Water Monet’s Garden

Claude Monet spent over 20 years building and painting his garden… and even though he painted dozens of masterpieces there, probably the one that comes to mind when talking about him is his water lily garden.


There are many ideas for kid to paint his garden – but I did not find any for designing it. That’s when the foam and brushes with water came in.


I cut different organic shapes out of the play foam – based on Monet’s paitning (color scheme as well as the fluid shapes) and let the kids use brush and water to stick them to an easel. They had a blast and came with so many different variations, it was fascinating to watch. I think Monet would love it!

And if you want to try this at home, a great place is a bath tub – kids love creating huge, complicated images with foam shapes in the tub… the only problem is getting them out.

Art & Technology Night at Woodside


Yesterday was the first arTechnology night at Woodside Elementary school (Bothell, WA). It was a great success. The art docents and PTA did a marvelous job preparing the event and a lot of people showed to enjoy it – and to bring much needed art supplies. Let me just share couple of pictures with you.

woodside1 woodside7

This was the board that was presented by arTree – Matisse, his collages and a simple project (make your own bookmark with Matisse’s famous quote: creativity takes courage).

woodside6 woodside5

woodside4 woodside3

And these are some beautiful pictures created by kids and the art docents. Cannot wait to get involved in this school in the fall and help them create more art.


Renoir’s Plates


Let me introduce to you Pierre-Auguste Renoir, an artist that really got my attention after I read his life story. He started his artistic career when he was 13 years old. He was painting flowers on porcelain plates. He was very good at it and soon started studying art at a school.

That got me an idea – what if kids tried to follow in his footsteps… I got some paper plates and markers, stamps, do-a-dots and asked kids to decorate them

I encouraged them to draw flowers and talk about different ways to do that: small flowers all over the plate, pattern, detail, garden… I also showed them pictures of the plates Renoir did and then talked about his life… I told them that he was a friend with Claude Monet and they liked walking outside together and painting the same scene… that got one 5-year-old thinking about painting Monet’s garden onto the plate!

Btw, I find this very inspiring: when Renoir was old, he had a very hard time painting. He had severe arthritis and holding a brush was very painful for him. But instead of giving up, he decided to tie the brush to his wrists and keep on working for many more years. I wish I had his dedication.

May the4th be with you!


Happy May the 4th day, everybody! And to spark some creativity fro the galaxy long, long ago – I give you the wooden peg dolls play set, inspired by Filth Wizadry. I’ve added some starships (out of spray-painted boxes glued together) and some planets (quilt blankets that for a galaxy)… and I am sure there is much more to be added. Five it a try or as Master Yoga would say: Do or do not, there is no try!

Matisse and the Snail


Henri Matisse grew up in Le Cateau-Cambrésis, France – a very cold village and ever since that he hated the cold. He loved warm weather and warm colors. That is why his paintings were filled with bold colorful shapes and a lot of energy. When people saw them they felt like a “pot of paint has been flung in their face.”

After cancer-related surgery in 1941 Matisse was forced to stay in bed most of the time (or to use his wheel chair) – which is why he started creating the paper cut-outs he’s so famous for. They were much easier for him to handle at that time – yet they still offered the energy and bold colors he loved. He saw the technique as a combination of painting and sculpture and called it “painting with scissors.”

The Snail is one of his most famous works from this time period. Matisse’s daughter Mme Duthuit later said that her father made many drawings of snails at that time and that the idea for this work came out of them. The concentric pattern formed by the colorful shapes in the center of the work mimicked the spiral pattern found in the snail’s shell.

It is one of those projects that kids of all ages can enjoy… to make it more understandable for the little ones, you can print them out this image of the snail (or draw your own) and  let them paste the colored paper on it – as a shell. The older ones can use only their imagination to create their stunning masterpieces. Click on the image bellow to download the template and get creative:



Blooming CDs


Do you have a pile of used CDs that are completely useless? Great!

Take them aside and paint over the shiny part of the CDs with black paint. Once it is dry (allow a couple of hours so that it is completely dry otherwise it will not work well), use sticks to scratch out beautiful flowers. The great thing is, the colors will look wonderful in the sun and it is SO easy even a 2-year-old will love to do this.

Then cut out several circles out of construction paper. Cut holes in the middle and attach them with a split pin. If you make more flowers, you can use the split pin to attach them all to a big piece of paper along with other flowers… maybe onto different colored construction paper – Kandinsky-circle style.

This is a fun rainy-afternoon project as well as a fun O’Keefe activity for preschoolers. It teaches about recycling, positive and negative space… and if you work as a group, it teaches about collaboration.