Thursday, April 01, 2021

Our Favorite Art for Easter & Spring

Here are a few of our Favorite Easter/Spring art projects.  You might want to try them too!

Easter Egg Hunt!

This is a mixed media project for all ages, even preschoolers! The secret is a cardboard egg template. Trace as many as your like, then decorate the eggs at will! Try to do something different with each one. Then hide your eggs in the grass by painting the background green, green, green!

Busy Easter Bunny 
Here's a fun painting of the Easter Bunny busily getting ready for Easter! We painted these on a large piece of blue poster board using tempera paint and LOTS of imagination! Include a vase of spring flowers and lots of spilled paint! Added various collage elements, like wrapping paper, scrapbooking papers, and newspaper make this a really fun Easter art project!!! 

You can find more details and see lots more  busy Easter Bunnies on our previous weblog post. 

A Wild Rabbit! 
This is a tempera painting of a rabbit amid tasty dandelions and sweet grasses. He is wary and watchful as he fills his tummy with yumminess! 

Our bunny is painted on 12" x 18" paper, starting first with a simple guided drawing. 

You can see more examples our wild rabbit painting here and here.

Pysanky Egg Pastel Resist Painting

This is a very large Pysanky-style Easter Egg painting that is created first with oil pastels and then painted with watercolor. The more detailed the drawing, the more stunning the results!

Visit That Artist Woman for step-by-step instructions.

Cheery Cherry Blossoms 
This beautiful spring-like tempera painting inspires happiness! Created in the style of Russian painter Natalia Goncharova, beautiful bright colors are painted on colored paper using simple and quick strokes of the brush! See our previous post for more details and samples of student work.

You can also download a pdf of detailed step-by-step printable instructions from Painted Paper Art.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with ART!

 Leprechauns! Rainbows! Shamrocks! Good luck! GOLD! 

What do these things all have in common?   St. Patrick's Day, of course. But also - fantastic incentives and ideas for ART-MAKING! Here are a few of our favorites.

Build a Leprechaun Trap! This *STEAM project involves the designing and hands-on crafting of a working trap, then decorating it so as to entice a leprechaun to enter the trap! This is a great project for any age - even the youngest makers can build a leprechaun trap with an assistant's help. This printable pdf guide will help you design and build your own Leprechaun Trap!

* STEAM = Science + Technology + Engineering + ART + Math

Draw a Leprechaun!  Any child who loves art and has Internet access is likely familiar with Art Hub for Kids - a series of fun follow-along drawing lessons for children on Youtube and Youtube for Kids.

Rob, the art teacher, is dad to four kids of his own, one of whom draws right alongside him in each episode. This Leprechaun Folding Surprise is just one of many leprechauns you can draw along with Rob. If you want to draw lots of Leprechauns, you can also draw a Folded Leprechaun Puppet,  a Cartoon Leprechaun,  a Leprechaun Puppy, a Cute Girl Leprechaun, and more!   

Zendoodle a Shamrock!  Learn to Zendoodle any object on our previous post right here

Tip: Shamrocks are the perfect object to Zendoodle! You can even cut them out and attach to a beautiful rainbow background. 

Create a Romero Britto Patterned Shamrock! Romero Britto is a Brazilian artist who enjoys adding bold patterns and colors to ordinary objects. Learn how to make a Britto-style Shamrock at Deep Space Sparkle for a step-by-step video and a drawing guide. You can also download our printable pdf Britto lesson guide for this art project.

Younger artists will want to Paint a Rainbow, of course! Visit our our previous post to see more student samples. 
To get your young artist started, download this printable pdf lesson as well as our rainbow paintbox handout.


Next up, our favorite Easter & Spring Art ideas!

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Our Favorite 'Heart Art'

During the month of February we enjoy exploring new ways to create HEART artwork. Here are four of our favorite HEART ART projects:

'Follow Your Heart' painting

This is a "free painting" art project using tempera paint on small sheets of white poster board. Young artists will practice color mixing, brushwork, and pattern design, while creating a fun and interesting painting!

See more about Painted Hearts in our previous post.

