Adult Art Project, Art Project, Kid's Art Project, Messy Art, Process Art

Sometimes Art Is Messy

Charcoal cloud low res

So one thing that I find I am constantly saying is, “Sometimes art is messy.” In our culture we tend to have a fear of mess. This fear can act as an inhibitor to our creativity. We tell our children, “Don’t make a mess.” We tell ourselves, “I can’t do that it is too messy.” Sometimes though it is good to embrace the mess, to let it in. When we let go of all that control we can begin to feel free to be creative. In my last post I wrote about sensory art play for infants and toddlers. It is probably the messiest class that I lead. It is a ton of fun. In order to enjoy it though one must let go of the need to be tidy. It is a pretty easy sell for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, It is somewhat acceptable for very young kids to get messy. They after all are messy with pretty much everything they do! It is a much more difficult sell for older children,  and even more difficult for adults. My argument though is that there is a time and a place for being messy, and that it can be quite freeing to our creative nature to allow ourselves and our children to embrace the creative mess on occasion. After all, “Sometimes Art Is Messy!”

messy hands collage
Messy hands of all ages enjoying the process of art.

Some of my favorite projects are the result of messy art. Once you let go and embrace the process of messy art, some really cool things can happen. For me this is where art meets mindfulness.

  1. You get in the flow. You become in tune with the moment.
  2. You let go of a need for control. You let the process unfold.
  3. You have fun. When you are not so worried about controlling the art, you are able to just enjoy it.

Fluid Acrylic Art

 

Fluid acrylic or ink pours like the one in the video above are a perfect example of letting go and embracing the process. This is a very messy technique and it is quite difficult to control the outcome, but if you can embrace the mess and let go of your need to control it then you begin to realize just how interesting and enjoyable it is to watch paint move! Sometimes you love the finished painting, and sometimes you don’t. Not all art is meant for a gallery wall or even the refrigerator. I find this method of creating to be quite therapeutic. For me it allows me to become present in the moment. It gives me a reset and a change in mindset and attitude.

pour collage
Fluid Acrylic Pours

String Painting

A favorite messy art project of mine is string painting. I have done this project with preschoolers, school age children, and adults. This method is always fun, always messy, and always satisfying! I love how they turn out. They remind me of my favorite flowers, the calla lily.

string art collage

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Shaving Cream Marbling

Who does not love playing with shaving cream, right? It has a pleasant scent, and fluffy texture, and best of all it is so much fun to use as a marbling medium. Once you have marbled your papers you can use them in so many ways. They can become collage papers for future projects or backgrounds for more detailed paintings, or even journal pages.

paper marbling collage
Shaving cream marbling is fun for all ages.
finished marbled pages
Finished Marbled page and a collage using marbled papers.

Scrape Painting

Scrape painting is a favorite of mine for younger kids. I use this a lot for preschoolers and elementary age children. It is a great way to explore color mixing. It is quite messy but I love how these turn out! I could see adults having fun with this as well, I sure do!

scrape painting collage
The scrape painting process is super messy, but fun!!
scrape painting finished art collage
Finished scrape paintings always remind me of the art of Eric Carle.

Blow Painting

I have written about blow painting before here.  It is a super fun messy art project that is worth mentioning again. It is absolutely something that you have to let go of expectations and control to be able to enjoy. Young kids are really good at that. Older kids and us adults, well sometimes we need a bit of help in that area. I typically do these types of projects with preschool and elementary age children. Sometimes we turn our splatters into more “refined” art such as paint monsters or flowers. With adults I mostly have done blown paint with alcohol inks, but the idea is the same and te results are similar!

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Preschooler blowing paint splatters.
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Flower blown paint art by elementary age kids.
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Flower blown art by me! Made with alcohol inks

I hope that you and the kiddos in your life will try out some of these fun messy at projects at some point. Yes they are very messy, but the mess is worth the experience.

A fun little bit of info: The name of this blog Art-Breaks, came from some of my experiences with messy art! Last year, when I still had my art studio, my friend used to pop in on her lunch break for art time. We made some huge messes during these short little art breaks. We experimented with acrylic pours, and string art mostly. Several of the photos above are from those little breaks. I wish we were still able to do them. I miss it so much. Anyway these little breaks were so important to me that I named this blog after them!

