Last Sunday I presented a handful of fun Summer projects for the Littles at Opus Framing and Art Supplies- the artist talk was called nature camp and was all about helping children strengthen their connection to nature. We live right in the middle of a very bust city- quite literally surrounded by concrete- in order to foster our connection with nature we need to go and seek it out- as nature on our doorstep is very hard to find! Our family heads outdoors at every chance we get- beaches, hiking trails, quiet meadows- this is where we seek our connection and help our Littles connect with their planet.
To this end I have geared the three projects towards three different age groups- this first fun activity is for the under 5 crowd- however I discovered that really kids of any age enjoy splatting paint around! This project provides many entries for nature based conversations- mainly what I love the seasons- texture of trees, bark, leaves. Not to mention how this can be a lesson on paint mixing, colours and different mark making tools. The Splatter and Blow tree is fun for all!
Step 1- take paint for the trunk of tree- we used watered down tempera paint- you need a paint that is going to move freely. Place a "glob" of paint in the centre of the page- start blowing through a straw- this will create the trunk and limbs of your tree. Making marks through a straw like this is one of the most ancient forms of air brushing- essentially air brushing at it's most basic!
Step 2- once you have created a tree trunk and limbs that the artist is content with you can start to add foliage. Using old tooth brushes loaded with more watered down tempera paint- hold the tooth brush towards the page and start running your thumb over the bristles- creating a spray pattern- try and keep this pattern at the top of the tree trunk.
*note* this is where things start to get really free and messy!
Obviously all artists have different approaches to mark making- Miss Lo skipped the brush all together and started using hand prints as tree leaves- effective and adorable! There is no wrong way to do this project!
Another exciting way to get paint onto your tree painting is to load your brush up and just start splattering- AKA throwing the paint at the easel- this is much more difficult to control where the paint lands- but is super freeing and very fun!
Step 3- once the artist is satisfied with their tree you can set it aside to dry for a bit- tempera paint dries quite quickly and if you are outside on a sunny day your project should be dry in a matter of minutes. The final step is to add a bit of a textural element to your tree- we went in and added squares of tissue glued on at various spots- this creates added interest and a bit of 3-D effect to your work!
When all is said and done it doesn't matter if your tree looks like a real tree- the point is to have fun and let the Littles creatively express them selves- there is nothing more satisfying -AKA fun- than to be able to express oneself openly with out judgment.
"It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge"