Purple Twig- Art Exploration for kids. A mom run small business in Los Angeles. Stop by to see the trials and tribulations.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Salt Paintings



Our goal is to foster children's curiosity by discovering materials in a unique way. We sometimes combine those materials with themes so that not only are they exploring the art methods but also using their imagination to do so.  Like with most of the projects I do this one is layered with many steps to move through, exploring each material as they do so.
Most children have used glue to bind two materials together and most children are familiar with salt for eating and most children have painted using liquid watercolor, but this project puts all three together with the idea of a labyrinth.


I read the children the story about the Minotaur and the Labyrinth from Greek Mythology just to get to the thoughts flowing. 
With the young kids ages 5-6 we just gave them glue to squeeze onto the paper while discussing with their peers about making a maze and how it might work.  They might not look like labyrinths but the ideas are there.  With the older kids ages 7-10 I gave them pencils to draw out their labyrinth. Each took their time to draw and share ideas about the trap doors and dead ends. When finished I gave them glue bottles to draw with. 



After they feel satisfied with the glue drawing I gave each child a cup of salt and asked them to sprinkle it all over the glue so that the glue sparkled.





The last step in this process is to add the watercolor using a pipette.  We really stressed how to be careful and just drip the color and watch it spread through the salt, creating these lines of colorful crystals.


The ooooohs and the wows of excited children exploring the materials is so delightful to hear. 




They take overnight to dry and after you shake off the excess salt the combination of glue salt and watercolor leave a crystallized masterpiece.





Sunday, July 30, 2017

Celebration of The Moon

With the eclipse approaching in our corner of the world I thought it would be a nice idea to do a post on celebrating the moon. During our Potion Lab Summer Camp we created moon phase banner using the power of the sun.



We talked about the phases of the moon and a few ways to represent those phases. The phases of the moon is a wonderful way to discuss how we are all connected together. Even if the moon seems so incredible far away, it has an affect on how the oceans move here on earth. 



These are the two ingredients you will need to turn any piece of fabric into a sun print. The possibilities are so fantastic. This Solar Fast solution doesn't wash out so you could make t-shirts or pillows and so much more. It also comes in other colors.  I water the solution down with water 1:1 in a cup for the kids to paint on.


The kids cut out shapes of the moon phases from paper to place onto the sun printed fabric. I cut a sheet into rectangular small banner sizes.  You just paint the solution onto the fabric and place the shapes you like onto the fabric. We did tape the fabric onto a piece of cardboard to make it easier to carry outside. Once the sun hits the painted fabric it starts to turn blue. We counted to 20 then brought them inside.



Place 2 capfuls of the solar was into a tub of water to wash away the chemicals. Then rinse ad hang to dry. A few of my kids wanted to experiment with the  shades of color so they would paint on some solution them paint on some water in order to make some parts faded.



Lastly we cut slits into the tops of the fabric and passed a stick through the slits to create a way to hang the banners on the wall. It's such a beautiful project to celebrate celebrate the moon. 




Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Tiny Cameras


Relevant joyful learning is what we strive for where children can make their own choices all the  while learning new techniques and furthering old old ones through practice. We practice by cutting, and glueing and drawing and stacking. This week at our summer camp the theme was Teeny Tiny Things. It's a theme that sparks the grand imagination of even the smallest of our artists. It's a way for their small hands to work their magic to create little art projects.

 

I so enjoy offering materials that are well known as an everyday objects. By altering those seemingly mundane materials into art objects kids learn about the possibilities of transformation.


I gave the children match boxes, buttons, beads and tiny pieces of paper for this project. All the kids needed was some paint mixed with glue to turn those boxes into a little cameras.



 We talked about he kinds of things they would like to take pictures of sisters, brothers, moms and dads, their cats, or maybe flowers or a forest. The children used the small pieces of paper to make drawings to be their photographs like little polaroid cameras.




Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Summer Fruit Garland


A fruit salad is one of favorite snacks for a summertime refreshment, a mixture of fruits cut and mixed together with all those pastel greens, purples, oranges and yellows.  It tastes delicious and the colors are most pleasing. This made me think of making a fruit salad garland for a window display at the Purple Twig studio for summer.  



