starry night                                                                                  sunflowers

I have to admit I have an abiding love for certain artists and paintings. The Impressionists create those dreamy, haze like pictures and Degas’s ballerinas and Van Gogh’s swishing stars have always tickled my fancy. My fascination with talented artists may have something to do with my inability to draw a straight line; my stick people just look kinda lopsided and miserable. When your friends frequently put up a Pictionary drawing of yours on Facebook so they can all have a good laugh, you know you must stop all creativity for the good of humanity.


I am one of those tiresome mothers who like dragging my kids around art museums and then forcing them to stand in front of certain pieces proclaiming in a very loud voice ‘Look at it!! Just look at it. Notice the symmetry, the bleeding colours, the transient images that leap into your mind and nest in a profusion of ochre and scarlet.’

You’re swimming in an ocean of awe right now, aren’t you? Understandable. I shall give you the chance to transcend your pedestrian ways and direct your attention to this beautiful thing.

the kiss       What grabs your attention? No, its not the guy copping a feel.  Obviously, its the gold leaf and oil on canvas. The Kiss is a visual manifestations of fin-de-seicle spirit because it captures a decadence conveyed by opulent and sensuous images. (I wrote that). As I can only do so much to push your art education along, I thought I should probably start with the kids and mould them while they’re young.

Laurence Anholt has done a book series about famous artists and the children who knew them.They are a fantastic gateway for introducing young children to some of the world’s great artists.  Cezanne and the Apple Boy is a fascinating look at both Cezanne’s exploration of Cubism and his role in his young son’s life. My favourite thing about the series is that the illustrations mimic the painting style of the individual artist. Van Gogh is all wavy lines and bold strokes and Matisse is small curls and flicks. Cezanne is a flourishing of cone trees and box like buildings. The colours range from Degas’s sapphire blues and Monet’s shimmering greens. The stories are endearingly sweet and gentle. Cezanne’s son Paul is sent by his mother to visit his father in the French mountains. The artist is shy and retiring and does not like to be touched. He expresses his love for the world he lives and for his son, through his art. I express my love for books by refusing patrons renewals and ignoring book requests. Cezanne and I are one. He’s just a lot more flashy then I am.

cezanne A man….a boy…. a donkey……

Degas and the Little Dancer by Anholt  is another poignant and and lovely story about a young ballet dancer. The story is set in Paris, in the 1800’s, and comes complete with shivering garrets and poverty stricken laundresses and tailors. Marie the ballerina longs to dance (I too long to dance but was side tracked by about 15 kilos and large mammary glands). Marie’s parents can not afford to pay for her dance classes and so the little girl’s dreams of being a prima ballerina cannot be realised. (Echoes of my life).  Degas needs a model for a clay sculpture and Marie is the perfect size and shape. I’m waiting for the sculpture to be commissioned with me holding a child aloft and maybe a thunderbolt in my other hand. The book’s illustrations shadow the artist’s style with heavily worked pastel that creates deep textures and blurred contours (I wrote that). The story and pictures are beautiful and more than a bit heart warming; maybe even small intestine warming.

dancer   For all the secret dancers out there, especially the large ones.

Matisse is the King of Colour with Moroccan and Tahitian flavours influencing his art. The story – Matisse: King of Colour, is rather inspirational with a young girl nursing a very ill Matisse. He draws whilst he convalesces and they grow to care for one another. Monique later becomes a nun and the artist builds a chapel to celebrate their friendship and uses natural light to paint the walls with colour. The illustrations are those lovely, undulating Matisse lines, pulsing with bright hues. His paintings do have an exotic style to them with Eastern and African elements and the story compliments this understanding.

matisse All that funky salsa and floods of colour

And because I love those swishing stars so much and woozy winds I think only this perennial classic will do.  I want twinkling fingers, up on tip toes and possibly even a swaying of the hips.

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star                                  Starry_Night_Over_the_Rhone

Twinkle, twinkle, little star
How I wonder what you are
Up above the world so high
Like a diamond in the sky
Twinkle, twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are
When the blazing sun is gone
When he nothing shines upon
Then you show your little light
Twinkle, twinkle, all the night
Twinkle, twinkle, little star
How I wonder what you a
 I’ll catch you in mid twinkle and lob this one at you. Doesn’t have much to do with art but this little sheep got the most dazed look on his face. Reminded me of how Cezanne must have looked wandering around his mountain with the donkey.


Baa Baa Black Sheep

Baa baa black sheep
Have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir,
Three bags full
One for my master
And one for my dame
And one for the little boy
That lives down the lane
…… and one for the little artist that ends up marrying his donkey.
Lets us end with craft and in the creation of this masterpiece, remember we are trying to emulate the great artists. e.g let the kids do it.

How to Make Puffy Paint

Just 3 simple ingredients:

  • Shaving Cream
  • White School Glue
  • Food Colouring

Mix equal amounts of shaving cream and white glue until you have the texture you want.

  • Pour a generous amount of the white glue into a small bowl or container
  • Add an equal amount of shaving cream to the bowl.
  • Add a few drops of food colouring to the mixture. Keep in mind, that as the puffy paint dries, the colour will get darker, so don’t be too worried if it looks too light at this point. I added about 10 to 15 drops of food colouring into each of our colours.
  • Repeat the process for as many colours as you’d like. I’m not sure what I did differently to the pink puffy paint below, but it looks like it has a better texture compared to the others. I think it had more glue in it?
  • You’ll need to add a generous amount of puffy paint to your paper
  • And then when it dried, the colours were way darker.

clouds                                               ballons.

And why? Doesn’t the world need to be more puffy? Doesn’t it!

To begin your child’s education, you may amble your way over to Coolbellup Library where the Anholt Art series are on display or if your ambling days are over, just jump onto our library catalogue and tap away. Immerse yourself in decadent displays of topaz rich symbolism and nascent methodology. (I wrote that).

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