Feel free to leave a comment, question, or little story about your experiences with messy art!

Signiture

Adult Art Project, Art Project, collage, Kid's Art Project, Preschool Art, Process Art

More fun with collage, part 2.

prompt 8 collage

In Fun With Collages, Part 1 we looked at torn paper collages, cut paper collage, and vision boards. The post was getting long, but I felt like there was still so much more to cover! So today we will look at recycled art paper collages, cardboard collages, fabric collages, and found object collages.

Just a reminder of the supplies you will need for your collage work:

  • Old magazines, Papers, Cardboard or even Fabrics
  • Glue (Glue sticks work well for lightweight papers, Mod Podge for fabrics, or a stronger craft glue for cardboard.)
  • Scissors
  • Something to glue your collage to. If you are working in a sketchbook or journal great, if not any piece of plain paper or cardboard will do.
  • Found objects and a low temp hot glue gun for our final collage project!

 

Recycled Art Paper Collage

old art collage
Old art from several different activities with kids between preschool and elementary age. I cut both geometric shapes and more organic shapes out. In many cases I let the shapes on the painting dictate what I cut out.

So in the last post we were mainly using magazine pages and other decorative papers such as scrapbook papers. Today we will be focused on recycled papers and repurposing old art work for our collage purposes. I enjoy doing a lot of process art with kiddos and myself, but you end up with a lot of art papers that really don’t have a function. So what are you to do with the ever-growing stacks of paper? Well collage of course!

 

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A quick little playful ocean life collage made from the fun shapes found in abandoned process art which was left unclaimed.

I often will cut up old art papers into fun shapes to reuse at a later time either myself or with a kid’s art class. I like to keep fun cut up papers on hand in a collage basket for kids to experiment with.

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This beautiful landscape collage was done by an elementary aged child using several of their own process art pages we had created in class throughout the year.

 

Cardboard Collage

Cardboard is a great medium for collage. Shapes can be cut and arranged on a larger sheet of cardboard to create a new image. Paint can also be used to unify the piece of art created. You can play with texture by peeling the top layer off a piece of corrugated cardboard to reveal the fun rigid texture! I recommend using either a craft glue such as Elmers or even a low temp hot glue gun as the cardboard will need a bit more sticking power!

cardboard collage

 

 

Fabric Collage

Another fun twist on collageing is using fabric scraps instead of paper. For fabric I like to use Mod Podge instead of glue sticks or craft glue because it dries flat without any ridges.  I usually will use the Mod Podge both under the fabric and as a top coat to make sure it is sealed. I usually will use cardboard for my backer but you could experiment with other substrates as you wish.

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A quick little landscape that I created one afternoon.
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Some fabric collage landscapes from a summer camp I ran. The kids were elementary aged.

Found Object Collage

The final style of collage that I want to discuss today is found object collage, sometimes refered to as assemblage art. For these projects you will need the low temp hot glue as many items are too bulky for craft glue. You will also need a sturdy backer or substrate. I often use wood or corrugated cardboard.

bird collage 2
This fun little bird used both old cut up pieces of art work and various found objects!

Quick tip: When working with children always be sure to use low temp glue guns. Point out the hot parts and let them know to place the glue on the backer surface and then add the small found object to avoid holding tiny items in their hand to glue which could lead to a burn. Show them how to use a small popsicle stick or some other stick like object to pres into the hot glue instead of pushing the object with their finger.

clooage mandala 1
A foun object mandala from a yoga and art camp I helped lead.

Kids love to use the hot glue, and it can be done safely even with very young kids as long as you pay attention to safety measures. Yes, small burns do happen from time to time but small injuries are a valuable learning experience. It is worth the small risk to see the sense of wonder and excitement in the face of a child who has acted independently with a tool!

bottle cap art
Remember incorporating a bit of mixed media is also a fun way to unify found object collages as is the case with this awesome flower vase with bottle cap flowers!

