The Laughing Zebra

thelaughingzebra

door in Italy with turquoise bike by it.

The Doors of Italy

What stories do they tell?

So I have always had a thing for doors and windows. Long before this trip to Italy I have gravitated towards the rigid simplicity of these entryways into people’s inner spaces. They are like the faces on a building and tell so much about the character of what’s inside. For years I have had 6 framed photos of doors from around the world hanging in my living room that I purchased from a photographer at a street fair. Their colorful presence has been a happy spot on my wall and I would often look at them and wonder about what secrets they held. Maybe that is part of the fascination for me just the mystery of what lies behind them. Mostly though I am drawn to their visual statement, the textures, colors and contrasts that they form.

For those of you who have been to Italy you know that the beautiful old buildings with their colorful doors and windows are subjects begging to be photographed. Everywhere you look there is an amazing combination of colors, textures and designs. And because of the age of many of the buildings and doors you see are a wide variety of sizes. At some of the places we were staying in particular the buildings had these huge doors that made you feel like you were entering into a magical story set back in time. The Airbnb we stayed at in Florence used to be the servants quarters for the Medici family. Each time we walked through those doors I could feel the history rushing towards me.

The Amalfi Cathedral in Amalfi city had this incredible huge green door. I felt like I was in the Land of the Giants. Then there were the doors of the Baptistry in Florence that are major works of art. The Baptistery is renowned for its three sets of artistically important bronze doors with relief sculptures. The south doors were created by Andrea Pisano and the north and east doors by Lorenzo Ghiberti. Michelangelo dubbed the east doors the Gates of Paradise. When you stand before these magnificent golden doors you can totally see why he said that.

But my favorite doors were the ones we stumbled upon in our miles of walking, whether it was in a hill town in Tuscany, or on the back streets of Venice. Here are a few of my photos. I took a ton of these types of pictures because I am hoping at some point to do some paintings and I wanted lots of ideas to choose from. 

 

Making Reading Beautiful!

We painted Free Little Libraries!

Does your city have a Little Free Library? These are little free standing libraries that have a “host” who looks after them and can be located in someone’s yard , out in the country, or in front of a business or in a park.  You can take a book to read or leave one for someone else to find. This non-profit organization was started in 2009. There are now over 90,000 Little Free Libraries in over 91 countries. 

Our town started this program a few years ago and my husband and I were two of the local artists who were asked to participate by painting one of the libraries. We did this two years in a row and really enjoyed coming up with an idea and seeing it through to the finished product. The libraries in our area were ordered from the official Little Free Library organization. 

They came already built and with a registered number that is linked to a LFL world map. However, there are hundreds of these libraries across the country that are completely handmade. You can Google Little Free Libraries to see some of the creative ideas. Below are a few of the libraries we painted.

My Beautiful Tuscan Kitchen

So I just realized looking through old pictures that I never posted any photos of our kitchen remodel. It is now officially 2 years since we completed what was a huge undertaking. All new flooring, cabinets (LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the yellow color), appliances, and countertops. It feels like a bit of Italy in here, which I love! We spend a lot of time in this room. Me at the counter working and creating art, and my husband cooking.

The bright colors and warm feel really make a difference in the cold winter months. It always cheers me to be in this space, and I do my best art in here, (even though I have a classroom/studio downstairs). Something about the light, and the amazing view, and the bright colors are just the right environment for my creative juices to flow. I am so thankful to have such a talented husband. He is a cabinet maker by trade and did an awesome job on the whole kitchen.

I have to admit though that when he brought all the cabinets home and I saw the color, I was a little worried about too much yellow, (even though we had agreed on that color, there was just a lot of it!) But as soon as they were installed with the flooring and appliances and the red island I knew it was the perfect combination. 

Before....

And After!

My Bag of Tricks!

What is in my art bag these days….

These are my go to supplies these days that I grab when I am going out and feel inspired to create. Since I teach art and am surrounded by lots of artist supplies both at home and school it is nice to have some supplies that are just for me and feel like play instead of work. And they are small and lightweight so I can actually justify carrying them around even if I don’t have a chance to use them (which happened a lot in Europe by the way!)

I especially love the koi watercolors and the uni-ball signo white pens. And I love the ease of the aqua brushes. I found the Artist’s Loft bag at Michaels and it holds most of these supplies. The rest go in a small backpack that I throw the Loft bag in. 