You can also download our printable step-by-step pdf.

Paper Mosaic Heart

Make a beautiful mosaic heart using cut paper and glitter tape on black paper hearts. It really is easier than it looks, and a fun project for working with fine motor skills. Here is our previous post of the full lesson.  

Here is a downloadable printable lesson pdf for this project. 

Floating Heart

Kids love unusual art media and processes, so these mixed media Jim Dine-style hearts are extra enjoyable to create. In fact, they are so much fun, we have done them several times at the art studio! You can see all of our creations and how we made them here, here, and here.

We also have a downloadable step-by-step instructional pdf that you can print out, too.

Painted Heart collages

This is another Jim Dine inspired 'heart art' project that's all about open-ended art processes. Paint, draw, stamp, scribble, using just about any media. Let everything dry, then cut out your hearts and glue, combining positive and negative heart shapes in each piece. See our previous weblog post for more student samples. 

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Our Favorite Winter-themed Art Ideas

We've created so many amazing, snowy frosty wintery artworks at the Blackfoot Art Center! It wasn't easy to pick just the right ones for our artists-in-residence. We've selected six of our favorites for you to create at home, each with complete instructions. Have fun!

Winter Alpine Trees

These lovely alpine trees are created with torn painted paper, collage, and tempera paint on a black substrate. Click here for our previous project post. You can also download a printable step-by-step pdf for this project. 

Hint: Keep your project printouts in an art project idea binder for future reference.

Downtown Snow Storm!

You'll will have a great time creating this awesome wintertime art project: a downtown snowstorm!

This is a mixed media painted collage. You'll paint the tall buildings, cut them out, glue them down, then finish with more details and lots of SNOW! Take a look at our earlier post to see how it's done. You can also print out our step-by-step pdf instructions for this fun project.

Winter Cardinals

These sweet little cardinals snuggle up on a snowy branch in this frosty winter landscape. You can learn more about this watercolor/tempera painting right here. You can also download a printable step-by-step pdf for this fun project. 

Steamy Hot Cocoa Mugs

Paint a steamy hot mug of cocoa while creating colorful designs and patterns for--well--everything! You can also add fun foam marshmallows and tracing paper steam... Click here to see our earlier weblog post. 

You can download a printable step-by-step pdf too.

Animals in Snugly Sweaters

These forest animals are snugly warm in their colorful sweaters! The entire project is created using Sharpies and markers (after the basic animal shape is lightly penciled in).  

Learn how here, or download our printable step-by-step pdf

Winter Tree Silhouettes

These winter tree silhouettes are unusual because we used warm instead of cool colors to create them. They are painted on watercolor paper using both liquid and pan watercolors. You can use both or either type for your painting. 

Learn more on our original post or watch a video and get step-by-step instructions at Deep Space Sparkle, which includes a free printable Winter Tree drawing guide.

Next up: Our favorite 'Heart Art' project ideas!

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Make COOL Snowman Art!

Without enough (or any) snow, it's difficult to build a proper snowman, right??? 

No worries! Make snowman art! 

In this post you'll find some of our favorite snowman-themed art projects. 

These are unique ways to create snowman art that you may have never thought of before. You will use a variety of art media while seeing snowmen a whole new way!

Build a Giant Snowman!

What makes this snowman look so BIG? Imagine you are a bug looking UP at this snowman. An ordinary snowman would look very LARGE, wouldn’t it?

It's a matter of perspective, or how we view something. A thing can look quite different from above, from below, close up, and from far away! So let’s learn how to make a snowman that looks really, really big! Take a look here and here to see our past weblogs about how to create a giant snowman.

Here is a two-page printable step-by-step pdf project guide

Paper Snow Globe

This snowman lives in a paper snow globe complete with a small wintery scene and a snow storm! All you need is a set of oil pastels, blue construction paper, and a strip of black poster board for a snow globe stand.

Here is a printable step-by-step pdf project guide for this project. 

Snowman 'Scoops'

Here's a special, delicious take on snowman art - Snowman Scoops! Also known as Scoopy the Snowman, this mixed media project is great fun for young artists in the early elementary grades. To 'get the scoop' on this project, visit our Snowman Scoops weblog post right here.

