Abstract is a difficult concept for children, but can be simple to create! Creating abstract paintings can help children to begin to understand the concept. Here I will discuss just a few ideas for making abstract art with young children. Before you begin, I recommend a trip to your local library. There are so many resources about abstract art to choose from! Here are a few children’s books you may enjoy: “The Usborne art treasury” by Rosie Dickins, “Express yourself! : activities and adventures in expressionism” by Joyce Raimondo, and from one of my favorite series, Fancy Nancy’s “Aspiring artist” by Jane O’Connor.
Matisse Collage. Explore the work of Henri Matisse (“Ooh! Matisse” by Mil Niepold & Jean-Yves Verdu or “Henri Matisse” by Mike Venezia) and make these fun Matisse-like collages.
You will need:
- bright colors of construction paper
- gray or black construction paper
- scissors & glue
- leaves (optional)
After you and your child learn a bit of Matisse, cut out several leaf-like shapes from different colors of construction paper. Glue pieces onto the gray or black paper, making sure to encourage children to fill the whole page and to overlap pieces. In addition you may glue a couple real leaves (whole or piece) as well for texture.
Alternative Painting. You do not have to use paint brushes to paint! Try these fun tools to make surprising paintings that are naturally abstract…and messy!
You will need:
- golf ball
- acrylic paint
- old baking dish or any type of tray that has fairly deep edges
This is not my idea, I adapted it from what I saw it during Springfield’s ArtsFest, thank you Noah’s Art. Cut the paper to fit just right into your baking dish/tray. Roll the golf ball into a color of paint, making sure it is well coated. Place the ball on your paper inside the dish and tilt the dish, rolling the ball around all over. Repeat with new colors.
Try these other objects in place of paint brushes:
- paper towels
- cardboard cut outs (i.e. cereal boxes) make neat stamps
- Styrofoam cut outs or packing peanuts
- various textured items from outside: leaves, flowers, sweetgum pods, pine cones
various material with different textures: old socks or rags
Abstract Drawing. Explore the work of Wassily Kandinsky, “Wassily Kandinsky 1866-1944 : the journey to abstraction” by Ulrike Becks-Malorny or see the video at your local library, and create a unique drawing.
You will need:
- white paper
- various objects (i.e. cups, cans & bowls, toys, small dishware)
- crayons, colored pencils, and/or markers
Begin by tracing hands and feed onto the paper, discussing that these are real, identifiable objects (not abstract). Encourage overlapping and continue by tracing different objects, making circles, triangles and odd shapes. Fill the entire page with several overlapped figures-now it is beginning to look abstract! Color in segment shapes with bright colors and add drawn pattern. Can you find your hands? They should near impossible to spot!
These are just a few simple ideas, be creative and make your own abstract art! Summer is a great time to do this outside so you, I mean, your children, can get as messy as you like! As always, happy art making! And feel free to share your own ideas and projects!
Learn to paint – Online Art Classes
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