What are some of your favorite supplies for when you are out and about? Let me know in the comments below!

I put together this handy list where you can find some of these supplies online:

These are affiliate links and I may receive a commission (at no extra cost to you) for purchases made through these links. Everything on this page I LOVE and heartily recommend!

Bicycle Art inspired by Joel Henriques

This page contains affiliate links and I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Everything on this page I have used and heartily recommend for teaching art.

This lesson is based on the modern artist Joel Henriques. It is a playful colorful project and has as its main subject matter something that is near and dear to most kids hearts…a bicycle! With the warmer weather I thought this would be a fun lesson as kids are finally able to get out and ride their bikes (remember how that first bike ride of the season always felt?)

Below is a bit more info on this contemporary artist from Portland, Oregon:

Resources for teaching about Joel Henriques

When I teach an art lesson, I like to first tell my students about the artist we are studying before we start the actual art part. I try to find great videos, images, and slideshows that have already been created and are easy to access to help educate my students. Here are a few resources for teaching your kids a little bit more about the artist we are studying in this lesson, Georgia O’Keeffe!

Who is Joel Henriques?

Joel Henriques is an artist and toy designer living in Portland, Oregon. He learned art from his grandma, who showed him famous artists such as Miro and Picasso and taught him about color and design. He has four-year-old twins who inspire him to create art and toys that coincide with their imaginations. He has a blog, Made By Joel, where he documents the toys and crafts and art he makes for kids.

Books

Made to Play

This book is written by Joel himself and has some amazing crafts and toys to make for kids in it.

Videos
Photos of his Artwork

Bicycle Art inspired by Joel Henriques

Kids of all ages can have success with this drawing. Help them get the tires and the main bike frame lines right and the rest will fall into place. If everything is not in proportion or exactly where it should be that is ok-it will still look like a bicycle! 

Supplies:

These are the supplies I used (but other products could be substituted):

  • Sargent art magic liquid watercolors- red, magenta,violet, brown, yellow, orange, turquoise, blue, green,
  • Water container
  • Paper towels
  • Watercolor brush (I use the Crayola taklon #7 watercolor brush)
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Eraser
  • 2 ½ inch drinking glass, small mouth pint mason jar, or small yogurt container
  • Fine line black Sharpie
  • Small container to mix brown watercolor with water in
  • 11×15 Canson Montval Watercolor paper
  •  

Step-by-Step:

  1. With a ruler draw a line 4 inches from the bottom of your paper.
  2. Using the ruler make about 30 stripes of various widths. (for younger kids just do about 10-15 stripes)
  3. Mark 5 ½ inches out on your horizontal line. (it can be anywhere)
  4. Place your glass or jar ¼ inch above the mark and trace a around it to make the tires. (center it over the mark)
  5. Find the center of both tires and mark it with the pencil.
  6. Draw a mark 3 ¾  inches above the horizontal line in the center of the tires, and use it as a guide to draw a light horizontal line from tire to tire.
  7. Add two diagonal lines.
  8. Finish off the bottom of the bike frame with two triangle shapes (see photo)
  9. Extend the diagonal lines ½ inch and add the seat and handlebars.
  10. Add a double circle where the triangles meet between the tires. Add the petals.
  11. Add circles in the center of the tires and 6 diagonal spoke lines.Sharpie over all the bike pencil lines. Don’t worry if some of your lines get wobbly or the tires get too thick etc. Erase extra pencil lines when you are done. 
  12. Add a few drops of brown liquid watercolor to a small container of water (I use a souffle cup) and with a scrunched up paper towel dip into the container and then pounce on the paper to make a light textured background above the 4 inch horizontal line. Be careful the watered down paint is not too dark, you want just a light color. (add more water if necessary)
  13. Starting with the yellow fill in 2-4 stripes with each color (for younger kids 1 or 2 for each stripe since they will only have 10-15) .I did 5 stripes of the brown though to break up all the colors.  (do lighter colors first)  Spread them out and be sure not to fill in a stripe next to a wet one or they will bleed together. This part takes some patience-don’t rush and just use the tip of your brush and a little paint at a time.

 

 

Step-by-step photos

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I'm writing a book!

