How do Vermonters sound when they hay the field? I don’t know if there is an actual spelling but it sounds like Hay’in. They will say “Yep, got the hay’in done.” These bales were only in my yard for a few minutes before another tractor came and picked it up.

12×12″ oil on linen panel

Burlap Stitchery

Kids always seem to enjoy stitchery projects using yarn and burlap, the boys especially. It’s one of those projects that everyone can have success with and the repetition of making stitches can have a quieting effect. For this project we just need a large eye tapestry needle, white chalk, colored yarn, and burlap pieces about 9×12″ or larger. Simple animal or shape templates can be used to start your design. Kids will have more success with a simple large shape and details can be added later. If you have stitchery hoops available kids will enjoy using those otherwise we can staple the burlap onto a piece of tag board or cardboard at the corners just to keep it taut.

Supplies for your stitchery

I was able to find a nice selection of colored burlap cloth at this site here.

If you call in the order and ask them to use a priority flat rate envelope your shipping will not be the $20 I saw at checkout, instead verify with them the flat rate of $7.75.

The art teacher Cassie Stephens has a video that may be helpful in getting started. Her youtube channel has lots of art lessons.

Slit and Slot and Insert

Here’s a construction challenge using boxboard, paper towel rolls, and scissors. Cardboard also works but can be challenging for younger kids to cut. I’ve included a short video by Jodi Herring to demonstrate the basics of this technique. I would make my own video but the last one took me over a day to upload since our bandwidth is so scarce.

video by Jodi Herring

Here are some examples that kids can use to print off and trace onto cardboard to make animal slit and slot sculptures

CD Weavings and other circular looms

Weaving in a circle is fun and most kids really enjoy the process. The weaving can stay on the loom when finished and mounted on other study frames for display. The link below demonstrates a quick way to start a CD weaving. I like to use wool yarn when its available because its not a nappy as acrylic. Wool is softer and the colors can be quite stunning. Find some local knitters and ask if they have any small balls of yarn. I shared two videos from Cassie Stephen’s You Tube channel for directions. One thing I do like to show kids is how to lock their thread on the needle. I use a large tapestry needle. They can be found at fabric stores or plastic ones are available too. If you can’t find a needle use a popsicle stick and tape the yarn on.

To lock the yarn on the needle look at the photos under the first photo.

Supplies: tapestry needle, scissors, yarn, and CD
Thread your yarn (about an arms length from your chin) and keep a long tail
Put your needle through the long tail of yarn
Pull the needle through keeping the short tail long enough that it doesn’t pull through. Now you can pull your needle without the yarn coming out and when you are done just pull the short yarn out.
tutorial with Cassie Stephens
Paper Plate weaving tutorial with Cassie Stephens

Portrait session

This is a fun way to practice portraits with other people. You can even use one piece of paper and after you make one face then the model and switch spots with you and build your portrait onto the paper. If you can talk other folks to model they can also switch spots with the artist and keep building onto the painting.

We are going to use a pointy brush of medium size and a jar of liquid paint like tempera (a little water added if too thick) or a good solution of watercolor. The idea is to have something to dip your brush into to have a nice brush stroke.

I like this approach because we start with the jar shape. Thats, then look at the hair as a large shape and draw that as an outline that travels around the forehead around the sides and up over the top. Even guys with very short hair will realize how much space hair takes on our face. From there add just a simple upside down 7 for the nose, then eyebrows (in the mid point of your face) eyes, and a simple mouth about the width between the eyes.

Here is a video I made to show you a way to get started

Observe the shape of the jaw. Is it angular, round, elongated…..
Add the shape of the hair, notice how much space the hair (short of long) takes up on a persons head
Add a nose, an upside down 7 works well. Position it a little below the halfway line on the face
Eyebrows are like an extension of the nose
The eyes can just be a curved line with a half circle underneath
If you can share your painting and switch models other drawings can be built onto the paper. If you can’t get a model use a mirror and look for faces online. Sktchy is a great place to find faces. Another video you might like which is pretty long but by an accomplished artist named Heather Ihn is here

Styrofoam Prints

Here’s what you need:

1.Styrofoam meat tray (I often just ask the butcher for a few or use leftover ones from meat packages. They are also available online here.