I hope you have enjoyed this series of collage projects as much as much as I have. I love to both make my own collages and teach collage workshops and classes! They are so much fun and the possibilities are limitless!

Signiture

Adult Art Project, Art Project, collage, Kid's Art Project, Preschool Art, Process Art

Fun With Collage, Part 1

making collages collage

Collages are some of my favorite projects to do. There are so many ways to collage making this such a diverse medium. I have done colleges with children as young as 3 yrs old and I have done collages in my adult classes. You can go as simply or as intricate as you want. I encourage you to play with different papers and fabrics in your collage work. Below you will see some examples of my favorite collage projects from many of the classes I have taught throughout the years. These have been classes both for kids and adults…collage is for everyone!

For these projects you need:

  • Old magazines, Papers, Cardboard or even Fabrics
  • Glue (Glue sticks work well for lightweight papers, mod podge for fabrics, or a stronger craft glue for cardboard.)
  • Scissors
  • Something to glue your collage to. If you are working in a sketchbook or journal great, if not any piece of plain paper or cardboard will do.

Torn Paper Collage

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Try tearing your papers instead of cutting them. There is something about tearing little bits of paper that is quite therapeutic! The above rainbow color collage above was a simple little project I did with bits of torn paper. It was a quick and playful little collage that I did as part of a yoga and art class I was hosting one time. Plus, there is no right or wrong way to tear paper, simply start with colors, pictures, or words that resonate with you. Any size or shape will do. The idea is to overlap your torn pieces of paper so that you cover the entire page you are working on.

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This collage was part of a vision board workshop I hosted for women. I combined the torn paper with a cut out image and a bit of wet on wet watercolor play.

Cut Paper Collage

If tearing is not your thing try cutting out images and or words that resonate with you. Cut paper collages, just as torn paper collages can be done with many age groups. For the very youngest children I sometimes provide a series of already cut shapes (both geometric shapes and more organic shapes). If the child has scissor skill though it is better to let them cut their own shapes!

Cut pieces can be arranged in any way you wish. They can be layered over one another, used to create a new picture, or simply collaged to highlight the specific image or word chosen (Think Vision Board).

cut paper collage
These landscape collages were done by elementary age children. For this project they focused on using colors and textures to create a new landscape.
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This landscape collage was completed by an adult student, again they focused on colors and textures to create the sky and water, but they highlighted a chosen image for the flower field.
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The child who completed this collage was about 3 years old. This is an example of a collage using pre-cut shapes. For this project we were focusing on the gluing skill, so we isolated that aspect of the collage by eliminating the need to cut shapes.  A large variety of shapes, colors, and patterns were offered for the child to choose from.

Vision Boards

Vision boards are collages that focus on a goal or idea that you want to focus on. They are a very useful tool to help you keep your goals in mind as you strive to reach them. I have done vision boards with children and adults. They are useful, fun, and therapeutic! I like to start off my new year by creating a vision board for the year.

vision board collage
Three examples of vision boards. The far left was done by a child, we started by tracing her head then she collaged her interests and desires inside! The middle was in an adult board from a self-care class focused on intrinsic goals. The third was a board focused on life goals using a combination of words and images.

This should get you started with some fun creative collage ideas for yourself, or your kids. Try using collage as a group activity in a class or with a scout group, women’s circle, or club! Most of all have fun!

For more fun collage check out part 2

Signiture

Adult Art Project, Art Project, Kid's Art Project, Process Art

Abstract Watercolor Project

 

Abstract watercolor

Check out this is a fun and easy project to get your creative juices flowing! This project is geared towards adults, however I have done this with kids as young as 9 before and it has gone really well. Children just need to be old enough to follow instructions and patient enough to work through the many steps.

Here are the supplies you will need for this project:

  • Watercolor Paper: I like 140# paper but you could use a 90# paper as well. This project does work best with paper made for watercolor paint.
  • Watercolor Paints and Brush: I used prang student grade watercolors and they worked fine. Just note that the better quality watercolors you use the more vibrant your painting will be!
  • Painters Tape
  • Rubber Cement
  • Black Ultra Fine Tip Sharpie
  • Hair Dryer (If you are impatient like me)

watercolor resist supplies

Step 1

Use Painters tape to tape your paper to your work surface. This will help keep your paper from warping as much, and it will create a nice finished looking border edge around your final piece.

