Archive for Drawing and Painting


A couple of months ago Sam got really into volcanoes. We visited the permanent volcano exhibition at the British Museum, and started reading lots about them, finding out about the different types, and looking them up on Google Earth (we found Etna in Sicily, and Kilauea in the Hawaiian Islands, among others). These are some of Sam’s pictures:


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Spin Painting with Ink

If you have a spin painter, you might like to try using watered down ink instead of paint.

We put our ink in pippet bottles to make it easier (and more fun) for Sam to use.

We got some really nice results which were a little different from the painted experiments we have done with the spinner in the past.

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Indian Block Printing

We made these beautiful Indian Block prints using acrylic paint and printing blocks.

First we tried printing with an ordinary black stamp pad,

which worked fine, but we wanted some colour…

We didn’t have any block printing ink, but I had heard you could use watered down acrylic paint:

We made a sort of ‘pad’ using folded kitchen towel in a little dish

and watered the paint to a creamy consistency.

The dish needs to be big enough for your stamps or blocks.

After a while the colours started mixing together on the blocks, which gave a really nice effect…

Sam painted the larger blocks, partly because they wouldn’t fit in the dishes and partly to get better coverage.

We put a folded old tablecloth under the fabric to provide a cushion and help to get a better impression.

If you don’t have any carved blocks, you could use old bottletops and other found objects instead. In fact I think we might try that next time too as it sounds really fun!

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Marvelous Marbling

Recently we have had a lot of fun paper marbling. We got some gorgeous results (above) pretty much straight away.

I chose these marbling inks, not because I think they’re the best, but because the website I bought them from stated they’re suitable for 3 year olds, whereas the other makes didn’t seem to say.

First put an inch or so of clean cold water in the trays. Then just let the children drop on the colours straight from the bottle. They can choose whether to stir with a stick or not – each gives a different result…

Drying takes about an hour or so as long as the ink’s not too thick.

Really chuffed with these ones:

You can cut out shapes before or after marbling. Again, each gives a slightly different result.

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Sheringham Woods in February

During our week in Norfolk last month, Sam and I managed to get out and about in nature quite a bit. It was so lovely to get in the woods and find some of the first signs of Spring.

A carpet of snowdrops in Sheringham Woods.

A little house left behind in Pretty Corner woods.

The steps up to the viewing tower in Sheringham Woods.

Climbing the tower…

…The view from the top! Exhilerating, beautiful, but freezing! We didn’t stay too long!

Came back down to do some sketching. This was Sam’s first time sketching outside from the landscape. He told me afterwards he really enjoyed it, and has since asked to do it again.

Just time to squeeze in a quick Geocache before we go home.

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Sam’s Aquarium

Thank you to Granny who suggested this project after a trip to the London Aquarium with Sam last week.

She actually suggested a tissue box, but we didn’t have one, so we improvised with a regular box:

We taped it up using masking tape (better than ordinary sellotape in this case as it’s easy to paint over later).

Sam drew a ‘window’ shape…

…then I cut it out with a craft knife.

We painted the outside, just using regular children’s paints,

Next we cut a flap in the top as shown above.

Painted the inside blue.

Drew and cut out some little sea creatures…

Found some green wool and some thread for the tiny ones, stuck a piece of thread or wool onto the back of each creature, then Sam taped them to the inside of the flap. It’s worth paying attention to which way round the creature faces before you stick it down, so you can get them all facing more or less forward.

We also taped some extra bits of wool to be water weed.

And there it is!

Sam’s mini Aquarium. We were both pretty chuffed with that. Thanks Granny!

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Spun Paint Suncatchers

We wondered whether our paint spinner would work with acetate instead of paper…

We used inkjet acetates sheets from an office supplies shop, which are designed for use with an inkjet printer, so they take wet ink. And paint, it turns out!

We used artist’s acrylic paint, but I’m sure children’s acrylic paint would work just as well. You get brighter, more intense colours with the acrylic than you would with watercolour, especially on this non-porous surface. Which reminds me, this activity provided a good opportunity to talk some science as well as art. We discussed how some surfaces are porous and some are not, and how and why the non-porous acetate would take longer to dry than paper…

Once it was dry however…

…time for the art!

I am happy to have yet more colour around the house during these rather dingy winter days…

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