kids activity

Playful and artistic children's portraits- Artist in Residence Bio: Stella, age 3

Playful and artistic children's portraits

Stella was born in Denver but learned at a young age that she yearned for a classic more rustic Colorado lifestyle and moved up to the mountains in Conifer, CO.  Given her preference for the simple things in life it comes as no surprise that her preferred art medium to work with are grown up pens applied to rolls and rolls and rolls and rolls of paper.  During her paint session, she was as poised and confident as a seasoned Olympian; she strode out on the giant 9 foot paper roll...she was home.

Her intensity is real, her demeanor is centered as she channels her contemporary influencers: Paw Patrol, Lion Guard and Monster Machines.  A non conformist, she feels most comfortable blurring lines and stereotypes. She wears her older brothers super hero t-shirts, and plays hard often resulting in scuffed knees and dirt smudged cheeks.  Yet she chose soft and bright pinks as her color palette to work with in her paint session. Stella follows no rules and refuses to fit in any box...perhaps that’s what makes her work so intriguing.

At home her Cow Cow and big brother Grey Grey (things so nice, she refers to them twice) as her muse.  Like most creatives/artists she suffers from insomnia but it’s that wakefulness that spurs the artist to churn out her most most inspired pieces of work.  It’s during these nighttime creative interludes that she relies on her most ardent supporter: Mom.  

She’d like to thank her Mom for providing constant support from the hours of 9pm-7am, always being a willing sound board to hear about new ideas and creations, visions in the night (sometimes scary), provider of snacks when this creative night owl needs nourishment. Most of all, a helping hand when a pillow needs fluffing, a blanky needs replacing or a gentle reminder that this artist’s soul is not alone.

Now accepting personal commissions, preferred form of payment: candy, candy, candy and also candy.

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Creative Kids Portraits, Artist in Residence Bio: Jack, age 3

Creative Kids Portraits

Young Jack is one half of an artist duo sweeping the town of Golden, Colorado. He partners with his sweet sister Lucy.  The two styles have never been so different.  His sister, many times lost in her own art, barely recognized the camera being present.  While Jack, in the presence of the camera, mastered an entirely new performance work subtly, yet appropriately titled “My Tongue is Out”.  

Critics speculate if his performance piece is a commentary on society’s ability to just accept what they can’t understand or if there is a more complex meaning relating to his rejection of the status quo and unwillingness to conform.  When pressed for an explanation about his choice of artistic expression he simply replied with, “I made this”.

So simple, yet so complex.

Whatever the thought process behind making the final masterpiece the results were primal, earthy, raw, conjuring up textures and compositions similar to the manes of horses and buffalo fur.  

Jack will continue sharing exhibition space with Lucy.  Upcoming shows are slated for: Downstairs Play Area and the ever controversial space: ½ Bath on the First Floor.

 

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3 ways to reuse plastic Easter eggs

denver childrens photographer paint sessions

If you celebrate Easter then you probably have the same dilemma I do...here’s how Easter plays out at my house. About two months before Easter, I see decorations filling the store and I proactively buy Easter eggs trying to prevent what happens every year:  It’s the night before Easter as soon as the kids go to bed, I start going to work as the Easter bunny, filling up baskets.
 

First step is of course, retrieve those plastic eggs.  And every year when I can’t find where I put the eggs I bought 2 months ago, I send my husband to find whatever plastic eggs are left in the stores.  Then, Murphy’s Law comes into play and I find said eggs purchased 2 months ago usually no more than 7 days after Easter.  I swear I’ll store them away and use them next year but let’s be honest...this little nasty forgotten Easter egg cycle has been going on for the last 6 years.  Instead of making myself feel bad about this habit I decided to create some art projects you can do with your kids to reuse those damn eggs!


Kids Art Project #1: Egg Maracas

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Get two plastic spoons, fill the plastic eggs with anything you think will make a nice rattle.  Here I used, rice and dried beans.  Have your kids look for things to put inside the eggs and experiment, different things will make different sounds.  Once you’ve got your "rattlers” tape up the spoon handles.  Make sure those spoons are securely taped because they will get flung around and dropped!  After they're taped together you can decorate them. I found using scrapbook decorative tape an easy simple way to jazz them up.

