A group art project was on the agenda at Camp Mom the other day. It was Baba's birthday, and I planted the seed for the three grandkids to work together to make her a piece of original art. I bought a large artist's canvas at the craft store (thanks to a handy-dandy 40% off coupon). Gracie, a mixologist-in-training, helped me with some color-mixing. I had some mixed media on my mind...
First, some bubble painting. I prepped for this by adding a little food coloring to some bubble solution (or bubble juice, as we call it around here). We added wands, blew, and enjoyed watching the bubbles add pops of color to the canvas. The effect reminds me of fireworks: the paint bursts from the bubbles, then drips down a little bit, and finally disappears. A definite crowd pleaser!
Then on to marble painting. The kids dropped marbles into paint that we mixed in small jars, swirled them around, and rolled them across the canvas. We used a kiddie pool to contain the canvas, when we found that we kept loosing our marbles in the grass. This was a fun-filled, free-for-all of color and movement and action. It kept their interest for a long time as they experimented with different colors, re-positioned the canvas to change the direction of the streaks, and tried single vs. multiple marble combinations. This effect reminded me of streamers across the canvas: full of intense color and motion.
Finally, we dipped one finger at a time into paint, and made little tiny fingerprints all over the canvas. One one hand, it was a way for the kids to "sign" their art. On the other hand, it was a great way to work on some more refined control after all of that big movement. In my eyes, these tiny fingerprints looked liked confetti on our "Carnival of Color" canvas. Simply beautiful.
The biggest challenge with group art is finding a balance among the different ages and stages of the young artists. I found that all it took were a few easy yet creative techniques to equalize the art, and keep it engaging for all. In the backyard that day we erased the artistic differences between an abstract expressionist (Gracie, age 2), a budding impressionist (Courtney, age 4), and a realist (Jack, age 6). We created both a unified piece of art and a great cooperative experience. We gifted the painting to Baba along with a picture of the young artists. I hope she loves it as much as we loved making it for her.