I am excited to announce my latest project!  My daughter and I are working on a big, beautiful, creatively designed book on artist related lessons (similar to the ones on this website but with more details, step by step instructions and photos). The book will be for anyone who wants concise, detailed, well laid out lessons that are ready to teach, in a format that is fun to look at as well.

Book Info

Sign up here for news about my upcoming art lesson book:

Other Lessons:

Recent Blog Posts:

door in Italy with turquoise bike by it.

The Doors of Italy

At the end of a 3 week vacation to Europe, I came away with so many pictures of things that captured my interest and the mood of the moment. I couldn’t get enough of all the time worn doors, especially those in Italy.

Read More »

Making Reading Beautiful!

We painted Free Little Libraries! Does your city have a Little Free Library? These are little free standing libraries that have a “host” who looks after them and can be located in someone’s yard , out in the country, or in front of a business or in a park.  You can take a book to read or leave one for someone else to find.

Read More »

My Beautiful Tuscan Kitchen

This year marks the two year anniversary of our kitchen remodel! My wonderful cabinet maker husband finally got around to making this custom kitchen for our home and I couldn’t be happier!

Read More »

Georgia O'Keeffe Seashell Art

This page contains affiliate links and I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Everything on this page I have used and heartily recommend for teaching art.

Keep reading for more information about Georgia O’Keeffe, resources to teach about her, and a great liquid watercolor art lesson!

Georgia O’Keeffe liked to paint things big so that others would take time to notice them and all their details. She is quoted as saying about her big flower paintings:

“I decided that if I could paint that flower on a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty.” 

“I’ll paint it big and they will be surprised into taking the time to look at it – I will make even busy New Yorkers take time to see what I see of flowers.”

She carried this over to her other art as well and loved to make her images so big that sometimes parts of them were off the canvas, or they became almost abstract because of their size.

Resources for teaching about Georgia O'Keeffe

When I teach an art lesson, I like to first tell my students about the artist we are studying before we start the actual art part. I try to find great videos, images, and slideshows that have already been created and are easy to access to help educate my students. Here are a few resources for teaching your kids a little bit more about the artist we are studying in this lesson, Georgia O’Keeffe!

Who is Georgia O'Keeffe?

(November 15, 1887 – March 6, 1986) She was an American artist who is best known for her beautifully painted enlarged flowers. She also painted New York skyscrapers, New Mexico landscapes, and other elements from nature, like animal skulls, trees, and seashells.

Books

Through Georgia's Eyes

This book has beautiful photos and gives a great look at who Georgia O'Keeffe was. Recommended for ages 5-8.

My Name Is Georgia: A Portrait by Jeanette Winter

This is a great introduction to Georgia O'Keeffe. The story is well written and inspiring. Recommended for ages 4-7.

Georgia O'Keeffe - Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists

By now you've probably picked up that I love this series and this book on Georgia O'Keeffe is no exception! These have great visuals and illustrations and do a superb job teaching about an artist!

Videos
Photos of her Artwork

Georgia O'Keeffe Seashell Art

In this lesson we are going to focus on painting a BIG seashell using bright and beautiful liquid watercolors and black glue for a dynamic painting. This lesson is a two part lesson as the black glue outline will need to dry for several hours or overnight before you can paint.

Supplies:

These are the supplies I used (but other products could be substituted):

  • Glue All
  • Black Acrylic paint
  • Watercolor brush
  • Crayola blue fine line marker
  • Pencil 
  • Eraser
  • Canning or Pickling Salt or Sea Salt
  • Orange, Red, violet, green, turquoise, blue liquid watercolor
  • 11×11 watercolor paper (I cut mine from a 11x 15 sheet of Canson Montval watercolor paper)

Step-by-Step:

