• oranges-window-clings

    Scribble & Splat Window Clings

    I’m a bit late posting this time, simply because I haven’t had the weather to allow me to photograph this project. We’ve had non-stop rain and gloom, so the light has been really poor. The river outside our front door is in spate, really full and fast-flowing, and lots of places (fortunately not us) have had further flooding. Still, during a momentary gap in the clouds this weekend (and I mean momentary), I managed to grab the camera, so that I could get this post up at long last. These window clings were born of further experimentation with the string-gel medium once again. I had half a jar to use up,…

  • Features

    The Art of Travel

    There is a long history of artwork created while out and about. From the truly inspirational sketchbooks of JMW Turner to the ‘plein air’ art of the impressionists, art produced ‘on the spot’ often has something which art created later from notes, photographs, memory etc. lacks. Travelling or going away on holiday is also no excuse for kids to stop being creative – in fact it offers lots of new sights, materials and inspiration for artwork. The opportunities are not just confined to those while you’re actually away, but the time before and after your trip can also be used to get creative with a travel theme. Here are just a…

  • leaf-frottage
    Materials & Techniques,  Nature,  Techniques

    Fun with Frottage

    One of the things I most love about art is its sensual qualities. Art can be many things, but for me it’s the visual and tactile elements of art that I especially enjoy, and which I think are also particularly fun for children to explore. I’ve always had a particular attraction to texture especially – as an art student, I spent a lot of time seeking out ruined dilapidated buildings to paint because of the wonderful subtle colour combinations and textures you found there – not to mention their evocative atmosphere. A great way to achieve texture on paint is by using the technique of ‘frottage’. This is basically the…

  • Projects

    Art Portfolio Tutorial

    Keeping children’s artwork in good condition can sometimes be a challenge. Even if you are ruthless about only keeping the best, there is a tendency for it to get creased and dog-eared. It makes sense to keep it flat, and a traditional portfolio is the ideal way to do this. Yet the choice of portfolios available for children is limited.  I couldn’t find one that I liked and most were very small, so I thought I would have a go at making my own instead. This proved to be pretty easy and quite cheap to do, with the added benefit of offering the opportunity to decorate and personalise the cover…

  • robot-blueprint-childrens-art

    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…

  • kids-artwork-lavender-sachets

    Arty Lavender Sachets

    Time is still short for me at the moment, so I hope you won’t mind if this week I use a project that I originally created as a guest post last year. I very rarely do guest posts – not because I’m unwilling to do any, but just because I’m far too shy about putting myself forward for them! These lavender sachets  are a simple idea for creating a small gift with your children. I think they would look especially good presented as a set of 3 or 4 in a box, and they are another gift which is both unashamedly sentimental yet also useful – my favourite kind. All…

  • 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…

  • Freebies,  Nature,  Projects

    Flower Fairy Fashions

    Warning – if you don’t like fairies, then look away now, as this is an unashamedly girly post. As the mother of boys, I don’t often have the opportunity to indulge my well hidden girly side, but today I’m going to do it. I confess that I’ve always had a soft spot for flower fairies, though it’s not something I indulge very often. It probably started with the set of Flower Fairy books I had as a child, and still have somewhere, much battered, and full of my childish scribbling. The illustrations are beautifully delicate, and so sharply observed. Apparently the author, Cicely Mary Barker’s  sister owned and ran a small…

  • Projects

    Children’s Artwork Bunting Mural

    Yet another way of using some of the piles of children’s artwork that you can accumulate, this is a cheap and easy way to add some colour to a child’s room, using their own artwork. I’ve been meaning to do this project for weeks now, because my elder son’s room has never been properly decorated as a child’s room should be. Not that it appears to have bothered him in any way – he seems to be one of those people (frequently male) who have a complete unconcern for the environment he lives in. When I completed the project, I didn’t tell him, but left it as a surprise. It…

  • Projects

    Decorative Drawer-Liners for Mother’s Day

    Ever since we first tried making Paste Papers, I’ve been wanting to do more – it’s over a year since we did our last batch, so half term seemed like a good opportunity to have another go and try some different techniques. I had the idea to create some decorative drawer liners, which meant that fairly large sheets of paper were required, so out came the old flip chart again. This has proved to be such a good investment, as I find myself using it quite a lot. The paper is also quite thin, and is therefore ideal for the particular technique I wanted to use.     Last time…

  • Projects

    Even More Tissue Paper Cards

    Just a quick post this week since the kids are off school for half term, and keeping me busy, so I thought I’d share a few more of the Tissue Paper cards which I made a little while ago. I think this technique lends itself particularly well to flower and foliage motifs, as you can see.       They’re pretty self-explanatory, but if you want to find out more about them, check out my earlier post for the Valentine Tissue Paper Cards.  

  • Features

    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…