Now drizzle rubber cement across your page. Let it dry. Rubber cement dries pretty quickly but you can use that hair dryer to speed it along. It does need to be fully dry before moving on to the next step.

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Step 2

You will be working with three colors for this project. I would suggest using colors in the same color family to avoid mixing brown unintentionally.

  • Warm colors: Red, Yellow, Orange
  • Cool colors: Blue, Purple, Green
  • Analogous Colors: (Colors that are next to each other on the color wheel) such as Blue, Green, Yellow

Tip: Colors that are opposite on the color wheel tend to make a muddy brown hue such as red and green or purple and orange…

Begin painting with the lightest color of the three you have chosen for your piece. So if you chose blue, yellow, and green, begin with the yellow.

Paint with your first color across part of your page. Leave some white space for the other colors later. Allow the paint to dry (Use a hair dryer is desired). 

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Step 3

Drizzle more rubber cement across your painted surface. Allow to dry completely.

Step 4

Paint with the second color. Paint across some of the white space you left previously but leave some white space for your third color as well. With the second color paint over part of your first color, allowing the two colors to mix and layer. Dry.

Step 5

Drizzle more rubber cement across your newly painted surface. Dry completely.

Step 6

Paint with your third and final color. Fill in the remaining white space. Paint over portions of your first two colors allowing the colors to mix and layer. Leave some of the colors unmixed as well. Once your are happy with your composition allow your work to dry completely. You can use the dryer for this as well, but make sure to dry it completely before you move on to the next step. 

3rd color

Step 7

Using the pads of your fingers rub off all of the rubber cement, revealing the colors/white page beneath. This process takes a bit of patience and elbow grease!

rub off rubber cement

Step 8

Use your sharpie pen to outline some of the shapes created by the rubber cement resisting the paint. This will simply highlight some of those shapes. You do not need to highlight all of the shapes. Simply pick a few of the most interesting to you! Be creative and have fun! You can also doodle in some of the shape if you wish…you are only limited by your imagination.

Watercolor restis play pen

Step 9

Pull up the tape revealing the crisp edges of your finished piece of abstract art. Enjoy your masterpiece!  

I hope you enjoy this playful project as much as I did! I would love to hear your thoughts or see what you came up with if you feel like sharing! Feel free to leave a comment below.

Watercolor restis play
My finished piece. It looks like some sort of space dog I think, lol!

Signiture

Adult Art Project, Art Project, Kid's Art Project, Preschool Art, Process Art

Blow Painting: Process art for kids and Adults!

Blow Painting

Blow painting is a fun process art activity for multiple age groups. Simply change the type of paint or pigment used for different effects and for different age groups. Read on to find out the general process plus check out my top 5 favorite projects using this technique! There are projects for preschoolers, school aged kids, and even adults…so read on.

 

Be sure to check out my top 5 favorite blow paint projects!

 

For this project you are going to need:

  • Thinned paint or ink, depending on the group you are painting with. More on that later!
  • A dropper or pipette
  • Paper or canvas, the type used needs to work well with the choice of paint/ink you are using. Being sure to use a high quality substrate that matches the intended project will always offer the best results. For kid’s projects I like to use a 90# mixed media paper or a watercolor paper. For adults I might use the watercolor paper, canvas, or specialty paper depending on the paint medium being offered.
  • A drinking straw.
  • Optional: Additional items to finish out your project, i.e googly eyes, glitter, sharpies, ect.

Process:

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  1. Prepare your paint. I love to use liquid watercolors but watered down tempera paints work well also for the first three projects. The 4th and 5th projects require their own special paints and papers/substraits.
  2. Drip your paint/ink onto your paper using the dropper. 90# mixed media paper or watercolor paper work best for this project. Thinner paper tends to rip too easy.
  3. Aim your straw at the paint drip and blow into the straw, allowing the paint to spread and splatter.
  4. Try turning your paper as you blow through your straw to spread the paint around more.
  5. Continue to drip paint and blow through the straw until you are satisfied with the result!