  1. Mix black acrylic paint into a ½ full Elmer’s Glue All bottle. Stir with the handle of a paintbrush. Add enough paint to get a dark black. I sometimes add some India Ink as well to get the true black color. (just make sure not to add too much of the ink as it will make the glue runny)
  2. Draw a large spiral shaped seashell filling up the whole paper. (Like Georgia did!)
  3. With steady pressure go over the pencil line with a stream of black glue. (practice this on a scrap paper to test the flow)This takes a bit of practice but once kids get the hang of it it goes smoothly. 
  4. Lay the paper somewhere out of the way where it can stay flat and allow it to dry for several hours or overnight until the glue is completely dry.
  5. When it is ready to paint begin with painting the center part orange adding a lot of paint to keep it wet. Quickly add violet to the outside edge and red to the other edge to finish off the center section. (see sample) If the paints are wet they will gently float into one another. Allow this to dry.
  6. Next add blue to the edge of the top part of the seashell and with a clean wet brush pull out the color to the rest of the top part of the shell. 
  7. Add purple to the other edge. Allow the shell to dry.
  8. For the background work quickly so the colors stay wet and blend into one another. First add some purple around the shell then some turquoise and some watered down green (just mix the green in a little cup with water).
  9. While it is still wet sprinkle the salt over some of the background. The salt will absorb the water and leave a textured water like background. (kids love this part!)
  10. Allow the paint to dry completely then shake the salt off into the garbage.
  11. Using the blue fine line marker make curved lines half way across the top part of the shell from each side. Go over each line with a clean wet brush to blur the lines a bit. 

Don’t worry if this turns out looking more like an abstract painting than a seashell! It will be equally as beautiful and was often the way Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings looked

Step-by-step photos

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I'm writing a book!

I am excited to announce my latest project!  My daughter and I are working on a big, beautiful, creatively designed book on artist related lessons (similar to the ones on this website but with more details, step by step instructions and photos). The book will be for anyone who wants concise, detailed, well laid out lessons that are ready to teach, in a format that is fun to look at as well.

Book Info

Other Lessons:

Recent Blog Posts:

door in Italy with turquoise bike by it.

The Doors of Italy

At the end of a 3 week vacation to Europe, I came away with so many pictures of things that captured my interest and the mood of the moment. I couldn’t get enough of all the time worn doors, especially those in Italy.

Read More »

Making Reading Beautiful!

We painted Free Little Libraries! Does your city have a Little Free Library? These are little free standing libraries that have a “host” who looks after them and can be located in someone’s yard , out in the country, or in front of a business or in a park.  You can take a book to read or leave one for someone else to find.

Read More »

My Beautiful Tuscan Kitchen

This year marks the two year anniversary of our kitchen remodel! My wonderful cabinet maker husband finally got around to making this custom kitchen for our home and I couldn’t be happier!

Read More »

Kindness Rocks Art

It only takes a few minutes to spread some love and kindness!

This page contains affiliate links and I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Everything on this page I have used and heartily recommend for teaching art.

My husband and I are on day 59 of a 2-5 mile walk. (we try and mix it up quite a bit and go different places) The walks have been so great to fight the isolation time and just a fun way to stay fit and have some good talks.

I got the idea to put out some kindness rocks in hopes to brighten someone’s day and maybe give folks an idea of a fun art project they could do. Kindness rocks are not a new thing but given our current situation with  Covid-19 it seemed like a good way to share some joy with my town. You can put anything you want on them and there are a variety of ways to paint them. I like using the Posca paint pens that I talked about in the Keith Haring Rocks! Art lesson that I posted recently.  You can also write things on the back like “Take me home” or “Share this with someone”. I am going to put out some of my Keith Haring rocks on my walks as well. They are so fun and bright and make me smile, and hopefully they will bring a smile to someone else as well.

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Let me know in the comments below if you make some of these kindness rocks! I’d love to hear your ideas and questions.

Keith Haring Rocks!

This page contains affiliate links and I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Everything on this page I have used and heartily recommend for teaching art.

Keith Haring is a fun artist to introduce to kids. His simple childlike drawings are easy to draw and fun to color. I always like to use unusual painting surfaces when I can to help break the boundaries of traditional art, and Keith Haring’s art is a perfect choice for doing some rock art.

WARNING: These are addicting!

Resources for teaching about Keith Haring

When I teach an art lesson, I like to first tell my students about the artist we are studying before we start the actual art part. I try to find great videos, images, and slideshows that have already been created and are easy to access to help educate my students. Here are a few resources for teaching your kids a little bit more about the artist we are studying in this lesson, Keith Haring!

Who is Keith Haring?

