Saturday, April 22, 2023

Pretty Pink Cherry Blossoms

Every year around this time we are ready to paint something spring-like! 

I have found that as a painting subject, these cheery Cherry Blossoms embody this much anticipated seasonal transformation - from cold and drab (a common symptom of acute cabin fever) - to warm, delightful, and "in the pink!"

Our vase of cherry blossoms is created in the style of early 20th century Russian artist Natalia Goncharova.

You can see more about her and previous versions of our cherry blossom paintings here and here

My most recent sample

These beautiful Spring paintings were created in our Friday Art Adventures class 
by kids ages 8 and 9 and their adult companions.

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Build Your Own Board Game!

Escape! board game 
If you are a board game enthusiast (like I am), have you ever had ideas for your own unique board game? 

Instead of just thinking about it, why not construct your own personally designed board game for family and friends to enjoy?  This is an exciting project for young artists - they have ideas! It's also an enjoyable project for adults (myself included!)

The theme of the game above is animals. The object is to help them to escape the Zoo and make their way to Animal Paradise! This aptly named Escape! game utilizes cards, handmade dice, and animal toy playing pieces on a folding pathway gameboard.  The 11-year-old game maker also designed a logo and a storage box for the pieces. Best of all, Escape! has already proven to be a family favorite!

Where is Blue Dog? The Game

I created this travel-themed card game based on Cajun artist George Rodrigue's Blue Dog series. 

Okay, I'll admit it. I trickily infused art history, social studies, and geography into my game. And it was a hit with my young game testers!

Building a board game is a lot of fun - but it takes time. There are several steps involved, including planning and then more planning. 

Here is a list of planning questions to help you create a successful board game: 

1) What type of game will it be: strategy game, word game, skill game, grid game, math game, card game, drawing game, or a start to finish (pathway) game?
2) What will be the theme of your game? Dogs? Golf? Bright shapes and colors? This will affect the artistic design of your game.
3) What will be the layout of your game? A board (folding?), a grid, a card game, a 3D maze? Will you need tokens or game pieces or a spinner or dice?
4) If a card game, what will the cards look like? What will they say (front and back)?
5) What will be the object of the game? How will it start and end? Who wins?
6) What are the rules for your game? (Remember to test the rules for playability!)

Use my (pdf) board game planning guide, Game Planwhich you can download and print to help you with your own board game plans.
Wizards & Dragons chess set

This is a hand-crafted Wizards & Dragons themed chess game. It features a carefully painted chessboard of worn stones, tangled vines, and various grasses and flowers growing through the cracks. 

The chess pieces are tiny clay figures, each an intricately hand-crafted character and the pawns are miniature wizard hats!

The designer and creator of this chess set (age 14) painted her chess pieces silver and gold.

SWAP an equation game for any age

The game of SWAP consists of colorful dots and squares glued to cards and strips of black cardstock.  It's easy to learn and easy to play, even for younger kids.

The rules are shown in the picture so you can make your own version of this game too!

Itten's Kittens board game
I made this board game (my first) for a college Color Theory art class assignment. I called it Itten's Kittens after Johannes Itten, an important 20th century Swiss painter, author, teacher, and color theorist.

I included a printout about the artist, but my young students simply want to get their pieces from the cat bed to Dad's chair first! 

Take Two word-building game
This game, Take Two, looks deceptively like an ordinary tubful of Scrabble tiles, but it is soooo much more! Take Two is our favorite family game, even to this day. Invented by my children as teenagers, we still play it whenever we get together and on camping trips and any other time. You need old letter tiles  (from Scrabble games found at thrift stores and garage sales) and a container to keep them in.  

Learn more about Take Two and how to play on my Homeschooling Helper weblog: Better Than Scrabble?

Now it's your turn to build a board game of your own!