Friday, June 14, 2013

Friday's Art Smarts: Father's Day Art in the Style of Paul Klee

Update: even though Father's Day has passed, this is still a great project to try and can be modified for any holiday...or skip the words and just have fun with the colors and shapes!

Father's Day looms ahead.

The first half of the year for our family (starting at Christmas, actually) is a constant holiday or celebration for us, most of which include the buying of gifts.  In between all of the regular holidays - Christmas, Valentines, Easter, Mother's Day, and Father's Day (did I forget any?), we've got all our birthdays and our anniversary.

That's a lot of presents.  Is it just me who looks at things that way?

Don't get me wrong.  I love to receive presents and I really love to give presents.  However, in order for us to survive the first 6 months, we've made a couple of rules.

1. Keep Christmas kind of small.  We don't need to buy the store; in fact, we can't afford it.

2. Use the symbolic anniversary gifts when buying presents for our anniversary.  It forces us to get creative and it's fun to use that as a guide.

3. Valentine's is more about being together than getting big gifts.

4. And Mother's Day and Father's Day revolves around the kids giving the present.

And so, Father's Day is here.  This year, I had a vision for a project that I wanted to help my kids complete, and it turned out better than I expected.

Do you know about Paul Klee?  He's got some amazing pieces.  I really love this one:

Highways and Byways

And this one is cool, too:

Castle and Sun

He used a lot of graphic shapes and bold colors.  I wanted to use Paul Klee as inspiration to create some cool Father's Day art.  Here's what we did in case you'd like to do something similar.

1. thick art paper 
2. ruler
3. pencil
4. sharpie marker
5. watercolors


Ahead of time, if your kids are preschool age, come up with a basic design and draw it out on the art paper. (If you're working with elementary age children, they can probably handle this part themselves.  Since my kids are so young, I had to help them with some of the steps.)

With your kids, start by looking through some of Paul Klee's art.  Discuss with your kiddos how he used lines and shapes to create pictures.  Introduce and define the term abstract.  Ask your kids to name the colors they see in his art, and guide them to notice that each block or space in the picture is a different color.  Discuss "cool" and "warm" colors.  Which picture is their favorite?  Why?

I then let Natalie - under direct supervision, believe me! - outline the words:

Not bad!  This is great fine motor practice.

Then I showed Natalie how to use the ruler to make straight lines and helped her to make some vertical lines between the horizontal lines.  She did several and then lost interest.  I filled in the gaps.  If you're working with preschool age children, be prepared to take over when they are "done."  This can be a tedious and time consuming project, and in all honesty, is really more suited for elementary aged kids.

The next part is where it starts to come together and is so much fun!  Break out your watercolors! Remind the kiddos not to go crazy and start coloring the whole page - this is about smaller blocks of color. I was kind of surprised with how well my kids did, especially Daniel.  Just more proof that they're getting big. Crazy-town.

Daniel was so focused! Still working on that pencil grip....

Natalie was, too.

Natalie and Daniel together finished about 3/4 of the picture and then decided they were done, so I filled in the gaps. Again, if you're working with older kids, I would expect them to be able to complete this project on their own.

This was definitely a collaborative project, a gift from the whole family.  Well, Silas didn't actually help.  But he did watch and really wanted to be in the middle of things.  I think that counts.

Anyway, here's our present!

(Still a little wet, here.)

It was super easy to complete. If your family ends up doing something similar, I'd love for you to leave me a link and let me see what you guys came up with.  There are tons of ways to get creative with this idea - no wrong way to do art!

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  1. What a wonderful art activity and gift! Pinned for later :)

  2. Such a great idea for fathers day!
    Thank you or taking part in the Monday Parenting Pin-it party!
    Your post will now pinned too!

  3. This is a great idea! My kids would love this idea. (I'll have to keep this in mind for my gr.2 next year when I go back to teach)

    1. Oh good! It's always good to have some ideas on hand for the holidays :)

  4. What a great activity. I am following you from We MAde That. I love watercolours and my children's book is illustrated in watercolour.

    1. Yes, I love water colors, too! I've always thought that they're so pretty :)

  5. Such a great idea! I love all the colors! Jenna @ Rain on a Tin Roof

    1. Thanks! I love all the colors, too. I didn't intend for it to, but it totally reminds me of stained glass. Kind of a nice surprise :)


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