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

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Summer Fruit Banner

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 banner 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 banner. 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

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. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Collaborative Mural

 During our Spring Break Camp this week we focused on collaborative projects. Kids working together can further the ideas of process over product. The children are less attached to a completed piece if they are working on just a portion of the artwork.  Making a mural is a great opportunity for kids to work together and it makes me smile every time I walk over it.

The key to creating this mural is the paint we used. I prepared the paint mixture using Rangoli powder, which is made in India and is basically colored rice powder. The colors of the powder are celebratory and vibrant. I mixed the colored powder with liquid cornstarch. about 2 tbsp. of powder to one cup of liquid starch.

Using white chalk the children partnered up and traced each other's bodies onto the sidewalk. Each child chose their own pose, whether lying on their back or stomach and whether arms out or up.  We only asked that the kids overlapped each other's drawings and stay within the chalk frame we drew on the sidewalk.

The result is an abstraction of lines, creating all kinds of shapes where the lines have overlapped.

We asked the kids to look for the shapes their body lines made and color those shapes in with any color they wanted.

When the home-made paint dries that colorful rice powder stays on the surface of the concrete. It does eventually wash away. It will stay on our Los Angeles sidewalk for about 2 weeks or so.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Our Art Wall

Our art wall at Purple Twig was formed out of me trying to solve the problem of what to do with all the art my own children make here at the studio. My home is full of artworks created by both grown ups and children. Full to the brim. The unhung artwork was piling up in bins, which was so sad because I love to look at the work and it was wasting away being hidden away on storage shelves. The solution came to me while at a thrift store scrounging around for art materials and coming across  a bin of empty frames in different sizes. 

Not only has this wall become an attractive point of interest, it also displays the variety  of  projects we make and materials we use here at the studio. Because there isn't any glass on the artworks,  I get the ease of changing them out when it strikes my fancy. It's really quite simple to put up. It's just a matter of organizing the size of frames. I started at one end with one frame and just pieced the wall together frame by frame. 

I'm going to show you how I easily put up the frames if you would like to give it a go. You'll need.

a level
skinny long nails-at least 2 inches

The nails are used to set the frame onto so the nails need to stick out enough to hang the frame.

Use the level and make two pencil marks on either side just below the level.  You are marking where the nails will go. As long as the pencil marks are at a distance smaller than the size of the frame it's fine.

Hammer the nails in at your pencil marks making sure the nails are sticking out enough for the frame to set on.

Hang the frame onto the nails and check to make sure it's plumb.  I then just put some tape on the back of the painting and taped it to the wall inside the frame.

It took me a while to build it across the studio and it's still growing. The more frames and artwork I add to the wall, the better it gets. The varieties in color and materials just add interest to the studio inviting viewers to ponder the possibilities of art making while in our space.

Monday, March 6, 2017


MONO= one
CHROME= color

It's hard to disregard a rainbow whether it's in the sky or hanging in the studio. You ever wonder what adds depth and interest to a work of art? Darkness, lightness, thin lines and thicker lines. There are so many shades and hues of each color to explore. This project is great for many ages, two year olds will love touching and looking at each materials and a 10 year old will figure out how to make an intricate pattern using the same color but in different shades and tones. 

We began by having the children choose one color they would like to work in. I add a little white glue to the paint so it's nice and sticky when we are ready to attach all the other varieties of materials. I gave the children cardboard squares which you could upscale from a box or just use a sturdy paper. Then the kids paint away. I then add a little white to each paint cup for the to mix in. So now we have two tones of color on the cardboard.

If doing this project at home you could walk around the house with your child and see what materials you can find in the color they have chosen. We offered paper, fabric, yarn, straws, lace. buttons, bottle  caps. I absolutely love materials, love the potential in the materials and so enjoy observing the children using them to their interest. 


After they explored the paint for a bit. I brought out the other materials one at a time. I like to give the little students one material at a time so they can explore each material thoroughly before moving on to the next. 

The children really get to use the materials how they are comfortable, painting over some fabrics and papers, "hiding" them, stacking materials and sometimes even organizing them into categories. The result is a gloriously colorful mixed media piece with diverse shades of the same color.