Sunday, August 24, 2014


Leaf Abstraction by Ingrid Age 9

Every summer I teach week long art camps...and work with a variety of ages from pre-school through 8th grade.  I really enjoy the week long summer art camp experiences with the different age groups.  All the kids are so creative and each one approaches the projects in their own very different and unique way. 

Abstract Painting Oil Pastel/Acrylic

 Kids are so open to new ideas and so naturally intuitive about art and materials that you can pretty much explain a project and allow them to find their way.  Sometimes before we even get started on it they are already thinking up new directions they want to spin off in.  I love to encourage this in all the kids I work with and hope I am able to help them to expand the way they look at and think about their artwork.  

Oil Pastel Puzzle Painting Catarina age 9
I know that their creativity and approach affects my own work and is a great inspiring influence on my own creative process.  I try to keep some of this wonder, and the joy of the experiential part of the process to drive my own work forward.  I try not to allow the fear of what the final product might be ruin the organic nature of experimentation - something I also teach is that nothing is a mistake .... just a new way to take your painting or project into a new direction.  I hope by working along side of the children in class allows them to see that even the teacher sometimes also makes unintentional marks but then takes that as a new direction in the work rather then a point  of frustration or failure.

Oil Pastel/Acrylic Painting by Jess age 8

Parents are also very surprised at the amount of work we manage to create in such a short time together.  The kids are surprised when 2 hours go by and it is time for a break...confirmation that they have quietly slipped into right brain and time has stopped for a short while...all without video games or TV sets.

Here are just a few of the things we have done recently.....

Recycled Material Picasso Collage Portraits  These recycled art collages were created using corrugated cardboard painted with tempera paints, we then did an instructor guided drawing of a Picasso style face with one side looking front and the other side in profile.  We kept the details simple and everyone did their own drawing.  Students then cut out their drawings into sections, each side of the face, neck, shoulders, hair sections etc.  The puzzle pieces were put back down on another piece of paper and then each one was used as a pattern to trace out recycled material for the portraits. One half of the face was kept back and colored with Oil Pastels.  We used magazines, cloth, foil papers, newspapers and other scraps from our scrap bin at the art center.  As each piece was cut out in the new material it was glued with stick glue to the new backing paper.  When the whole thing was complete, we cut around the heads with scissors and then used Modge Podge to adhere it to the cardboard.  We used Modge Podge Gloss over the entire piece and allowed them to dry over night and they looked fabulous!

 This class was grades 3 - 5

Observation to Abstraction  - One of my favorite projects is to have the kids start with an observational drawing exercise and then 
take it to abstraction by using non-local color, creating designs and using creative mark making.  In photo at the top of the page, the lovely bold acrylic painting by Ingrid started with an observational drawing of grape vines we had gathered.  These paintings all began the same way.  Starting with vines, wind fallen branches with leaves and collected greenery from around the grounds of the studio the children started their acrylics on 90lb watercolor paper in pencil and then right into acrylic paintings with dynamic results. This project was from a class I taught called Painting from Nature.

Leaf Abstractions Nick Age 8
While these are all very different each child was given the same directions to first draw and then to paint.  Only the one at top right was done in Oil Pastel and this lovely drawing was done in a different class by a six year old girl.  Even though the media is different she has lovely expressive line and has taken the work far beyond what I would have expected from someone so young.  It shows how expressive children can be if basic directives are given and then they are allowed to freely engage with the subject matter and materials.

Lastly I want to share some very lovely Pastel and Watercolor portraits that my students made over the summer.  I love portraiture and I think anyone can learn to draw a face.  These kids prove just that many of the pictures here were made by k - 2 graders which makes me really proud of all the hard work in learning to "see" that they did over the summer. Moving into non-local color pushes the projects into the abstract and without trying allows the kids to think in a more free and open way when approaching the work.

Sydney Age 6

Thanks for looking at these projects I hope you enjoyed seeing them. Namaste ~ Marcy