ago and I didn't like it) turned it over to the plain back side and glued Joe's painting onto the back of the old canvas. I punched two grommets in the top corners so we could hang the canvas. I distressed the edges of the old canvas and tried to unravel it abit just for fun. I like a shabby worn look.

Then I asked Joe if he could think of an item that reminds him of each season. But it had to be from nature, couldn't be a Popsicle. He came up with wet green moss for Spring, seashells for Summer, leaves for Autumn, and dead branches for Winter. We hot glued a representation of those items to the coordinating season and ~bingo bango bongo. A present he could give to Dad that showed his creativity and his understanding of the seasons at age 8.
It is a keepsake.
Oh I almost forgot. Lastly, Joe stamped his name and the date on the corner and he puffed his chest out and smiled. What a since of accomplishment. I think his paintings turned out wonderful. His quote, "I think it could be hanging in a gallery somewhere don't you think, Mom?"
Of course, I agreed. He is brilliant and I am his mom. :)


  1. Oh, this project is absolutely beautiful, I love it! I am holding the link for an upcoming roundup and this will definitely be a main feature!

  2. Wow!! I am currently a fine art student in college, and I just wanted to compliment your son on his amazing artwork. I almost fell out of my seat when I read your article and saw that an eight-yr-old painted those gorgeous watercolors!!! =]

    You have a very talented son. You should be proud, Mama. ^_^ Thank you for the brilliant idea, as well. I think my daddy will be getting some seasonal watercolors this year, as well. -_^


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