 

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Kids Art Project #2: DIY Bath Bombs

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Plastic Easter egg shells make great bath bomb molds, you can find a zillion different bath bomb recipes online, find one that you like, my favorites are the ones that combine just a hint of some kind of essential oil in them, mix up a batch and put them into your molds.  Here’s another tip, if you’re the type that likes to incorporate some type of homemade gift for your kids teacher, this is one they will probably be pretty grateful for; hold onto your eggs so you can use them for end of year teacher gifts! 

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Kids Art Project #3- Mini succulent planters

I think succulents are just so darn cute and better yet, they are very hard to kill, that makes me like them even more!  You can make these little planters and have them sit on a window ledge, shelf, desk, dresser, bathroom, nightstand all over the house and (like me) you can pretend that you have a green thumb that nourishes and grows plant life indoors.

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I painted my eggs white first, then “painted” glue on the egg after the paint was dry.  Then I sprinkled different types of glitter on them (if you do this, definitely use some sort baking or cooking dish with raised edges, because glitter…).  Then I cut 3 floral wires the length I wanted, while holding the wires, separate them evenly and bend the floral wire over the edges of the egg. Then grab the wires on the bottom of the egg and twist all 3 wires together. Spread the wires in different directions to make legs so it can stand. Now you can have those little succulents everywhere!

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Do you have an idea on how we can reuse or recycle these little eggs- let me know!  I'd love to hear other ideas (because I've probably got at least another 10 years worth of eggs coming at me!).

Artistic Kids Photography- Artist in Residence Bio: Lucy, age 4

Artistic Kids Photography

Miss Lucy hails from the hills of Golden, Colorado.  What really sets her work apart from other 4 year olds is her unorthodox painting techniques.  She has invented and perfected a technique so daring and unique that few other artists dare try: the dive head first approach.  This is no figure of speech or idiom, she quite literally dives head first; hands stretched out front, entire body skimming through a puddle of paint. 

She does this with the skill and acumen of an Olympic diver.  Such precision and wide brushstrokes, add texture and movement unlike any other known painting technique.  As she wraps up her masterpiece she completes every work of art with another signature move: the paint push up.  She adroitly hovers her body on all fours over the painting until she finds the exact right place and moment to drop and give a little belly imprint coupled with two partial rolls on each side. 

Her technique, unusual.  Her motivation and determination, inspiring. 

While painting she is completely engrossed, hardly looking up for a moment from the work that sits in front of her.  Her work is currently being shown by the Dining Room wall gallery, which operates in the same hometown of Golden, Colorado.  Upcoming exhibitions include: Living Room above the Sofa and The Room I Share with Jack.

 

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denver childrens photographer kids paint session
denver childrens photographer kids paint session
denver childrens photographer kids paint session
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denver childrens photographer kids paint session
denver childrens photographer kids paint session
denver childrens photographer kids paint session
denver childrens photographer kids paint session
denver childrens photographer kids paint session
denver childrens photographer kids paint session
denver childrens photographer kids paint session
denver childrens photographer kids paint session

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Kids craft project- Custom nameplate activity for kids, Part Two

Kids craft project

Piggybacking from my other blog post, if you haven’t read about the salt painting name plate activity, you can click here.  This time I wanted to a do name plate that was sort of vintage looking.  Once again it involves glue and tracing.  

I went to Ikea and bought 2 Ribba square shadow box frames.  I love this frames, so versatile. That have a very sturdy back which is perfect for this art project.  Open up the frames take out the brown back and have your kids write their names. Make sure they write on the opposite side of the hanger.  They can make mistakes, start over and try it as much as they want.

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When they’re happy with their names, get out the glue and have them trace over their names. Wait for the glue to completely dry, you’ll know it’s dry when it’s hard and translucent.

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Then take some aluminum foil and attach it the board so it covers the dried glue.

denver childrens photographer paint session
denver childrens photographer paint session

Gently rub your fingers over all the hard glue surfaces and you’ll start to see their name form around the foil.  Be careful not to press too hard or you’ll make a hole in the foil.  After you’ve imprinted your design, get some black shoe polish, and gently swirl around and over the name, being sure to keep it on the foil.  It’ll have some neat swirl patterns that only adds to the character of these name plates.

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If you’d like to add small intricate details, you can take a blunt pencil and carefully add some lines or dots on top of the foil.

denver childrens photographer paint session

Let the shoe polish dry and then place back in the frames.  

 Jacob on top, Nicholas on the bottom- I love how his little 'N' is backwards and he wrote his name going from bottom to top, in true 4 yr old fashion.

