The Laughing Zebra

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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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Easter Bunny in the Style of Romero Britto Art Lesson

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.

Just in time for Easter try this fun Romero Britto bunny lesson at home! And enter to win a book by the artist by sending me your beautiful masterpieces! (Details below)

This is a fun easy lesson that you can adapt for all ages. To do a complete lesson on Romero Britto using supplies you probably aleady have at home use the resources listed below to learn some information about Romero Britto and his colorful, hopeful art. (because we could all use a little color and happy right now!)

Romero Britto is a Brazilian born artist who grew up in a modest family of 8 brothers and sisters. He was interested in art at a young age and because his family didn’t have money for art supplies he drew and painted on scraps of paper, newspaper and cardboard.

In 1983 Britto went to Europe to study the old masters. He then travelled to the US and got involved in the Pop Art movement. He settled in Miami and opened an art gallery. His first big commissioned artwork was done for Absolut Vodka, drawing artwork to go along with their logo. He became well known after that, and now has art on five continents in over 100 galleries. Also you can find his artwork on a wide range of products from phones to luggage and even cars.

His style is fun and colorful and easy to recognize. You can tell his art is created by someone who is a happy person and has a zest for life! 

Resources for teaching about Romero Britto

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, Romero Britto.

  • Here are a few YouTube videos about Romero Britto. What are a few things that stand out most to you about his life and style?
  • Here is his website where he has more information about himself, photos, and news about what he is up to now. Click around and see what you discover! Romero Britto Website (hint hint maybe a free painting lesson?)
  • Here is a look at Britto Central in Miami Beach, Florida (Look around and see some of his artwork!)

Britto Bunny How To:

Now that we have learned all about Romero Britto, lets move on to the art lesson!

  1. Using the pencil draw the bunny on the heavy paper starting with a wide W shape an inch from the bottom of the paper. 
  2. Add two ovals for eyes and then draw in both ears going to the top of the paper.
  3. Add the lines for the inside of the ear and two curved lines for the muzzle.
  4. Add the triangle for the nose, the whisker dots and the two curved lines for the bunny’s body. Draw in two front teeth below the muzzle.
  5. Add 4 diagonal lines inside the bunny. These line can be anywhere but make sure the go from one side to another.
  6. Now draw in the background starting with a horizontal line that goes from the bottom of each ear to the sides of the paper. An inch below that add curved wave lines, then a second curvy line below that to form a stripe.Draw another line from the bottom of the cheeks out to the sides of the paper.
  7. Add a half circle for a sun between the bunny’s ears. Add 8 diagonal lines to make the sun rays.
  8. Put the scrap paper underneath your paper and go over all the pencil lines with Sharpie. Go slow and press hard to get a nice thick line. Color in the eye centers with the Sharpie. Erase any extra pencil lines.
  9. Now the fun begins! With the Sharpie add 3 hearts about the bunny’s head, and fill in different sections in the bunny and in the background  with patterns using the pattern guide. Be creative! And make sure to leave some sections empty. Add the whiskers.
  10. With the markers fill in the sections (leave at least 6 sections white) with color. Add some colored patterns on top. Have fun experimenting with different color combinations!

Step 1

Draw a "w" for the bunny face

Step 2

Add eyes and ears

Step 3

Add lines for the muzzle and inside the ears

Step 4

Add the nose, front teeth, and body

Step 5

Add 4 diagonal lines inside the bunny

Step 6

Add the background lines

Step 7

Go over everything with Sharpies

Step 8

Add patterns with the pattern guide below

Step 9

Fill in your sections with markers! (Make sure to leave at least six spaces white)

Pattern Guide

Use these patterns (or create your own) to fill in parts of the bunny and the background! Make sure to leave some spaces blank.

The Contest

To spread a little bit of joy (and artful education) I’m doing a giveaway contest on this art lesson! Send me a photo of the completed project and a first name and age to www.thelaughingzebraart@gmail.com and I will pick a winner to receive an awesome book by Romero Britto! The deadline for this contest has passed. The winners are Cali, Kila, Aristo, and Shannon Bojorquez! Here are their amazing bunny projects!

This is the book I’m giving away: Happy! by Romero Britto.

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

Other Lessons:

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