Fall Art Camp Mega Post

My project samples clockwise from top left: Mixed Media Bird’s Nest, (center) Mixed Media Bee Hives, Giant Moon Landscape, Pallet knife Pumpkin, and Thunderstorm on 10″ x 20″

I usually like to take the time to write out nice instructions and have a single post with a single direction, but I’ve been pretty busy this season with various projects. You know how you have a burst of energy, and volunteer for too many activities? That might have happened. Yes, I think it did happen. Art blogging fell way back along the wayside. So, I present in one giant chunk, the various acrylic and mixed media projects from the past Fall Kid’s Camp Sessions in October. Tried to stick a PRO-tip in each one.

FIRST PROJECT: GIANT MOON LANDSCAPES

I distinctly remember being told not to teach projects that are directly holiday related. I noticed a couple of other instructors do anyway… but I digress. I really wanted to paint something with Halloween-ish colors though. So I did a huge eerie moon landscape. I also showed the kiddos some easy bat silhouettes that some chose to put on their pieces.

Giant Moon Landscapes. My version at the top left; the rest are some of the kids projects.

The pallet for this painting did not include black, but for those kiddos who did want it; as always wait till the end to give out black as it will ruin a kid’s pallet super quickly!

{PRO-TIP} Black paint can ruin a paint pallet very quickly. For little ones, wait to put out black until the end or put just a small amount out when you need it. Don’t give them black at the start!

SECOND PROJECT: THUNDERSTORM ON NARROW CANVAS

Kids usually get excited about anything thats out of the ordinary, such as switching out the normal 16″ x 20″ canvas for a narrower 10″ x 20″ size. We had some extra to use, so I thought it would make the perfect size for a painting with long lightning bolts.

Thunder and lightning. My project on the left. The rest are the kid’s awesome takes.

I love how some kids chose different color schemes, and one just wanted a galaxy with no storm. It makes me happy when they can take a simple concept and run with it. If I do have a simpler painting like this one, I do like to slow the kids down by tailoring the brush size to smaller ones.

{PRO-TIP} Tailor the brush for the time you want to work on your projects; larger brushes spread paint faster so if you want kids to slow down, give them smaller brushes.

THIRD PROJECT: MIXED MEDIA BEE HIVES

When I found out my class was overbooked- thirty five kids cough cough- and still needed to be a mixed media project, I first really wished I had been assigned just an acrylic painting. Then I just adapted one albeit one from the Pinerest Gods of yore into basically an acrylic painting with an option to add mixed media bubble wrap at the end. note to those with sensitive ears: they will pop the bubble wrap. I feel it keeps them busy 🙂

Mixed Media Bee Hives. Finished project on the left, then the sketch and the background to the right.

We started out by sketching out the hive and the tree and just the bodies of the bees. Whenever sketching with kiddos especially little ones, remember to talk a lot about scale. Show them how to use their hands or fingers or even use templates or objects to make sure they aren’t drawing too small. They will get frustrated later when trying to paint in the detail.

{PRO-TIP} Remind little ones constantly about scale. Have them hold their hands, fingers, pencils or other objects up to their drawings to see if they are drawing too big or too small. Have them look at how high up or down they are placing their objects if they want to match a sample image,

Not the bees! The kiddos awesome finished hive projects.

A good chunk of the class decided to add the bubble wrap. The rest, mainly my older kids decided to add detail to the hives instead; like lines or doors. I always give the option for extra colors and had one or two takers. As always black paint out very very last step. Also if kids were willing to wait for them to dry, I let them use permanent markers to finish the lines on the bees. Really enjoyed the final product on these.

FOURTH PROJECT: MIXED MEDIA BIRDS IN NESTS

Same week, same huuuge classes. In addition the bubble wrap, I still had a glut of Easter Grass that I had used fairly successfully in a mixed media project before. So why not more nests? I’m not sure any of the kids got the birds and bees joke I also made to myself.

Sketch and finished product if Birds in Nests.

Just like the bee hives we started with a sketch. Again, try to talk to the kiddos about scale as they sketch. Another great tip when drawing is to remind them not to press quite so hard when sketching, in case they need to erase any mistakes. Kids could draw as many birds as they wanted, and I encouraged changing it up and and other fun additions.

{PRO-TIP} Remind kids not to press so hard when sketching, or the good old saying: Draw light ’till you get it right!

Birds in Nests. My sample top left, the rest are the kid’s projects.

I let the kids choose to use the same color palette as I did or choose their own colors for the birds. Most of the kids chose to use the easter grass to make it a mixed media piece. By the end some had added suns, clouds, and even a rainbow. Some eggs hatched and some had speckles. I love it when kids are able to add their own touches; I always tell them that it’s their project, not mine. Make it your own!

FIFTH PROJECT: PALETTE KNIFE PUMPKINS

This was a fun project that produced a vast array of results. I had several older kids in this class who chose not to use a pallet knife, and also several jack-o-lanterns made an appearance.

For this painting we started with a rough sketch of the pumpkin and the horizon line. I made sure to talk about scale, drawing light and also not filling in the smaller details. We then all got the same paint; cobalt, pthalo green, chrome orange, chrome yellow, white & umber. If any kiddo wanted extra colors, we grabbed them as we went along.

We then did all the background colors, beginning with the sky (blue and white) , grass (green and yellow) and then the lighter orange(orange and white) of the pumpkin. Again, no details. I wanted them to get all the basic colors in the back down before we took a snack break so that they could dry before we tried using the pallet knives.

The art fairy passed out the pallet knives during snack. I prefer kids starting with an angled pallet knife, and for a vast array of reasons I prefer them to use the plastic ones. I encouraged the kids to use the pallet knife, but it was ok if they preferred to use a brush with the details.

I like to start with the clouds so the kids can get the hang of it with an easy shape. Then add in the grass, then finally the lines of the pumpkin. The final step for me is the spirals of the vines. Encourage kids to practice each step before they put it on the canvas.

Pallet Knife Pumpkins! My sample top left, the rest are some of the kid’s amazing creations.

Each pumpkin looked very different to the next. I was very pleased with the outcome, and this one in particular both the kids and also the parents seemed to really enjoy it as well. Sometimes it’s hard to have both outcomes at the same time.

Whew! Thanks for making it this far. Onwards and upwards. Coming next a belated holiday show post, winter kids camp & more.

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