Here is a printable step-by-step pdf project guide.

Snowmen Having FUN!

What do snowmen do while you are sleeping? Read the book Snowmen at Night, by Caralyn and Mark Buehner to find out!!! (You can find it at the library or at Once Upon a Story, right here!)

Then, use your imagination to create your own nighttime snowman adventures!  Take a look at our weblog post for some awesome snowman adventure ideas to get you started.

Here is a printable step-by-step pdf project guide

How to Make a 6-pointed Snowflake

What are snowmen made of? Lots and lots of SNOWFLAKES!  
Did you know that each and every snowflake has six points or sides? We decided to include instructions for making your own 6-pointed paper snowflakes!

Click here to view a short step-by-step video. You can also print out this step-by-step pdf project guide.

Next: Our Favorite Winter-themed Art Ideas!

Friday, December 18, 2020

Christmas-themed Art Ideas!

We have created some magical Christmas-themed artwork at the Blackfoot Art Center over the years, so we decided to post a few of our favorites for you to try at home!

An Old-Fashioned "Christmas Car"

I absolutely love this festive Christmas Car!  So nostalgic and quaint... it reminds me of my childhood - and simpler times.

Take a look at the Christmas Cars our home schoolers created a couple of years ago right here.

Last year, our Friday class student-artists created their own Christmas cars. I've posted their artwork along with complete instructions here.

Santa Folk Art

Who is Santa Claus? Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, St. Nicolas... not only is he known by different names but his appearance has transformed over time and across the world.

This was a fun way to experiment with Santa's appearance as folk art, incorporating Scandinavian-style patterns and designs with a variety of colors. (Santa does not always wear red!)

You'll find more adorable Santa folk art and complete instructions here.

Gingerbread House Art

This fun mixed media art project is fun for any age. This sample is drawn on brown construction paper with construction paper crayons and colored pencils. Then it is glued to light blue paper and thick white paint is added as snow. Here's another example (scroll down the page).

Younger artists might want to make a Ginger Bag house! Made from a brown paper bag and so much fun!!


These nutcrackers can be created in just about any media. Our soldier is oil pastel on black construction paper. Our baker is watercolor with Sharpie outlines. 

Here are some great examples of very unique 4th grade nutcrackers.

There are many how-to-draw a nutcracker tutorials. You can see my favorite (with a step-by-step video) at Deep Space Sparkle.

3-D Christmas Cards

These cute Christmas cards are so much fun! You'll need a variety of materials and a few character ideas (snowmen, elf on-the-shelf, Rudolf, etc.) and then let imaginations run wild!

3-D elements might include pop-ups, googly eyes, pompoms, twigs, or torn paper. Who knows? This is a very open-ended project that is unique to each artists imagination and skill levels. You can see more student samples and how-tos right here.  

Poinsettia in Pastels

This lovely poinsettia is rendered in soft pastels on red construction paper. It really pops off the page, doesn't it? These make great Christmas cards! Just scan your artwork and print. I like to cut the prints out and glue to a blank card.

See more student samples and full instructions right here.

Next up: Our favorite SNOWMAN Art Projects!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Zendoodle Art for Kids!

Do you like sketching and doodling? Do you find yourself drawing patterns and abstract shapes while listening to music or watching TV? Doodling is a way to keep your mind (and hands) active and focused while you concentrate on something totally unrelated. 

Zendoodling is a way to create and organize those doodles more mindfully into something meaningful, unexpected, intuitive, surprising, and beautiful! The act of zendoodling can be incredibly relaxing, satisfying, and fun. And best of all, it inspires hands-on ingenuity and  creativity!

Zendoodling may look complex or difficult. However, the opposite is true. Zendoodling is fun and amazingly easy! You can start by making up your own patterns, or you can try a few patterns using our step-by-step how-tos until you get the hang of it. We've included a printable (pdf) sheet of Zendoodle Pattern Practice Squares for your practice zendoodles. Fill each square in with a different pattern. You'll love some of them, and others not so much. That's okay! Just keep practicing and see what happens.