You can enjoy this projects as it is or extend it with one of the following project ideas to finish it out!

Check out my top 5 favorite blow paint projects below!

 

Project 1: Blow paint monsters

blow paint monster collage

Recommended Age:  Preschool – 9 years

Simply add one or more googly eyes to the paint splatter to create a blow paint monster. If the paint is really wet you can probably just add the googly eyes to the wet paint, otherwise you may need to use a dot of glue on each eye.

 

Project 2: Flower Gardens

flower collage

 

Recommended Age: 6-12 years

  1. Direct the children to aim towards the middle of the page to drip the paint and blow the splatters out. Encourage them to make several splatters, allowing colors to mix.
  2. Next give them some green paint. I like to use a couple of different shades of green to create a bit of depth.
  3. Have them hold their paper up or prop it up on an easel. Ask them to create the stems and grass for the flowers by using the gravity painting technique. Hold the dropper at the bottom of their blown out flower and allow the green to drip down the page.
  4. Create a few leaves by blowing through the straw at the green stem in a few places.
  5. Optional: Once the paint has dried completely allow the child to add details to the flowers or accent certain shapes using ultra fine point sharpies.

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Project 3: Blow paint portraits

hair collage

Recommended Age: 5-12 years

  1. Have the child draw a bald character on a piece of paper, being sure that they leave room for the hair! I find that a bust (head and shoulders works best for this project).
  2. Have the child use the dropper to drip the paint on the hairline.
  3. Use the straw to blow the hair out and away from the face.

 

Project 4: High flow acrylics on Canvas

liquid pour collage

Recommended Age: Teen- Adult

For this project I like to use canvas panels as opposed to paper. Canvas panels are also cheaper and a bit sturdier than stretched canvas. They do not tend to droop the way a stretched canvas might under the weight of pooled up paint. You can use high flow acrylics or you can make your own by adding a bit of elmer’s gel glue and water to your acrylic paints. The consistency should be similar to pancake batter.

Tip: These will take a long time to dry so I have found it useful to place the canvas in a box as I work. Gift boxes work well for this. You can also use plastic bottle caps to hold the canvas panels off of the bottom of the box so that as it dries it does not stick to the box.

  1. Set up your work space by placing the canvas on a level flat surface. See the tip above for ideas incase you might need to move the piece prior to drying.
  2. You can either pour your high flow acrylics directly onto your canvas or you can add smaller amounts by using a dropper/pipette as described above in the other projects.
  3. Use the straw to help move the paints around you canvas by blowing into it. You can also tilt the canvas and allow gravity to move the paint.

Note: Part of the fun of this type of painting is letting go of the control. Allow yourself to enjoy watching the paint move and flow. Remember that often the paint will continue to move a bit as it dries, so it will likely continue to change form as it dries.

 

Project 5: Alcohol Inks

alcohol inks collage

Recommended Age: Teen to Adult

For this project you are going to need a few more specialty items:

  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Alcohol Inks, my favorite brand is Ranger.
  • Yupo Paper
  • Small plastic paint pallet
  • Droppers/pipette
  • Straw
  • Optional: small paint brush, old plastic gift card, alcohol wipes

Process:

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  1. You can drip inks directly from the bottle onto your yupo paper if you wish.
  2. Use the straw to blow the ink around. The ink will continue to blow around until the alcohol evaporates.
  3. Alternately you can mix a few drops of alcohol with a few drop of the ink in your pallet and use the dropper or a small brush to add it to the yupo paper.
  4. Play with ways to manipulate the ink by blowing through the straw, painting into it with the paint brush and more ink or even plain alcohol, or scraping it with the plastic card.

Note: The inks can be reactivated with more alcohol and reworked.

*To clean up your alcohol ink tools use the rubbing alcohol rather than water.

I hope you enjoy these projects as much as I do! I would love to hear your experiences. Feel free to leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts.

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Until next time,

Signiture