Summer Sunflowers

My husband brought home this beautiful bouquet of sunflowers, and my kids immediately wanted to know when they could paint them. So we did. We had a new package of Liquetex Basic Acrylic paints, so we decided to try them out. I recently bought them for V, because he’s always asking to use the liquid acrylics, and I wanted to get him something better and designed more for painting larger surfaces. But of course, you can set up a flower study with any materials–we drew sunflowers in the fall using dry media.

I wouldn’t recommend these paints for toddlers, but we let G try them out because she’s the third child and she insists upon it. (She’d already painted earlier that morning with liquid watercolors.) She didn’t stay the whole time, though; I sent her upstairs for some one-on-one daddy time after all her paint was gone.

Because our acrylic set came with red, yellow, blue, black, and white, this turned into a great experiential lesson on mixing colors and tints and shades.

I really enjoy mixing paint colors, myself. I think V is moving along the continuum from feeling limited by only having primaries, to feeling completely open. N already loves mixing colors and tells me with just the primaries, he can make whatever he wants. (True!) It helps to have good quality paint, too, that mixes well. We all enjoyed mixing to get the right green for the stems and the orangey gold for the petals.

I really enjoy the energy in both boys’ paintings–instead of trying for each petal individually, they made swirls of color for the flowers. The overall effect is quite close to the vase of sunflowers.

So we are learning the language of a new paint as well as exploring color mixing and practicing translating what we see onto the paper–all because my husband brought me flowers. (I kept the chocolate to myself, though!)

11 thoughts on “Summer Sunflowers

  1. Wendi Gratz

    ha ha! At first I thought you meant they painted directly on the flowers! One of my Kids Camp instructors this summer brought feathers in for the kids to work with. (She thought they’d stick them in clay.) One child decided to paint some polka-dots and stripes on his feather and soon they were all making fantasy feathers. And THEN sticking them in the clay. Fun!

    1. amy

      Well, there was some thoughts of that, especially since we colored carnations not too long ago with food coloring in the water. But in the end, no. I don’t get flowers that often… :)

  2. Zenobia Southcombe

    Your kids are so good at mixing colours – a lot of children have trouble with making the colour they envision, probably due to lack of practice, so great job, boys, with that sunflower yellow!

    1. amy

      I was painting and mixing alongside and answering questions as I went. I’m most impressed with the green for the stems. They really got it spot-on, and it was a mix of yellow, blue, and white. And like I said, good paints definitely help. Trying to precisely mix tempera/poster paint colors is a recipe for madness. ;)

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  4. Michelle

    I love how he made the darker ring of orange on the inside followed by the yellow. Nice!

    That day I cut the zinnias and put them on the table, Ella decided to draw them. I was surprised by the inspiration and how well she drew them.

    1. amy

      That’s so great! I just got a nature journal/drawing tip book from Amazon–I’ll let you know if it’s worth it versus just a blank notebook.

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