When we're first learning to make art as children, we hear a few things that become familiar over time. Skies are blue! Tree trunks are brown, leaves are green. Butterflies are supposed to be perfectly symmetrical!
Well, if you take a long look around you, you'll notice that most of that well-intended advice was wrong. Trees can have blue, purple, and green trunks-- or even red or yellow, depending on the lighting. Leaves can be just about any color too! Butterflies, while appearing symmetrical, aren't necessarily so if you look closely. Most of the butterflies I paint from photos have damaged wings, which isn't noticeable to me until I take the time to examine the photos in detail.
So why do we hear the same advice being repeated to kids over the years? What's the first question most people have when a child shows us a painting?
"What is it supposed to be?"
I catch myself asking this with my own kids. I've tried rephrasing it into "What …
It's spring, and this year that means a few more rain showers, plenty of birds, and rattlesnakes.
It also means time in the garden, along with a spring pastel workshop, which was the artistic highlight of my month!
We painted spring butterflies, and my daughter managed to turn her face green by rubbing her pastel-laden hands all over her face as she worked.
I originally created this piece as a demo for the workshop, and finished it up a bit later at home:
9 x 12 pastel on paper View on Etsy
Spring is a time of renewal, and every year I find myself busy in the springtime. The days last longer, there are plenty of art events on the calendar, and the weather is much more inviting. The birds return to familiar nesting spots. The nights here are still pleasantly cool, and the hills are exploding with colorful flowers.
We even did an extra bit of spring cleaning at home, and now there's more space to work.
What started as a sketch while I was in the waiting room at the hospital turned into a full-blown learning experience with china marker, oil, and chalk pastel.
I like to sketch with the china marker, because it's nice and loose (and you can't erase!) Unfortunately, my toddler discovered that she enjoys sketching with the china marker too. She especially enjoys sketching ON my work, and had a great time scribbling all over the reference photo as well. Of course, I smiled and let her do it-- what else is an artist mom supposed to do? I can always make a new sketch.
I rather liked the sketch I had, though, scribbles and all. So, I figured some oil pastel would blend nicely with the china marker, and maybe cover up some of those scribbles. I got a pretty good picture down with the oil pastel and china ma…