Paper Birds of Diana

February issue of arTree magazine is out! Do you want to learn all there is to learn about birds, including Diana’s amazing paper sculptures?

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Why birds?

One day Diana was walking on the beach and for the first time in her life she saw a swan. It was fighting with a couple of ducks and its flight and expression was amazing. She was fascinated. As soon as she came home she picked up some paper and tried to capture it while it was fresh I her head. After that she just couldn’t stop.

Learn more about her amazing work and the inspiration behind it! Subscribe today: http://artreekids.com/

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See more of Diana’s work at her website!

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Calder and mobiles

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Today my Little Artists and I talked about colors in motion. We talked about the mobiles they had above their cribs… and that Alexander Calder was the first person who made them, almost a hundred years ago. Why? He loved sculpture but thought that it missed something–movement. So, he tried to find a way to make his sculptures move.

Then we discussed the most important thing when making a mobile: balance.

What is a balance? It’s the way of spreading your weight equally so that you do not fall.

Why is important? If the sculpture was not balanced right, it would drop to one side and would not move much. It needs to be just right so that it moved in the air.

We also balanced ourselves – on our feet, on masking tape on the floor and on bumpy dots.

After that it was time to make a balancing sculpture. We drew pictures on our colorful circles and then folded them in in half. I helped them attach the pipe cleaners inside, made a hole on the top and attached a string. The kids tried to balance it on their finger and then went on to add the fun part: play dough.  They worked hard to balance their sculptures so that they did not lean too much to one side. Surprisingly easy for everybody (even the 3-year-olds). It was wonderful!

Win arTree magazine subscription!

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You can win a year-long subscription to arTree magazine (digital art magazine for kids)!

It is very easy. Just try to guess how long did this 150-layer laser-cut-paper window take to create. The closest guess will receive the prize! You can leave your comments here on our Facebook page  and we will select a winner Tomorrow (9/19) at noon! Good luck!

Creativity in a Digital World

Kids always want more screen time: games or movies – it does not really matter what it is. All the computers, portable games, tablets and smartphones make it easy to get overwhelmed, especially when you are five.

My son came up with a solution:

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Because he screen time was over, he decided to create his own computer: a little notebook with a mouse, keyboard and a zombie vs. plant game… one, that he will never have to turn off. He designed it himself, along with the mouse and the handles. He spent a lot of time deciding what features the computer needs, what buttons are necessary, what part of the game he wants and which ones he can skip, how many keys he needs for the alphabet (he did not count them, he was saying his alphabet as he was drawing the keys – which I think is a great way of keeping track and I’d recommend it to everyone).

Once he was done, he was proudly taking his notebook everywhere, explaining how it works and what it does. And the best part? It never runs out of batteries.

PS: Of course his little sister needed one too – so I was able to create a notebook as well! 🙂

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Renoir’s Plates

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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.

Matisse and the Snail

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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:

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Easter Eggs-travaganza, day 4: Bubble-wrap

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This has been our favorite technique as well. Use watercolors to paint on a bubble wrap instead of on the paper. Kids think it is really fun and they love stamping with it. I’d recommend to cut the wrap into small pieces, the bigger ones can get very difficult to handle… and if your kids decide (like mine) to stamp their face, it will cover only a small part.