• robot-blueprint-childrens-art
    Features

    It’s a Boy Thing

    As I’ve mentioned before, much of my boys’ creative activity is increasingly being carried out independently from me these days. They’ll find the stuff they want and get on with it, often without my knowledge. Once finished, they’ll sometimes bring the completed work to me, and explain at length exactly what’s going on. Other times I’ll come across something myself later, abandoned in their bedroom. That was the case with this drawing of a robot done by my 7 year old. Lots of his drawings relate to action and adventure, with Star Wars being a particularly popular theme at the moment. I love the way he’s annotated the drawing (complete…

  • Features

    Colourful Castle

    It’s the Easter holidays, the kids are off school, and time for blogging is short again, so I’m a little late posting this week. We’re currently in Scotland on a rather cloudy and damp break, so I thought I’d share some photos from a visit we made to Kelburn Castle. Graffiti Art and ancient castles don’t usually go hand in hand, but at Kelburn they do! We are more used to seeing this kind of artwork in an urban environment, but Kelburn brought together four of the world’s leading graffiti artists from Brazil to work alongside Scottish talent and create a unique burst of colour, embracing the walls and turrets…

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    Quality Counts

    I recently had to buy some new supplies of tempera paint. I couldn’t find the Reeves brand I had used before, so I bought some own-brand paint from a large store. It was a little cheaper, but turned out to be a false economy. It got me thinking about the art materials we give our children to use, and how this might affect their experience, so I decided to road test a few to see what the differences really were, if any. To begin, I compared what I had left of the Reeves tempera paint, with the new paint I bought. As you can see from the results below, the…

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    Not just for Kids!

    I fell into a love of children’s art accidentally. I’m not an early years educator or an art teacher, and although I’ve always loved creating artwork, it was not until I had kids of my own, that I developed an interest in the artwork children produced. The value of artwork as an activity for children – especially small children, has long been recognised, and while many parents will be happy enough to let school or nursery or kindergarten get on with providing those experiences, there are lots of others who want to do more, even though they may not have been that creative themselves in the past in any conventional…

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    Valuing Art Education

    Throughout my life and my career, I have found that art is often considered a luxury item – something that’s nice to have, and fun to do, but not to be taken seriously, and certainly not to be regarded as important or challenging in any way.  When it comes to the curriculum at school it is generally not considered to be as important as other subjects, and even while studying art at university I found that students of other subjects often considered it an ‘easy’ degree, one that was less rigorous than scientific subjects, and that a day spent in the studio was a day spent  ‘dossing’ about. Yet art…

  • Features,  Outdoor

    Treasures of the Sea

    We’ve just got back from having a few days by the seaside.  We were staying with a friend who has recently moved to live by the sea, and when I say by the sea, I mean within 100 yards of the beach, so it was a fantastic opportunity to spend lots of time there.     I especially liked being able to bob back and forth as the whim took us. The wide expanse of beach was largely sandy, with patches of pebbles, and occasional shells, driftwood, seaglass and other less identifiable objects.  While the kids played in the sand, I ended up spending a lot of time with my…

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    Caring for Keepsakes

    We all have treasures that we want to keep forever.  That curl from baby’s first haircut, or the first tooth to come out, the first painting or a special card your child has made for you.  I for one have difficulty throwing stuff away – I am a confirmed hoarder.  I find it especially difficult to throw away any of my children’s creative efforts, even though I know it’s only really practical to keep the best. There are lots of ways you can reclaim some space, by using those pieces of artwork to create a photobook, or a special piece of wall-art, or by photographing/scanning it all into your computer…

  • Display

    Chalkboard Gallery

    I’ve seen a few home ‘Gallery’ walls for children’s artwork around the internet recently, and have been really keen to do something similar.  However all of the ones I’ve seen have been fairly ‘permanent’, and I wanted to do something a little more flexible that I could change very easily – mainly because we’re still trying to sell the house.  I also really liked the idea of having a wall for the kids (and me) to draw on – there must be a closet graffiti artist in me somewhere. When I remembered that I had an unused tin of chalkboard paint which had been in the garage for years, it…

  • Features,  Nature,  Outdoor,  Seasonal,  Winter

    Icy Artwork

    Following on from my summer and autumn posts about Land Art, it seemed appropriate to continue with a post about Winter Land Art. This is the time to create those snow sculptures – to go beyond the usual snowmen, and create snow castles and palaces, snow animals, or even abstract forms. Or how about some ice installations. Those beautiful cold clear winter days when the sun glitters on the frost, and turns ice into diamonds, and red berries stand out like drops of blood, are particularly inspirational, and if you and the kids are wrapped up warm they provide the perfect opportunity to get out there and be creative. I…

  • artful kids directory
    Features

    Damage Limitation

    I’ve read and heard a few things recently which have made me realise how scared of mess many parents are. Quite a few have told me that they never do any art or craft work with their children at home, not because of any lack of interest or inclination, but simply because they’re afraid of the mess and clearing up involved. The opinion seems to be ‘lets leave that to school or nursery‘ or at best, to the proliferation of art activity clubs that have sprung up. Other art activities I have come across are expressly designed to be as unmessy as possible. This again is for the parent’s benefit…

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    Colouring For Big Kids

    I’ve never been a particular fan of colouring books or sheets for children in general terms – I’d always felt that they are not especially creative, and that while useful perhaps for younger children, the doodle books which encourage children to draw and use their imagination are better.  I think perhaps I have been something of a colouring snob. While a part of me still believes that in general terms, I have come to feel that colouring books and sheets do have an important place of their own – I have found that some children – especially younger ones, or those perhaps lacking in confidence to draw themselves, do appreciate…

  • Display,  Projects

    Box Lid Frames

    I’m always on the looking for new cost-effective ways of displaying children’s artwork, and I recently devised this one.  I’m sure it’s not original, but I’m quite pleased with it nonetheless, so thought I would share it here.  It simply makes use of shallow boxes or box lids to act as a frame.  They need to be made of good quality, stiff board to look their most effective, and they can either be used as they come, or sprayed a different colour.  Likewise the inside face of the lid which will be visible on the wall,  can be either left the same colour as the edges or lined with a…