Keith Haring was born in 1958, in Pennsylvania, USA. He loved drawing cartoons and visiting museums. He is known for colorful, cartoon artworks and certain characters such as crawling babies, barking dogs and spaceships. When he was 20 years old he moved to New York City. Keith Haring started becoming famous and had exhibitions in galleries. When the paintings were sold, he often gave the money to children’s charities. Haring, painted art with and for kids. He made murals in lots of children’s hospitals and schools. He even painted a massive artwork of the Statue of Liberty with over 1000 kids!

Books

Pop Art 123!

This is a board book for the younger ones.

Keith Haring: I wish I didn't have to sleep!

Another great book on his art and famous style. (not for younger elementary kids)

Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing

This inspiring book was written by Keith’s sister Kay and is a delightful look into his life and art.

Slideshow
Photos of his Artwork

Keith Haring Rocks!

Rocks (rocks that are flat and smooth and have a 3-4 inch painting surface work best for this project but you can adapt it to fit a smaller or larger rock).

Above are some good Keith Haring images to choose from for this project, but you can find all kinds of artwork by him online that would also work.

Supplies:

There are lots  of different supplies you can use for rock painting. My favorites and the ones I used for this lesson are:

  • Rust-Oleum Gloss Clear Sealer (you can use any good gloss sealer)
  • Acrylic paint (any brand is fine)
  • Small flat brush
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Posca pen set -These are pricey but so wonderful. This is the full pack here, but if you don’t want to spend that much, check out this smaller pack! These are still great they just have less size options.
  • Rocks (rocks that are flat and smooth and have a 3-4 inch painting surface work best for this project but you can adapt it to fit a smaller or larger rock).

Step-by-Step:

  1.  Start by cleaning your rock(s) with soap and water and then let dry.
  2. Using acrylic paint do a base coat on the top of the rock. You can use any color but I find for doing Haring artwork it is good to start with a base of white. You can paint another color over this if you want a different color for your base. (the white covers the rock best)
  3. With pencil add the Haring image that you like.
  4. Fill in the image with either the Posca markers, acrylic paint, or another paint pen or colored Sharpie. (use the same colors he used to make it really look like a Haring artwork)
  5. Outline images and add action lines and other details with the black Posca pen or a black Sharpie. Also do a line around the rock at the edge of  the base paint. (see photo of rock edges)
  6. When paint is completely dry spray with the clear sealer.

Step-by-step photos

There will be a brand new Keith Haring step-by-step art lesson in my new book! Subscribe below for more details.

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Kindness Rocks Art

It only takes a few minutes to spread some love and kindness!

This page contains affiliate links and I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Everything on this page I have used and heartily recommend for teaching art.

My husband and I are on day 59 of a 2-5 mile walk. (we try and mix it up quite a bit and go different places) The walks have been so great to fight the isolation time and just a fun way to stay fit and have some good talks.

I got the idea to put out some kindness rocks in hopes to brighten someone’s day and maybe give folks an idea of a fun art project they could do. Kindness rocks are not a new thing but given our current situation with  Covid-19 it seemed like a good way to share some joy with my town. You can put anything you want on them and there are a variety of ways to paint them. I like using the Posca paint pens that I talked about in the Keith Haring Rocks! Art lesson that I posted recently.  You can also write things on the back like “Take me home” or “Share this with someone”. I am going to put out some of my Keith Haring rocks on my walks as well. They are so fun and bright and make me smile, and hopefully they will bring a smile to someone else as well.



Share on facebook

Facebook


Share on twitter

Twitter


Share on reddit

Reddit


Share on email

Email


Share on print

Print

Let me know in the comments below if you make some of these kindness rocks! I’d love to hear your ideas and questions.

I'm writing a book!

I am excited to announce my latest project!  My daughter and I are working on a big, beautiful, creatively designed book on artist related lessons (similar to the ones on this website but with more details, step by step instructions and photos). The book will be for anyone who wants concise, detailed, well laid out lessons that are ready to teach, in a format that is fun to look at as well.

Book Info

Other Lessons:

Recent Blog Posts:

door in Italy with turquoise bike by it.

The Doors of Italy

At the end of a 3 week vacation to Europe, I came away with so many pictures of things that captured my interest and the mood of the moment. I couldn’t get enough of all the time worn doors, especially those in Italy.

Read More »

Making Reading Beautiful!

We painted Free Little Libraries! Does your city have a Little Free Library? These are little free standing libraries that have a “host” who looks after them and can be located in someone’s yard , out in the country, or in front of a business or in a park.  You can take a book to read or leave one for someone else to find.