By making fruit prints then stringing them with some beads we made this festive garland. One of the things I like about this project is that is has a quite a few layers.  First we spent some time printing the fruit in many different colors. The different colors created a new fruit. By using yellow on an orange it had the qualities of a lemon, if printed green, it then reminded us of a lime. 


 You could use so many fruits, peaches,  plums, even bananas or strawberries to give a variance in size on the finished  banner. This is just the fruit we had around at the time this project came to me: apples, oranges and plums. We used tempera paint and found that brushing it on the fruit using a foam brush worked best.








When the prints were dry we cut out the fruits, cutting very closely to the outside line of the fruit to give the shape definition.


After making 2 holes using a hole-punch, we passed a string through the paper fruits sometimes adding beads in between.



They turned out so sunny and warm. I think they are going to make a lovely summer decoration for the studio.







Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Building Sculptures



These sculptures were made in our Toddler Class  but this is a great project for ages 2-6.  


I usually get my wood scraps from a furniture maker. She has so much extra wood and is happy to donate it to the studio for the kids to explore. I did invest in a chop saw and cut all the wood into even smaller pieces for the kids, but you can also get scraps from lumber stores.
I also offered the children puzzle pieces, buttons, beads and colored rice (which I dye myself. If you would like the recipe please email me at info@purpletwig.com and I will send it to you)






I gave each child 4 or 5 pieces of wood and some glue. I used the regular school glue instead of the washable kind for this project so everything really stuck. The children stacked the wood how they liked, sometimes a child might put a large piece on top of a thin piece and witnessed it become unstable and fall. We talked about how to create a strong structure by putting the thicker pieces on the bottom and smaller on the top. 


Then came the puzzle pieces to add. Then the buttons were next sometimes organizing them by color or shape and sometimes the larger buttons would drip down the sculpture along with the glue.




Then I gave them beads and lastly I offered them the colored rice to sprinkle.
The result are these individual colorful sculptures full of texture.  This would be a wonderful project for a birthday celebration or for a nice afternoon one on one with your child. 









Sunday, May 21, 2017

Gestural Abstraction




What is abstraction in art?  Creating an artwork of something in the real world like a face or landscape but making it one's own way, acknowledging that it's not reality. It's a painting, altering the subject so it doesn’t look like it does in real life. The artist could change the color or change or alter perspective. Another definition of abstraction is creating an artwork where color, line and shape are the subject matter as Kandinsky said “Where one is free from the constraints of depiction and narrative. 

Gestural abstraction takes this idea of subject matter being line and color into an even more intuitive direction, the idea that you are expressing something with your marks. Everyone makes their own marks with a paint brush, no two are a like. Abstraction is by no means easy to create and gestural abstraction can even be more difficult because you have to relinquish self-consciousness. You have to trust your mark making. I find that kids under age of seven have a much easier time with this. But I do love to do this project for children about 9-13 because once they get the idea of loosening up with the materials something clicks and they just experience those materials and not try so hard to control them. 

I just did a lecture at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena on a few artists from the Blau Reiter group. Kandinsky being one of the artists and the only artist that goes purely abstraction abandoning and outside subject matter all together. This project using black lines and filling them in with color was the perfect accompaniment to this lecture. The project came from Michelle Adelsheim of Lakeside Art Studio in San Fransisco.  Check out her instagram account. It's full of wonderful images of children creating artworks.


What you will need:

black acrylic Paint
postcards or old credit cards
watercolor paper
watercolor paint
a tray or plate for black paint
a brush for watercolor paint
water

There are a few qualities of this project that I love introducing to my students, one of them is that they do not use paint brushes. Marks can come from many other sources. This project uses old postcards that can be dipped into black acrylic paint. 



The kids can be precise with their lines creating patterns or they can close their eyes let intuition take over. Some kids were even creating narratives about train tracks. 


Another quality of this project I respond to is the layers of process and materials. After the black paint is dry the kids added color. Some kids added color to the shapes the black lines made and some filled large portions of the page with colors that appealed to them.


The result is these gestural paintings that are colorful and graphic. This is a great project that focuses on process and allows the little artists to trust themselves with the materials. The kids are both learning a technique and experiencing freedom within the art making.