Now try a zendoodled art project.  
After you have practiced zendoodling a few of your own patterns, try filling in special or seasonal objects with your doodles. For autumn, we used  Pumpkins (above) and these Doodled Autumn Leaves. Draw a simple shape first (like a leaf) on drawing paper, then divide it into sections. You can sketch the shape lightly in pencil first if you like, then go over it with a fine-tipped Sharpie. Then, fill in each section with a different zendoodle pattern, using the same pen as well as an ultra-fine Sharpie. Can you see how each of these pens was used to create the patterns in this leaf?

Here is a zendoodled Easter egg, which was part of a painting of Easter eggs hidden in the grass.

This is a zendoodled St. Patrick's Day shamrock that was cut out and glued to a painted background.

As an option, you can add a bit of watercolor right over the top of your finished zendoodles, such as this leaf. The Sharpie ink is permanent and will not bleed. 

Remember, however, that Sharpie ink can bleed through lightweight paper as you work, so be sure to place another piece of paper under your practice work. You will want to use heavier drawing paper or lightweight watercolor paper when creating your final zendoodle artwork, especially if you will be adding paint to your design. 

Zendoodle your pet!  Another idea is to zendoodle a very simple drawing of a cat or a dog (or any other animal). You can even use a coloring book page, like we did to zendoodle this little dog. Just print out the page and divide the animal's image into sections with your fine-tipped Sharpie. Then, zendoodle each section! If your chosen picture includes a background, you can zendoodle that too.

The simpler the image, the easier it will be to zendoodle. If you would like to zendoodle a pet, here are some printable coloring pages of puppies and coloring pages of kittens to get you started. 

Can you think of anything else you could zendoodle? 

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Autumn Art Ideas for Big Kids

Autumn is such an inspiring time of the year for us artists! The amazingly beautiful colors of fall never cease to enthrall me and put new art-making ideas into my head!

This year we went camping at the Palisades in September. Now, we were aware that the Palisades is known for its brilliant fall colors, but oh my goodness!!! It was so gorgeous, we could not take enough pictures! 

I brought home a few colorful fallen leaves as well to use in some sort of art project, and lo and behold, I came up with this one:

Glowing Leaf Bookmarks. For 10 or 12 and up; adults will enjoy making these too. In fact, I made 20 or so and it was great fun! The leaves are laminated with a heat laminator or pressed between two laminating sheets (no heat). The sheet is then cut up into bookmarkers, and the edges are bound with washi tape. I think they look awesome with metallics, so that's what I used for mine. You can also punch a hole and add a bit of yarn at the top. Here are your printable (pdf) step-by-step instructions for this project. IDEA: Try changing the cutout shapes to make glowing suncatchers for your window!

Raccoons! Here's a cute little raccoon for animal lovers, ages 8 and up. This is a mixed media art project that begins with a sketch of the raccoon (we've included a drawing guide) on a large piece of heavy drawing paper. The artist will then fill in the furry texture and add the details with oil pastels. To complete the artwork, paper scraps for the tree and falling leaves will be needed, as well as a glue stick and a set of watercolors. 

Birch Tree Mini-Watercolor Paintings.  These half-sheet watercolors are so much fun! We have done them over and over again. The secret is "masking" the tree shapes (with masking tape) before you paint! Then paint the background, remove the tape, and complete your trees. Your young artist will feel like a pro after completing a few of these! For 2nd grade and up, adults too.

Autumn-Themed Still Life Art.  Autumn is a wonderful theme for still life artwork. In fact, half the fun is collecting autumn-themed objects for your still life and then arranging it just so. Still life objects might include various gourds, miniature pumpkins, aspen/birch tree twigs, colorful fallen leaves, sunflowers, apples, and pinecones.

Here are three different types of autumn still life paintings your young artist (ages 8 and up) can create at home.

Drawing Media with Watercolor Autumn Still Life

Start with a pencil sketch of the arrangement. Next, fill in the colors and details with watercolor pencils and go over your work lightly with a wet paint brush. Then add shadows and a background. Another option is to finish the drawing in oil pastel, then paint over it in watercolor for a resist effect. Click on the link above for details.  

