I received a wonderful new art book for kids to review
and I'm thrilled to be sharing a project excerpt with
you today. The name of the book is Art Lab for Kids
and the author, Susan Schwake, is an artist and
art instructor at Artstream Studios.
The book contains 52 different art projects, one
for each week of the year, so it's easy for teachers
and parents to use. It covers drawing, painting,
printmaking, paper, and mixed media and each
project, or lab, features the work of a
contemporary artist who has
a similar style.
I picked this project because it works well for multiple
ages, uses only a few basic art materials and the
finished piece would make a lovely Mother's Day gift!
Fingertip Painting on Found Wood
a piece of cast off smooth wood (for example: an
old shelf, stair, wooden box side, scraps from
building project, even a narrow rectangle
will work well)
larger bristle or foam brush about 2" (52mm)
small damp sponge
flower catalogs, live flowers, or photographs of flowers
Using a soft wide paint brush works best with gesso
An hour or more ahead of time, prime your wood
with gesso using the large bristle or foam brush.
You can make a wide stripe of gesso down the middle
leaving an inch on each of the sides of the wood
showing. When it is dry, cover your work area with
newspapers. Set up your palette area with a piece
of Plexiglas for your paints. Dispense some red,
yellow, blue, and white acrylic paints, about a 1" circle
(25mm) to start, and have a small damp sponge
handy to clean your fingertip between colors.
Look at the reference materials and choose your
favorite flowers to paint. Take a look at the size of
your found wood. Is it tall enough for the type of
flowers you chose? Sketch with the pencil on the paper
a few ideas of what your painting could look like. Chose
your favorite sketch and get your prepared board out!
This painting is about the subject matter itself, not
a background or foreground. The flowers are the main
attraction and so we will begin by painting them the
same way they grow. This alternative method of painting
and mixing colors is a great way to get started
painting without the additional stress of learning how
to choose and use brushes.
Dipping just the end of the finger into the paint
1. Starting with the stems and leaves begin with
blue paint on just the tip of your finger and paint a dot
at the bottom of the stem. Work your way up the stem
a little at a time, using this dot method.
An up and down tapping motion works best for
color application and mixing
2. While the blue paint is still wet, clean your
fingertip on the damp sponge and then dry it on
a paper towel. Pick up some yellow paint and mix it
into the blue paint on the stem of the flower. Using
an up and down “tapping motion” you will mix the
paint to make the stem green. More yellow paint will
make the stem lighter and less yellow will make it
darker. Try shading the leaves or the stem using this
method of light and dark. Continue painting the stems
and leaves until you are finished with them. Wiping
your finger between colors keeps your pallet neat and
prepares you for the new color of the blooms.
3. Carefully examine the shape of the blooms and
the colors in your reference material. Again use a small
amount of paint on your fingertip and start to shape the
blooms with the tapping/dotting motion. Try using
different fingers for different sized petals or leaves.
White can be used to make tints of the colors
you mix, but always use yellow to lighten your greens.
Blue and red will make purples. Red and yellow will
make oranges of all sorts, just vary the amount of
yellow. When mixing shades of color, avoid mixing
the colors thoroughly for a different look.
*Try making a triptych of vertical rectangles to
create a larger artwork.
*Make a large number of artworks to group
together on a wall as in a garden.
Meet the Artist: Amy Rice
Amy Rice is an artist from Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Her mixed media painting “Zinnas” was made on an
old piece of found barn board wood. This work inspired
the fingertip painting project! See more of her
work at www.amyrice.com
Thank you to Susan for sharing this project from
her book, Art Lab for Kids! I think you will really love
this book, it's one of the best I've seen in a while and
all of the projects can be enjoyed by adults as well
as kids. For more information about Susan and
Art Lab for Kids here are some links for you:
connect: Art Lab for Kids on Facebook
book information: Art Lab for Kids
business: Artstream Studios
portfolio: Susan Schwake
blog: art esprit