Read More »

My Beautiful Tuscan Kitchen

This year marks the two year anniversary of our kitchen remodel! My wonderful cabinet maker husband finally got around to making this custom kitchen for our home and I couldn’t be happier!

Read More »

Wash Day with Grandma Moses

This page contains affiliate links and I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Everything on this page I have used and heartily recommend for teaching art.

Keep reading for more information about Grandma Moses, resources to teach about her, and a great watercolor art lesson!

Mother’s Day is right around the corner…May 10th to be exact. In honor of all the mothers out there who are getting some extra duty right now I wanted to put a lesson out on a mom who became a grandma and THEN a famous artist! You may have heard about Grandma Moses, but did you know that she didn’t start seriously painting until she was 70? 

One reason that Grandma Moses didn’t start painting until she was older was that she just didn’t have the time. As a young farm wife with kids to raise (she had 10, 5 of whom died at birth) she had her hands full. She also made and sold butter and potato chips to grocery stores and a nearby resort. When she was 67 her husband died which left her lonely and to fill the time she started stitching scenes out of yarn. She did this until it was too painful for her fingers due to arthritis. That is when she turned to painting. 

She was “discovered” when a man traveling through her town bought up all her paintings that she had on display at the local drugstore. He brought them home to New York City where he found an art dealer to represent her. He gave Grandma Moses a one-woman show. After that she became more and more popular. By the time she died in 1961 at the age of 101, people all over the world knew about her artwork.

Resources for teaching about Grandma Moses

When I teach an art lesson, I like to first tell my students about the artist we are studying before we start the actual art part. I try to find great videos, images, and slideshows that have already been created and are easy to access to help educate my students. Here are a few resources for teaching your kids a little bit more about the artist we are studying in this lesson, Grandma Moses!

Who is Grandma Moses

Anna Mary Robertson (Grandma Moses) was born on September 7, 1860 in Washington County, New York. There she spent the first twelve years of her life on the family farm with her father, mother, and nine brothers and sisters. Because her father enjoyed seeing his children draw, he bought them large sheets of blank newspaper. Anna Mary loved drawing happy, colorful scenes. Most of Grandma Moses' works were painted on cardboard. The scenes she painted were happy scenes of herself as a child or rural home life. Other paintings are of people in eighteenth-century costumes, the way they might have dressed in the country. Her most popular paintings include The Old Oaken Bucket, Sugaring Off, Over the River to Grandma's House, and Catching the Turkey. Grandma Moses died on December 13, 1961.

Books

Grandma Moses - Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists

I love love love this series. It is my go-to for teaching kids about artists. They are fun, illustrated and informative.

Grandma Moses

This is a nice story on her life, but no actual Grandma Moses pics in the book.

The Essential: Grandma Moses

This is a nice introduction to the life and work of Grandma Moses. It features reproductions of many excellent paintings and some of their details .

The Year with Grandma Moses

This book brings together 13 of her classic paintings, along with brief excerpts from the artist's own autobiographical writings. It follows the different seasons.

Videos
Photos of her Artwork

Wash Day with Grandma Moses Art Lesson

This project has a subject matter that all moms can relate to…laundry day! Try this with your kids, they will have fun designing the clothes to hang on the line.

Supplies:

These are the supplies I used (but other products could be substituted): 

Step-by-Step:

  1. Using the clothes idea sheet, practice drawing the clothes you think you might want to have on your clothesline on the computer paper.. Come up with some of your own ideas too. You can even pattern them after your clothes and those of your family. 
  2. On the watercolor paper draw a curved line ¼ from the top of  the paper for the clothesline. At the bottom of the paper add a jagged line for the grass.
  3. Add clothes to your line making sure to make them a good size. I was able to fit 9. Add some flowers in the grass.
  4. Mix a watery puddle of blue in the lid of your watercolor tray.
  5. With a brush dipped in water only wet the top of your paper above the clothesline.
  6. Add the watered down blue in places but leave some white paper showing too.
  7. Mix a watery puddle of green and fill in the grass area, and flowers. (I left mine white with a yellow center). The paper will buckle a bit at this point from all the water and paint. 
  8. Use the extra fine line Sharpie to outline all the clothes, flowers, and grass (add some little grass clumps in the grass area.
  9. Mix up some paint with water in your lid for your different clothes. Keep the colors light by adding quite a bit of water as this will look more natural. (you could also use colored pencils or fine line markers for the clothes)
  10. When the paint is completely dry put some books on top of your paper to flatten.
  11. Using the clothes idea sheet, practice drawing the clothes you think you might want to have on your clothesline on the computer paper.. Come up with some of your own ideas too. You can even pattern them after your clothes and those of your family. 
  12. On the watercolor paper draw a curved line ¼ from the top of  the paper for the clothesline. At the bottom of the paper add a jagged line for the grass.
  13. Add clothes to your line making sure to make them a good size. I was able to fit 9. Add some flowers in the grass.
  14. Mix a watery puddle of blue in the lid of your watercolor tray.
  15. With a brush dipped in water only wet the top of your paper above the clothesline.
  16. Add the watered down blue in places but leave some white paper showing too.
  17. Mix a watery puddle of green and fill in the grass area, and flowers. (I left mine white with a yellow center). The paper will buckle a bit at this point from all the water and paint. 
  18. Use the extra fine line Sharpie to outline all the clothes, flowers, and grass (add some little grass clumps in the grass area.
  19. Mix up some paint with water in your lid for your different clothes. Keep the colors light by adding quite a bit of water as this will look more natural. (you could also use colored pencils or fine line markers for the clothes)
  20. When the paint is completely dry put some books on top of your paper to flatten.

Clothing Ideas Sheet

Step-by-step photos

There will be a brand new Grandma Moses step-by-step art lesson in my new book! Subscribe below for more details.

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I'm writing a book!

I am excited to announce my latest project!  My daughter and I are working on a big, beautiful, creatively designed book on artist related lessons (similar to the ones on this website but with more details, step by step instructions and photos). The book will be for anyone who wants concise, detailed, well laid out lessons that are ready to teach, in a format that is fun to look at as well.

Book Info

Other Lessons:

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Diego Rivera Watermelon Art

This page contains affiliate links and I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Everything on this page I have used and heartily recommend for teaching art.

Keep reading for more information about Diego Rivera, resources to teach about him, and a super fun watermelon art lesson!

I don’t know if some of you are like me and are losing track of days during this crazy time. Is it really April 27th already? And where did this last month go? I noticed too that the next holiday coming up is Cinco de Mayo. Yea for Mexican food! I know at school we often do something to celebrate this holiday so I thought I would post a lesson I have done with my classes in the past. This lesson is based on the artwork of the famous Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. 

He actually only painted one picture of watermelons, his last known painting done in 1957 shortly before his death of a heart attack, but this is a fun subject matter for kids and one that is easy to draw and paint. Diego Rivera is most famous for his large murals. But he also did many paintings of flower vendors, portraits of Mexican people, and other Mexican themes.

 Diego Rivera was perhaps the most influential Mexican artist of the 20th century. Among other things, his large-scale murals led to a revival of fresco painting in Latin America. Rivera was the most famous Mexican artist during his time but over the years his fame has been surpassed by his wife Frida Kahlo.

 

Resources for teaching about Diego Rivera

When I teach an art lesson, I like to first tell my students about the artist we are studying before we start the actual art part. I try to find great videos, images, and slideshows that have already been created and are easy to access to help educate my students. Here are a few resources for teaching your kids a little bit more about the artist we are studying in this lesson, Diego Rivera!

Who is Diego Rivera?

Rivera was born on December 8, 1886, in Guanajuato, Mexico. At age 10 he earned a scholarship to study art in Mexico City. In 1907 he won a scholarship that allowed him to travel to Europe. He studied art in Spain and then settled in Paris, France. In 1921 Rivera returned to Mexico. He and the Mexican painter David Alfaro Siqueiros hoped to create a new kind of art especially for Mexico. They wanted to paint murals on buildings where everyone could see them. The murals would tell the stories of the Mexican people. Rivera completed his first important mural in 1923. He was soon hired to paint murals on several public buildings in Mexico. Between 1930 and 1934 Rivera painted murals in the United States. He died on November 25, 1957, in Mexico City. Frida Kahlo, his wife, also was a famous painter.

Books

Diego Rivera - Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists

I love love love this series. It is my go-to for teaching kids about artists. They are fun, illustrated and informative.

