A sneak preview into my newest paintings, Hudson Valley Landscapes, along with thoughts inspired by the process of painting, teaching, and other creative ramblings. Upcoming exhibitions, painting classes, workshops and more. Website at http://www.mirafink.com
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parents with children at home! Here are a few ideas of Spring things
to do while you are sheltering in place with young kids during the COVID 19 pandemic.
inspired by my desire to help out our family who we are not able to
visit now. They are short activities, some with multiple parts that
can be done separately or together depending on your time. Young kid's
attention span is very short, so I suggest doing an activity for only
as long as the kids are interested and then moving on to something
else. These 5 activities can build on each other and will promote
awareness, sense of play, color observation, nature connection and
for a color walk and ask the children to point out everything they
see that is a particular color. These can be natural or man-made
objects. Right now with spring emerging, yellow is a good color to
look for, as Daffodils and Forsythia are starting to make their
appearances. Willows also look yellow this time of year. Encourage
them to look at things that are more subtly yellowish. Ask: Is dried
grass yellow? How about objects like moss that have both yellow and
green colors? There are of course, no wrong answers. Or they can
look for the first signs of green things starting to come up. As
kids 4 and under have a limited attention span, they may only want to
do this for 5 or 10 minutes, but as they start looking for things
they may see other things that are interesting to them. Let them
explore anything that they notice and touch it, if it is safe to do
so. Repeat another day, focusing on a different color. You can also
do this indoors.
Bring a camera and let them take photos of their favorite things. Or
ask them to pretend they have a camera and snap a photo of something
they like with their hands. Then ask them to explain to you, why they
chose that thing to photograph.
Toothpick Search Disclaimer: Not recommended for kids under 3 unless the adult is closely supervising. i.e. We don't want them to stab themselves or eat the toothpicks. 😃
some colored toothpicks and scatter them in your yard. Ask the
children to collect as many toothpicks as they can find in 5 minutes.
When they bring them back, help them to sort them by color. Which
color do they have the most of? Are some colors harder to find? Why?
Which is their favorite color? After the discussion, send them out
to find objects that are the same color as one of the toothpicks.
Or, you can send them out to find ones that they didn't find the
first time, encouraging them to look closer and giving them
clues, like hot or cold as they get closer or further away. Don't
have colored toothpicks? See the next activity below.
Toothpicks and painting with toothpicks
Have the kids paint the toothpicks one day and search for them
outdoors later when they dry. Young kids will love dipping them
into the paint. Use 3-4 colors of washable acrylic or tempera
child safe paints for this. Put the paint in small bowls and have
them dip the toothpicks in the paint. Put them on a piece of wax
paper to dry. Or they can try painting with them on white paper.
They can make dots with the toothpicks, lines, or just smear it
around with a lot of paint. When the toothpicks dry, use them for
the hunt above or have them glue them onto a piece of paper with
4. Painting with
other common household objects
the children, a few colors of washable child safe acrylic or tempera
paint in small bowls or in a used egg carton. Use Q-Tips to paint
with. These are a lot of fun to dip in paint and make dots with on
white or colored construction paper. They will take more paint then
the toothpicks. They can also use them to draw lines. If you have
old toothbrushes, use these to paint with and splatter paint. They
can draw with the tooth brush to get interesting texture or run their
fingers over the painted toothbrush to splatter the paint. Place the
toothbrush brush side down to keep the splatter on the painting. Be
ready for a big mess and use old clothes, newspaper and cover
anything you don't want paint on! Or let them, splatter with two
paintbrushes or chop sticks dipped in paint, lightly tapping one with
the other. You can also cut shapes from old manila folders to
place on or tape down on the paper before splattering or use
stencils. Experiment with positive and negative shapes. When the
paint is dry, have the kids remove the stencils or manila folder to
reveal the shapes on the page. They can of course, just use their
fingers to paint with too!
one color you saw on your walk and give the kids just that color, for
example just yellow paint and a brush. Give them a piece of drab
construction paper like gray or brown. Ask them to think about
something they saw on their walk, like the Daffodils or Forsythia and
remind them that they were the color yellow. Ask them to use the
yellow paint to paint with Daffodil color on the paper. Give them
brushes or Q-Tips or a toothbrush and let them paint or splatter and
just have a good time with the painting. Avoid the desire to make it
look like something. It doesn't matter. Just let them enjoy using
the paint and the color. If the yellow doesn't show up on the paper,
mix a little white into the yellow paint to make it more opaque.
for older kids: Give them brown or gray paper and let them use only
black or dark brown to make tree lines on the paper. After it is
dry, give them yellow paint to splatter or paint Forsythia flower
shapes on top of the Forest scene. They can also use toothpicks to
make thin lines for branches if they like. Have fun painting!
I have not blogged for a long time. Usually I am too busy. But all that has changed as the virus pandemic has led to the temporary cancellation of all my classes and exhibits till further notice.
As I regroup, I am thinking about what positive contributions I can make and am currently exploring putting up on this blog some painting demonstrations for adults and some simple projects for kids to do at home. So bear with me while I attempt to learn how to do some form of teaching from a distance. If some of you have the ability to take photographs of your work or have access to video conferencing software that may be another option for private lessons or critiques while we are home bound. I am also taking on some commissions at this time.
I have been thinking lately about composition and color harmony in painting. I have found that doing a value sketch on location to determine composition is immensely helpful. While it is easier mentally to just leap into a painting without a lot of thought, taking the time to plan ahead can often yield some better painting results.
"Hurley Mountain Fields in Winter"
The watercolor painting above came from a sketch I did on location. That day I was actually more interested in a landscape on the other side of the road, but as I turned around, I saw the light on this field. A warm yellow light at the end of the day was just hitting the edges of the silos and part of the field. I sketched the composition in pencil and took some photos. Here is the original sketch, it includes some color notes and arrows indicating the light direction.
The photos were very dark, so I relied on my drawing and memory and I took some liberties with color. This painting emphasizes contrasts; warm colors versus cool colors and shadow areas versus light areas. I limited the palette to just primary colors, but I also used a little bit of neutral tint and opaque white. I let the paint get very dark in the shadow areas to contrast with the lighter areas and used complementary colors to build interest. More on complementary colors to come in future blogs.
Subscribe to my Blog to read future entries. Hope this was useful! Stay home, stay safe.