I thought I’d do a follow up post to my last one to show some of the tools Boo uses when painting. The process I go through with Boo definitely changes as she gets older…..I’ve written several posts over the years with tips on painting with children….I linked them all up at the bottom of this post.
As I was collecting photos together for this post I starting making a collage of Boo painting over the years…..she was so tiny!
So onto the topic of this post! I love giving Boo all the tools she needs to be creative as possible. I give her tips and pointers along the way….teaching her how to use different techniques. What we are always working on though is the building up of layers. The more layers…..the more interesting the painting.
I always make sure to have lots of paint and oversized brushes. We mix the paints with water so that it’s easier to apply to the canvas. The faster she can cover a canvas with paint…..the more likely she is to paint multiple layers:
Gesso is key! It’s a white primer……but great for painting an opaque layer over something. She mixed it with different colors to lighten them:
Willow charcoal is great for drawing lines as guides onto a painting. I usually draw a few lines for her when she wants to write something on a painting. After the paint dries the charcoal can be wiped off with a damp cloth. Willow charcoal is the only thing I draw with with painting….if you use a graphite pencil no matter how many layers you keep painting over it….you’ll keep seeing it! I like the way it crumbles and mixes into the paint as well. To make a charcoal drawing permanent you’ll need to spray the drawing with some matte varnish in between layers.
When painting with multiple layers I teach Boo to “deconstruct” her layers. A mouse sander is a pretty safe tool for her age if I’m supervising her. All it does is vibrate back and forth….I just keep a close eye on her to make sure she doesn’t sand right through the canvas and weaken the fabric layer.
I love mixing different kinds of paints, markers and crayons. The rule is: start with water soluble mediums and move up to oil based. Once you add oil based mediums you can’t paint over them with water based mediums. But sometimes we cheat…. and use spray paint in between layers. Spray paint is pretty permanent.
Examples of water-soluble:
Examples of oil/wax mediums:
Oil Based Varnishes
I love aqua crayons because she can draw and then use water to turn the images into water colors:
Stencils are an easy way to add texture and design to a painting. I let Boo use spray paint when I’m watching her. If you let a young child use spray paint make sure to put goggles on them just in case they happen to spray the wrong direction! Boo just uses swim goggles. We use all different types of objects to create stencils….cut paper, glue gun stencils (click here for a tutorial), and letter stencils. When they are covered in spray paint they become great stamps too!
We always take advantage of excess paint. Anything that’s left over is used to create layers….by pouring paint, dripping, or even using bubble wrap and other items to print patterns onto the canvas:
Here’s the video of Boo’s process all wrapped into 3 minutes:
Value Pack Flat Brushes (Dharma Trading)
50 Pack of Brushes (Dharma Trading)
Set of 12 Brushes (Dharma Trading)
Black Fabric Marker (Dharma Trading)
White Chalk Ink Markers
Boo is so lucky. My daughter is a year younger than her and she would literally paint everyday if I could handle it. Thanks for all the tips, I love to encourage her love of art but don’t have all your knowledge. Thanks!!
This is so fun! Boo must be very happy to have all these materials. 🙂
That was phenomenal. The video made the tutorial really come to life. I echo Barbara–Boo is one lucky little girl to be raised in such a bubble of creative energy. : )
Amazing video – Boo is definitely the luckiest girl in the world.
I would just like to find out what markers were used to write with – They are not listed in the supplies list.
From yesterday’s video I believe they were chalk markers
Susan McDonough says
I love this post! I have a question, do you put anything on the canvas before you
start painting and do you have to do anything to seal it when it’s done. Thanks!
Just so inspiring! You must be so proud of her.
Heather D says
You are the coolest mom ever. Please adopt me.
I LOVE this Ashley. You are an amazing Mom! Thank you for sharing so we can spread the passion with our own children 🙂
how fun!!! my kids are all home right now (spring break) and i want to ditch work, go get play clothes on and have them paint!!!!
Mary Smith says
I have one problem. every time I try this with my girls they don’t want to wait tilll the paint dries to add more colors. so it looks like a brown mess. How do you get Boo to wait?
Stephanie Fox says
The music is awesome. I love the quote from Norman Maclean ….one of my favorite films. I can’t wait to do this with my kids.
OMG! This is just the best! My little one is 2 years old and she is just thrilled if I give her paints and brush 🙂
My heart just jumps when I see such a creative child…and such a ”free” parent 🙂
Keep doing such a great work! 🙂
Thank you for sharing this. I am keeping my 2 girls busy over Spring Break trying these techniques. The bubble wrap is their favorite. They have watched the video over and over and the music chokes me up every time. Well done.
What do you seal your paintings with when you use aqua crayons? I am scared to wipe varnish on it and ruin it.
My 6 year old daughter is using some of your techniques to raise money for the Oklahoma tornado victims. She has a local restaurant hosting them for her and sold four in the first hour!!! Thanks for being such in inspiration!
You can use a light coat of spray varnish.