2. Lightweight paper and heavier 80 or 90lb drawing paper

3. Sponge

4. Tub with water

5. Waterbase markers

6. Pencil, eraser, scissors

I think that’s it!

Here’s what you need
Trim the raised edge off the styrofoam. Your drawing paper will need to be the size of your plate
Make a sketch on your light weight paper, younger kids may just draw directly on the styrofoam
Lay your drawing over the styrofoam and go over your drawing with a pencil pressing gently but enough to make an indentation into the foam. Then go over the foam again with your pencil to make a good groove
Color you plate with water base markers
Lay your heavy paper into the water
Lay the wet paper on a waterproof surface and blot both sides with the sponge
Lay your damp paper over the styrofoam plate and then lay an extra piece of dry paper over the damp paper. Rub firmly with your fingers or the back of a soup spoon all over the surface. Then pull your damp paper up to see your print. Color or ink your plate again to make another print,
no need to wipe clean
Pull your print off the plate

Raised Salt Paintings

For this project you just need:


Elmers Glue with an unclogged top

Stiff paper or cardboard

Liquid Watercolors or Food Coloring diluted some or pan watercolors

I’ve never done this in the classroom because my glue bottles were always clogged and having a lot of salt shaken around the room might be challenging so when I saw it on this website I thought it looked cool. BTW, you might find some handy projects on that site.

Pretty simple:

Just make a light pencil line to create your design. Go over the lines with white glue and let the line make a thick trail of glue. Lay your paper on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with heavily with salt. I let mine dry overnight just so I didn’t get my brush stuck into the glue but if you are using liquid watercolor with a fine dropper you can apply the paint while its wet. Just be careful not to push it into the glue.

Pencil sketch but not required
Make a thick bead of glue
Salt bath
Fresh salt on wet glue
Use a lot of water on your brush and lots of paint if your glue is dried like mine.
You can still paint into the empty spaces but after the glue has dried. It might be harder to color the background as the salt may fall off.

That all but you can see how the other watercolor projects may have helped with how you decided to apply your colors. If you want to post your design on Instagram that would be awesome, use the hashtag #artstuff1126.

Watercolor Lines

In the first post we played with wet into wet paint inside circle shapes. Today I’m extending this to lines, using a wet brush to follow a path changing the color as the line grows. The lines can be thick or thin, curved, straight, or fat lines.

Make a light line with your pencil

Using a wet brush go over your line to soften the paper and create a path for the watercolor to flow

Dip into your first color and let the paint flow. Follow with another color just touching the previous color. I mentioned in the last post to follow the color wheel with your color applications. This isn’t a rule but you will notice that when you follow the color wheel there will be a more harmonious flow for your eye. Put complements (or opposites) like blue and orange or purple and yellow next to each other and you will have more of a visual stopping effect. Experiment and see if that happens.

Here are my samples:

Draw light lines
Wet the line with clean water
Use blots of color to follow the path of your line
Experiment with different designs
Develop your finished lines into a picture

How do artists use this concept of wet into wet color with watercolor? Here are two paintings by John Singer Sargent and Georgia O’Keefe.

Melon Boats by John Singer Sargent 1905
Georgia O’Keeffe, Untitled (Abstraction/Portrait of Paul Strand), 1917

Watercolor Circles

This is a wet into wet watercolor lesson that’s easy and creative. Find some objects around the house to make some circles with and trace them lightly on your paper. Some can go off the edge if you want. If you have stiffer paper that helps but not a big deal. Next pre moisten your watercolor pans to soften your colors. Actually if you do this first it’s even better. Now wet one circle with clean water, and then dip your brush into one color. Lay the paint into a section of your circle. Rinse your brush and dab onto a sponge or paper towel. This helps get excess water off so you can pick up lots of pigment. Pick up another color on your brush and lay it so it just touches the previous color. Look at your color wheel and try colors close to each other so they will mix into a second color. Continue with all your circles.

After circles dry look at your circles and make them into a picture. What do they remind you of? You could add marker lines and fill in the background with a color. Some people might imagine planets in outer space or flowers. Whatever, finish your painting so the circles become part of a whole picture