Diego Rivera - His World and OUrs

This children's book follows the story of how a young Diego turns from a mischievous boy to a famous painter!

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: Their Lives and Ideas, 24 Activities

This book has some nice activities about Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo.

Diego

This book is in both English and Spanish and is an awesome way to bring Diego Rivera's paintings to life!

Videos
Photos of his Artwork

Diego Rivera Watermelon Art Lesson

This art lesson is in honor of Cinco de Mayo, or the fifth of May, is a holiday that celebrates the date of the Mexican army’s May 5, 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. The day, which falls on Tuesday, May 5 in 2020, is also known as Battle of Puebla Day. While it is a relatively minor holiday in Mexico, in the United States, Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a commemoration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with large Mexican-American populations.

How To:

Here is the painting by Diego Rivera that we are doing a lesson on!

This is a fun lesson where you use oil pastels and liquid watercolors to do a resist painting. I love the bold vibrant Sargeant’s art liquid watercolors and use them a lot in my lessons. You can get these in a set of 10/ 8 oz. bottles that although they are a bit pricey they are well worth it and will last a long time.

You can also buy them individually. Just make sure to get this brand as is the best one out there that flows and is not a gel consistency.

My favorite oil pastels for kids are the cray-pas junior artist pastels.

And then you need a pencil, eraser and a sheet of watercolor paper. I use the 11×15 Canson Montval student watercolor paper from Nasco, but any medium to heavy weight watercolor paper will do.

Step-by-Step:

  1. Draw a half oval for the watermelon wedge on the right side of your paper about a quarter of the way up.
  2. Add a large oval behind this shape starting the line in the middle of the wedge shape.
  3. Add the back and side table lines.
  4. Add the edge and bottom of the table and add a curved line on the wedge for the rind, 4 curved stripes on the whole watermelon, and the stem.
  5.  For all the pastel work press hard to get good coverage and nice dark lines. Use the dark green oil pastel to outline the large melon, add stripes and  go over the bottom pencil line of the wedge.
  6. Outline the wedge with red.
  7. Outline the table and do shading with yellow.
  8. Color in the stripes on the large watermelon with light green oil pastel using vertical angled strokes. Leave some white paper showing through. Draw a light green line next to the dark green outline on the wedge. Go over the stem with brown oil pastel. Add 9 or 10 teardrop shaped seeds with the black oil pastel. 
  9. Fill in the wedge with the red liquid watercolor.  Paint right over the seeds.
  10. Paint green over the whole watermelon pressing hard with the brush as you go over the stripes so some of it sticks to the paper.
  11.  Paint the table in brown.
  12. Paint the background in blue.
  13. Outline the bottom of the watermelon wedge and the bottom of the whole watermelon with black. Outline the whole table with black and add the table edge lines.

Step-by-step photos

Photos from the classroom

It would be fun to have some watermelon after this lesson. (If you are in an area where there is watermelon that is!) Happy Cinco de Mayo! You can find a new fun lesson on Frida Kahlo (Diego Rivera’s wife) in my upcoming book. Fill out the info below to get more book information.

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email
Share on print
Print

I'm writing a book!

I am excited to announce my latest project!  My daughter and I are working on a big, beautiful, creatively designed book on artist related lessons (similar to the ones on this website but with more details, step by step instructions and photos). The book will be for anyone who wants concise, detailed, well laid out lessons that are ready to teach, in a format that is fun to look at as well.

Book Info

My Art Lesson

Other Lessons:

Recent Blog Posts:

door in Italy with turquoise bike by it.

The Doors of Italy

At the end of a 3 week vacation to Europe, I came away with so many pictures of things that captured my interest and the mood of the moment. I couldn’t get enough of all the time worn doors, especially those in Italy.

Read More »

Making Reading Beautiful!

We painted Free Little Libraries! Does your city have a Little Free Library? These are little free standing libraries that have a “host” who looks after them and can be located in someone’s yard , out in the country, or in front of a business or in a park.  You can take a book to read or leave one for someone else to find.

Read More »

My Beautiful Tuscan Kitchen

This year marks the two year anniversary of our kitchen remodel! My wonderful cabinet maker husband finally got around to making this custom kitchen for our home and I couldn’t be happier!

Read More »