Category Archives: outside art

Iris Study

Materials: Flowers in bloom (yay, spring!); clipboards; decent-weight drawing paper (I’ve been really happy with this in the 160gsm weight); media of your choice–we used, amongst us, sketching pencils, colored pencils, chalk pastels, and gouache

These beauties are in bloom right now.

We’ve been watching them get taller and taller, we watched the buds emerge, and yesterday when we went outside, there were a couple of blooms. Today, a riot.

So I cut some of our drawing paper in half so it would fit on a clipboard, and we brought a bunch of art supplies outside. V wanted some sort of paint that was thicker than liquid watercolors but not quite tempera. I’d been thinking the same thing, so I brought out the gouache. According to DickBlick, gouache is an opaque watercolor. I like it quite a bit. But, having never worked with watercolors in a tube before, V needed some instruction (not something he enjoys) and some practice. It’s hard to get the hang of a new material.

I love that picture! Kids outside, making art. G joined in, looking at the flowers and trying out all the materials. N decided to go up the hill to another patch of irises–less crowded if we spread out.

(The cape, by the way, is from his teacher. It’s a multi-age classroom. Last year she made all the kids crowns for their birthdays, and this year, capes. So by the time you’ve gone through both years with her, you have a set. N just received his cape on Friday since his birthday is this weekend, and he’s been wearing it constantly. He has a wonderful teacher!)

N liked the chalk pastels quite a bit.

V worked with the pencil and gouache. He was initially very frustrated with mixing the colors and getting the right amount of water, but he ended up with some beautiful purples.

This is what I managed in fits & starts–under some duress, I might add.

(I was using the back of my car to lay out the finished work so it wouldn’t blow away. Mine is resting on our traveling art box.) I haven’t used gouache in a while either, so I was reacquainting myself with its characteristics.

What’s in bloom where you live? What can you get outside to draw or paint?

If You Give a Girl a Spray Bottle

Materials: Spray bottle filled with colored water (I used watered-down liquid watercolor); sense of humor

If you give a girl a spray bottle…

…she’s going to have a hard time staying on the paper.

It’s just so irresistible.

So you go outside, of course!

She’ll realize the blue doesn’t show up so well on concrete…

…but the white garage makes a fine canvas.

It’s hard to see the blue water on the blue chair…

…but when she sprays the red chair, she’ll shout, “Purple!!”

You can’t see the blue on the grass, but the painted step shows it nicely.

If you give a girl a spray bottle, you’re in for an adventure!

Painting the Driveway

Earlier in the week, I showed the two younger kids painting the driveway with some sidewalk chalk they’d soaked in a puddle of water. And I’ve mentioned how much G likes spraying the water bottle. So when I read about fizzy sidewalk chalk (link via Not Just Cute), well, it was a done deal. We had to try it!

I approximately halved the recipe in the original post, but then dumped in some more cornstarch (just because it looked a little off). I think G enjoyed making the paint as much as anything else. It was her job to¬† mix the dry ingredients together. While I was measuring out the cornstarch, she said she wanted to taste the baking soda. “I don’t think you’ll like it,” I said, “but go ahead.” So she dipped her finger in and licked it. Not surprisingly, she didn’t like it.

Once the dry ingredients were mixed, I gave her the measuring glass of water and she poured it in slowly, a bit at a time while I mixed, until we decided it looked like paint. Then I separated what we had into two clean glass jars and she added food coloring to make pink and purple.

Then we painted!

After she seemed about done with the painting, I told her it would fizz if she sprayed it with the vinegar–did she want to try it out?

Look at that satisfying fizz!

Just one part of a full and happy spring toddler day, which also included visiting the playground, playing in the sandbox, taking a walk to see the neighbor’s cows and even feeding them some grass. Yay, spring!

Paint Snow

Thoroughly uninterested in her brothers’ snowball fight, yesterday my toddler requested to “paint snow.” She knows a canvas when she sees one.

Materials: Water, food coloring, squirt bottles–and, of course, snow, which Mother Nature provided in, er, excess (if you ask me!)

By the time the two bottles were empty, she was ready to go inside, where it was warmer and snow doesn’t blow in your face. (Also, lucky thing she’s light. When I sunk into the snow it was about up to my knees in places!)

More of our snow day activities in the next post…