We have recently returned from a glorious week in Cornwall. It is definitely one of my favourite places with rocky coasts, dramatic scenery, pebbles, sea and quirky shops. This week my mum joined us for a few days at the cottage Mill Farm and created some artworks with my two daughters Izzie (age 8) and Hattie (age 5). I am so impressed with the results and can’t wait to frame them to remember our holiday. Below is my mum’s artistic story from her blog – www.limetreesstudio.com

15-03-14- Izzy & Hattie painting72jpg15-03-14- Izzy's painting4-72 15-03-14- Hattie's painting2-7215-03-14- Hattie painting2-72 Lin Kerr: I arrived for the long weekend in Cornwall with two sheets of sturdy paper which had been rollered with gesso. 2-3 layers on the front and 2 on the back is ideal. Izzy helped gesso them and this gave her some enthusiasm for the idea of painting the cottage before we left. The sheets are masking-taped to boards and acrylics are at hand.

First we talked about all the details, counted the windows, kept running up to look behind the wall etc. Then they were each given a waterproof marker and began to draw. I left them alone for this although now and again we chatted about what we could see. Hattie asked me to draw the lock on the green door on the far right.
We used really diluted acrylic for the roof and wall. (I mixed all the colours as it wasn’t practical to let them loose with my artist quality acrylics.)

15-03-14- Izzy's painting3-72The girls cut up a gardening magazine for the grass and flowers. Izzy insisted on no flowers. We discovered that if you glue sideways with the PVA against the grain it gets wrinkled. I painted more glue over all the magazine bits to waterproof them. That evening I stuck masking tape over all the windows and doors and around the house for the next stage. I used my scalpel and the paper is so strong that you can cut and peel off the excess masking tape in situ.
15-03-14- Izzy's painting2stage 3-72We added some salt and a touch of colour to the white and painted the walls, going over the marking tape edges. We carefully peeled the masking tape off together. Then the girls helped mask the roof and edges to paint the sky. The sky was done with a cut-off bit of kitchen sponge with very watery acrylic. Dabbing it with kitchen roll created clouds. Izzy needed to add a bit of hedge on the left. We did the paintings in stages over three days.
15-03-14- Izzy's painting1-7215-03-14- Hattie's painting1-72Hattie added the yellow lichen to the roof and painted the doors green.

Some thoughts about children’s art:

  • A lot of the ‘teaching’ is talking about the subject and observing details, differences in colour etc.
  • The other major aspect is providing fabulous materials and interesting techniques as the work progresses.
  • I always start with drawing using a tool that can’t be erased. Then they just have to get on with it and can’t rub out, ending up with a sad child, and a grubby, otherwise blank sheet with a hole in it!
  • It’s important to snatch it away before it gets overworked (in the nicest possible way of course).
  • Artwork can also be made to look beautiful by taking care and being creative with the display, or by framing it at home.
  • Children really respond to having their work appreciated.
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