Tag Archives: family art.

Eye Heart Ewe

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November 24, 2014 · 9:00 am

Never Ending Art

 

20141104_130717I guess it’s really time to show the Finished Kitchen Cart. It’s been a while since I first wrote about this family art collaborative, surely long enough to have it done. Yep.

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 Thing is, living in a family of artists, not only are we still drawing on it, finding empty spaces now on the sides and legs, but the young artists have also begun drawing over what they’ve already done. Layers of creativity, of paint pens and designs.

From afar it looks like chaos, but looking closely you see so many little moments, secrets, signs. My Little Pony portraits. A pitched tent. Rainbows of stars. Strong-Strong from Zita the Spacegirl squeezed in by a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle speaking Love. There is so much of my young artists’ personalities in this project, it has become my favorite thing in the house. A family heirloom nobody else could create.

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All this is to say, it may never be done. I can picture them coming home to visit as adults and adding another doodle. Seriously. And I will have paint markers ready, just in case.

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So here is our trash-found treasure, once a kitchen cart, now an Art Cart. It’s got math, monsters, ponies, camping trips, stars, spirals, lizards, faces, video game mentions (Dust), and a lot of color, love, and time put into it.

 

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Filed under Collaborative Art, Drawing, Home Art

Tracing Art: It’s okay. Really.

 

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My children have taught me that tracing isn’t an art evil. As a kid, I thought tracing another artist’s work was cheating and meant you weren’t a real artist. Even copying a painting or drawing by sight felt very, very wrong.  As a teenager, I had a friend who happily copied beautiful famous paintings and book illustrations, and I admired that, as well as her relaxed approach to imitation,  but couldn’t make myself do it. I was a little tense, I think… Ha.

Even so, I’ve supplied my kids with tracing paper from the beginning, like any good art parent would despite her oddly placed principles (which I kept to myself). So, I expected them to trace their own drawings, for some legit purpose like slight alterations or recreating characters. No. Four years ago, my daughter took that tracing paper and got out my childhood copy of Lee J. Ames’ Draw 50 Animals—and then she went directly to the final, finished drawing, and traced it.

Wait. Is that allowed?!

Apparently, yes. She turned it into her own personal art form for months. Tracing animals, coloring them with markers in exotic ways, attaching yarn and hanging them from the ceiling to spin in the fan-breeze. It was beautiful. And I was humbled. Tracing isn’t so bad.

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So a few months ago, when my 8-year-old son was struggling, near tears, over trying to draw Zita the Spacegirl just right, I suggested he trace Ben Hatke’s cover, to get a feel for the lines and angles. He was game and cheered right up. I’m glad to see I did not pass on my tracing-shame to them. Tracing doesn’t end original drawing, and it doesn’t kill creativity. If anything, the satisfaction from tracing can urge young artists forward, and even train their hand to make the shapes their minds are intending.

So he traced, and the sky didn’t fall. He also drew Zita on his own, and I joined him (sans tracing paper…). These are our sketches of Zita, his first and mine in progress:

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This one he did freehand from Hatke’s back-o’-the-book sketches. The kid hated his version until about six hours later when the heat died down and he was able to see how great a job he did. Sometimes we all need a little time to cool off.

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Mail Art Inspiration

And this is how I lured them in…

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Filed under Drawing, Inspiration & Imagination, Mail Art, Lettering & Writing, Painting & Mixed Media, Stamp Carving

Homework and Graffiti

Being the type of homeschoolers we are, there’s no such thing as homework around here.

But there is Home Work, especially for old chests that need a new lease on life and a happy color. Nobody in this family needs cajoling to complete a lesson using spray paint.

An after Home Work, there’s Extra Credit in Dragon Runes:

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Filed under Collaborative Art, Home Art, Homeschool, Painting & Mixed Media

Mail Art to London

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Sometimes my kids aren’t interested in a Fabulous Exciting Amazing Art Project I think they’ll love. I’m not terribly surprised when this happens. They’ve trained me well. Sometimes they love things I think they’ll hate, and sometimes they hate things I think they’ll love. That’s life, and they have every right to their opinions.

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If it’s that Fabulous and Amazing, I’m either already doing it myself, or I’m about to start doing it. There aren’t any “kid’s art projects” around here. There’s just Art, regardless of age, entirely dependent on the artists’ interests and abilities: if you can whittle it, draw it, paint it, go for it. This is great for a lot of reasons—supplies are shared within the family, kids have access to good-quality materials, and projects can be done alongside siblings and adults. It helps young artists feel that what they’re doing is “real” art (if there was ever any question), and I don’t end up painting with crappy watercolors at the kitchen table by myself. I may be painting with really nice watercolors at the kitchen table by myself, and in that case I’m probably having a grand old time.  Often enough, seeing me doing a project they previously rejected gets them inspired to try it, or bring a different project to do alongside me. Mail Art, case in point:

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I needed to send a small package that had been on my to-do list for at least two months. It contained a couple of old postcards, but required an updated note because it had been sitting there so long. Mail Art I can handle. Getting to the post office, not so much. I wasn’t in much of a mood to write, but doodle? Sure thing. I ripped a page out of a magazine I’d gotten from the library’s free bin (aka “Take This Junk We Don’t Want It”) that was destined for altered book/collage projects, and began sketching, scribbling, commenting, generally enjoying the heck out of myself. My kids wandered by, intrigued. I filled both sides of the page.

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In it goes with the old letters, and a tiny hand-bound gift in a tiny package:

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It was a few days later that I was going through some mail art samples for a class, when my older kids asked when we were doing Mail Art. I jogged their memories: “You said you didn’t want to.”

They stared at me. “We want to!”

“Okay, then. Tomorrow.”

“Yay!”

Make something look interesting by enjoying it yourself, and they’ll probably join you. Be warned about reversing this process: it doesn’t work on ice cream. No matter how unhappy you look while eating it, they’ll still want some.

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Filed under Drawing, Mail Art, Lettering & Writing