Mother's Day Painting

What You Need:

  • Canvas (any size)
  • Pencil
  • Acrylic paints (suggested colors: titanium white, cadmium red, cadmium yellow, pthalo blue, pthalo green, burnt umber, or burnt sienna)
  • Paintbrushes (small, medium, and large)
  • Container of water to clean brushes
  • Paper or plastic palette to mix paints
  • Small spray bottle of water

What You Do:

  1. Before your child begins their piece, they must plan it. They can do this either by brainstorming and sketching scenes from their childhood, or they can pencil directly onto their canvas. However, if they choose the second option, have them draw very lightly and erase carefully as they should avoid too much pencil or eraser residue on the painting surface.
  2. Have them set up the canvas where they'll be able to leave it for a few days. Make sure it's a room that doesn't have things that could be easily ruined by paint, such as the garage (without cars!). They should also dress in clothes that they don't mind getting a little messy.
  3. After they have planned out what they'll draw, have them pick out all of the colors needed for the painting and place a quarter-sized drop of each color onto the palette.
  4. Begin painting! Acrylic paints have many different shades of each color and different colors have different tones, so they may need to experiment by mixing colors to choose what is best for the piece. Mixing colors can be challenging, but these tips will help you get started:
    • Red and yellow make orange
    • Yellow and blue make green
    • Blue and red make purple
    • Red, yellow, and blue can be mixed to make a skin tone. Add white to this mix to make a lighter skin tone, or add more blue or a brown to make a darker skin tone.
  5. As they work on their masterpiece, be sure to wash the brushes as they change colors and soak them in water between uses. Acrylic paint dries quickly, so be sure to spray the palette with water if it sits out for more than 30 minutes or if you notice it starting to become sticky and dry.
  6. Invite them to work on their painting at their own pace, taking breaks if needed, until they feel that it's done. If they get frustrated, take a look at Mary Cassatt’s work for ideas about shading and color choice, or have a look at real-life photos of people and children to help guide their painting.

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