‘Accentuate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative….’ Do you know this song? Some say focusing on the positive is the key to happiness. I happen to think it’s a great concept – one that has become my mantra when teaching art and parenting my kids.
Having positive self-talk can make a big difference when our kids are learning something new. Take learning to draw- when kids are unhappy with their drawing, it can go one of two ways- they either keep trying or they give up. Wouldn’t it be great if our kids’ internal voice was compassionate and compelled them to keep trying?
With my two boys home with colds today and Easter this weekend, it was the perfect opportunity to try one of my favorite Easter themed art project with them.
I love coloring Easter eggs so I took that concept and put it to paper to make an Easter Egg Resist painting. These paintings can be used as greeting cards, table setting decorations, or?
A “resist” is a fine art technique which can easily be done with kids at home. In a resist artwork, a picture is created using a material, such as tape, or glue or, in this case, an oil pastel and then painted with a water-based material such as watercolor paint. When the paint is brushed over the oil pastels, the paint does not stick to the pastels, and it creates an interesting effect on your paper.
Since working on my recent podcast, “Your Family is a Work of Art,” I’ve been a little obsessed with the notion of creative parenting. I’ve been examining what it can look like in my own life, the ways it benefits my family – and how to do it more often! As I chew on this concept, consciously calling on my own creativity when I’m with my kids, my parental stress dissipates. When I parent from a creative place, we have more fun, flow and connection. Who doesn’t want more of that in family life!
When I watch my five year old draw, he has this natural flow with no obvious upfront agenda. He simply adds to his picture as he develops a narrative in his imagination. When his drawing doesn’t turn out the way he intended, he just changes his story and turns it into something else – without getting hung up on it being “right” or not. His flexible, joyful, non-critical approach to making art inspires me. It reminds me how much I loved to draw when I was little – and that unfortunately, like many, I stopped drawing as I got older.
Take a moment and think back to when you were a child, maybe five or six years old. What were some of the things you loved to do? One of my favorite memories is gliding across our frozen pond in rubber boots, pretending to be an ice skater. From playing make-believe to building sand castles or blanket forts, a lot of our happiest childhood memories come from using creativity.
It’s so fun to experiment with art materials! Last month I shared a video from the Intermediate Program that demonstrates some traditional watercolor techniques and I am back now with some painting ideas that really capture the unpredictability of watercolor- a quality that makes it really exciting for kids and adults alike.
Artists often experiment with their art medium by adding solvents to change the consistency and they use unconventional tools to manipulate the results simply for the enjoyment of watching the process. The three techniques below do just that- using salt, straws and plastic wrap (and your watercolor supplies), you can have an afternoon of creative exploration with your kids- all with things you likely have right in your kitchen!
Bowl of water
Extras: Salt, Straw, Plastic Wrap
Adding salt to a wet watercolor painting creates a starburst effect as the salt absorbs the paint. The interesting texture it creates is beautiful on its own or can be used to create a night sky or wintry scene.
My Ignite Seattle talk “I want to teach your child to fail” was aired on NPR tonight.
Please watch the 5-minute talk and if you like what you hear – share it with the world using the social buttons below!
They ran the whole set of speakers from back in May. It was such a fun night with so many amazing speakers. It was a honor to be part of such an inspiring forum.
Wouldn’t it be cool if you could better understand what your child’s experience and process was when making their art? What was going through their creative mind when they drew that picture or painted that landscape? Does their art say anything about their hopes, their dreams, or their fears?
For the final post in my series on How we Create, I want to share a tool we use in our online program called Art Talk. Art Talk helps kids think about and share their creative learning. Reflecting on the experience is often overlooked but it can be the most valuable part of creating.
Here are five great conversation starters you can use to help your child get the most out of their creative process.
We all want to raise confident and creative kids who fearlessly pursue their ideas, right? What’s the best way to accomplish this? Help them get comfortable with and learn from their failures.
In last week’s post I talked about helping your child to create a plan before diving into a project. This week is about the most challenging step in the creative process: taking action and doing the creative work to see an idea through- which often means dealing with the possibility of failure.