Oil Pastel Autumn Still Life

First create a pencil sketch of your arrangement on black construction paper.  Then fill in the colors and highlights with oil pastels. Notice how the colors 'pop' off the black paper! Now add details, outlines, and shadows in black oil pastel. Use the link above for detailed steps-by-steps. 

Tempera Painting Autumn Still Life

On a large piece of watercolor paper or heavy drawing paper (at least 15 x 18 inches), begin with a pencil sketch of your arrangement. Paint the objects, then add details and highlights. Add the background, foreground and a few shadows. Remember to use large brushes for larger areas like the background, and use detail brushes for smaller areas and details. Use the above link for more examples and directions.

Next: Zendoodle Art for Kids!

Friday, November 20, 2020

Autumn Art Ideas for Kids

Autumn has come to be one of our favorite times of the year for  colorful art-making at the Art Center. The changing seasons and the amazing colors of fall are always so inspiring for our young artists! We've decided to share some of our favorite autumn-themed art projects for you to try at home, starting with your littlest artists.

Lacing Leaves.  This is a fine muscle skill building activity that you can construct for your child. So great for toddlers and young children; I remember playing with lacing cards as a 6-year-old. Alternate uses might include a giant fall necklace (invented by my grandson) or flying partially laced leaves around like a kite!
Create Lacing Leaves with simple supplies found around the house or craft room. Here are the printable (pdf) instructions for Lacing Leaves, which also includes four large leaf templates.

Tissue Twig Trees. Instead of drawing or painting an autumn tree, why not make one? This is a 3-D art project just for little artists! You'll need a packet of brightly colored tissue (a must for the art room), school glue, cheap paint brushes, and a hike, for the purpose of collecting interesting twigs to be turned into little trees. Here are your printable (pdf) instructions for this project.  

Colorful Patterned Leaves. This is a mixed media watercolor resist painting that K-3rd graders really love!  You'll need oil pastels or crayons, a set of watercolors (or liquid watercolors), watercolor paper, and a black Sharpie. 

We've done this project nearly every fall and I have posted the results and how-to's several times. Click here or here to see more about creating these amazing autumn leaves. 

Birch Tree Painted Collage.  This two-step painted collage is one of our absolute favorites! Easy enough for kinders, this project is great for kids up to 8 or 9 years old. C
reated in three steps using watercolors or cake tempera paints. 

You can find the complete instructions on our weblog link above or here or at Deep Space Sparkle.

Beautiful Sunflowers. This is a large sunflower tempera painting that includes plenty of interesting textures, patterns... and a bug!

You'll need a piece of 12" x 18" white sulfite paper or drawing paper, liquid or cake tempera paint, round medium paint brushes, water, and a picture or two of sunflowers. Click on the link above for step-by-step instructions. A great elementary school-age project!

Dogs in Scarves. This sweet pooch is romping in the leaves on a windy autumn day! This is a super cute painting for kids 8 and up (although we've had artists as young as 5 paint a Dog in a Scarf). 

You will need photo (portrait) of your favorite dog or type of dog. We have a resource file (mostly calendar pics) of dogs to look through. Collect your own and search online as well. You'll need a 9" x 12" watercolor paper, liquid tempera paint, a pencil, and a 5" plastic lid. You'll also need construction or colored copy paper and a glue stick for the falling leaves.  Click on the link above for detailed instructions. 

Owl in a Tree. This 3D construction mixed media art project is for 1st through 4th grade or so. I just love it, and had planned it as a fall 2020 art lesson at the Art Center. Best laid plans, right?

No worries! If your child loves owls, he or she can do this one at home. Artists will create the owl first in a favorite medium (such as our oil pastel owl) and cut it out. Then they'll create a 3D tree hallow with construction paper for their owl to live in. They'll need scissors, glue, and colored tissue paper (optional). I have included a link to a step-by-step video that shows how to do it.

Next up: Our favorite autumn-themed art ideas for BIG kids, ages 10 and up.