Creating Art with Your Kids

by Cate on December 3, 2012

art - supplies-001
My grandmother on my mom’s side died a few years ago. For all the things I loved about her, she was very difficult to get along with. Her home was awash with bright colors, pops of purples and pinks everywhere, but that was in sharp contrast to how negative she was. She was never shy in telling people what she thought and her tongue could be quite acerbic.

I’ll never forget the day she came to visit the first home that The Ex and I had bought. I had just finished painting the living room, and she was going to spend the day with me at our new home, helping me decorate and get us settled. She walked right into the living room and said “Why on earth would you paint it this color?”

Completely deflating the sense of pride I had in the first room I had finished in our new home. And so began a very long day. My time with her, both that day and otherwise, was filled with her constant negative comments about everything. My hair. The clothes I wore. Choices I made, decorating, life, and otherwise.

And as much as I hate that my kids will grow up never knowing her (Nick’s last visit with her was when he was 10 months old, so, of course, Madeline and my three nieces never got the chance to meet her), I am glad that what they *do* know of and have learned about her, is happy.

She was a master with the paint brush, and was known for turning out beautiful water color paintings with a quick flick of her wrist. She took art classes every year at her local college, withdrawing right before the end, so she could re-enroll again the next term.

Her bright, happy, colorful paintings hang in our home. One in my office, and one in Madeline’s room.

And that’s the legacy she left behind for my kids.

Which is all sorts of awesome.

They both love art, any kind, and to create. Nick is always blown away when he sees something that my grandmother painted (she left quite the collection behind), and they both get their artistic bents from her, as does my Mom and my sister. My creative bents are in other forms.

Over the summer, I sold a huge bookcase. And with it, I gained a nice sized empty wall that instantly became a blank canvas. It’s in a little alcove near our dining room, and is the perfect place to fill with art. I knew exactly how I would start.

By creating art with my kids.

This is a super simple project that you can do with just a few supplies.

– canvas

– paint (I used acrylics from the Plaid line and Martha Stewart)

– paint brush

– damp paper towel

I started out by choosing a handful of colors that would complement the new color scheme I’m using to redo the downstairs. We set our supplies up on the coffee table and went to work. We each used the same colors in our own section of the canvas. I only asked for sweeping brush strokes so that the theme of the painting as a whole was consistent.

art - shh artists at work

Once we had finished that step, it looked mostly like this. My section is the larger pink and yellow area, Nick’s has a blue undercurrent, and Madeline’s green.

art - almost done

But I wasn’t done.

After it had dried, I mixed a little bit of white paint with water, to thin it down, and put a white wash over the whole thing, muting the colors and toning it down a bit.

And then I took a damp paper towel and wiped away a few small areas of the white wash, so little bits of the vibrant color showed through.

And this is the end result.

Art - finished

Which I love.

It’s a simple art project that the three of us created together (each of us also signed our section), that we will pass by every day. It was a fun afternoon for the three of us to spend together, and the end result, beyond a beautiful piece of artwork for the wall, reminds me a little of the very best bits of my grandmother.

Hungry for more art projects?
Oh hello Spin Art! One of the masterpieces the kids made is going to hang next to this canvas.
This salt art was another one of our favorite art projects.

Tomorrow? November in Instagram!
Wednesday? The gingerbread exhibit!
Thursday? A review of new-to-us frozen yogurt place!
Friday? Old School Mini Black Olive Pizzas!

New items have been added to the Pop Up Shop – nutcrackers and aprons – go get ’em before they’re gone!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Joanne December 4, 2012 at 7:24 am

I love that you guys do so many crafts together. It creates so many great memories that can then be emblemized with the finished work!
Joanne recently posted..Recipe: Tuscan Bean and Wheatberry Soup with Cabbage and Winter Squash


Meg December 4, 2012 at 9:47 am

What a sweet and fun project. Some of my favorite afternoons as a kid were ones I spent doing crafts (pillows, painting, coloring) with my gram and mom. These are the moments that matter . . .
Meg recently posted..For the girl who has everything . . .


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