Jacob on top, Nicholas on the bottom- I love how his little 'N' is backwards and he wrote his name going from bottom to top, in true 4 yr old fashion.

I love this kids art activity for several reasons:

  1. My kids want to put their name on everything

  2. It’s gives them a chance to be super creative with it

  3. It’s a nice multi-layered approach and the end result looks nothing like how it begins.  And if you know anything about what I do as a photographer you can understand why I like it!

  4. It looks so freakin’ cool when it’s done!  I bought two more of the RIbba frames and have hand molds from each kid, hanging next to each of their names in my stairway.


Now I want to see what else I can create with this!

Unique Kids Portraits- Artist in Residence Bio: Lincoln, age 1

Unique Kids Portraits

Born Lincoln Allen, he operates under the nom de plume, Honey Bear in order to maintain his anonymity and privacy.  He shares a co-working art studio space in the rural mountains of Golden,CO with his Mother (photographer) and Father, Sir Bisquik (partner in crime, inspiration/motivation, fur brother), Keva and his 3 monkey pals: Polk, Kennedy and Millard Fillmore. He most recently completed his first year residency at the school of hard knocks, where he will continue to grow and refine his artistic abilities indefinitely.

His current project called: Don't Cry Over Spilled Milk, Mama! is a modern contemporary performance piece exploring the ephemeral existence of childhood where the milk only exists briefly before being cleaned up by mom, dad or the dog.  While Honey Bear hasn't specifically mentioned his reasoning for this public art display, those who have witnessed it say its a social commentary about the fleeting existence of life itself.  The milk is there, briefly, then it's gone...

Performance art seems to be young Honey Bear's forte, in addition to "Don't Cry Over Spilled Milk, Mama", he is also showing, "Jeopardy!" an interpretative modern dance to the Jeopardy theme song while simultaneously reciting his haiku (inscribed by his mother because he, of course, is 1 year old and cannot write):

 

Yeah ah ah ma ma
Uh oh uh oh ha ba ba
Yeah yeah da da da

Honey Bear is trying to secure funding for his next performance piece titled, "...The Door...".  During this performance he will close the bathroom door, open the bathroom door, close the bathroom door, open the bathroom door while repeatedly saying "uh-oh".  This can go on for mere seconds or many minutes. Again, no explanation was given to understand the significance of this piece but one could speculate he may be trying to prepare and forewarn society from impending doom. 

Or...he just likes doors.

Whatever his intent, we are anxiously awaiting what new exciting things this emerging artist will bring to the art scene. Price of admission for all public performance pieces: one snack bowl full of Goldfish crackers.  Monkey bowls, preferred.

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Denver childrens family photographer kids paint sessions
Denver childrens family photographer kids paint sessions
Denver childrens family photographer kids paint sessions
Denver childrens family photographer kids paint sessions
Denver childrens family photographer kids paint sessions
Denver childrens family photographer kids paint sessions
Denver childrens family photographer kids paint sessions
Denver childrens family photographer kids paint sessions
Denver childrens family photographer kids paint sessions
Denver childrens family photographer kids paint sessions
Denver childrens family photographer kids paint sessions
Denver childrens family photographer kids paint sessions
Denver childrens family photographer kids paint sessions

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Kids craft project-Custom nameplate activity for kids, Part One

Kids craft project

If you have twins, triplets...scratch that...

if you have many children...wait...

if you have children close in age...ummm, hang on...

if you have multiple children...trying again...

okay if you have a singular child. 

Yes, if you are in close proximity to any child roughly from about the age of 18 mos to let's say adulthood you are acutely aware of the importance of having your name on things.  It's of utmost importance, their name must be on everything, and once they learn how to (sorta kinda) write it, they must do it.  Names are very important.  Especially to my two boys, Jacob and Nicholas, ages 7 & 4.  The name game is strong in our house, being boys and sharing a group of friends and a room to boot.  "Names" define fierce boundaries around here. 

Over our spring break last week we did two different nameplate kids art projects that were both easy to do, captured their attention and ended up looking pretty cool in the end.

First we did salt art. 

I started off with a color palette that I found pleasing...lets be honest, kids need some guidance in the color department.  As parents we need to look and enjoy these pieces it might as well be something I can stomach looking at over and over again! I just these colors because I'm 1. obsessed with them and 2. this color combo naturally induces peacein my brain (and many times, my boys do not) so it's like a little constant dose of Xanax.  Who couldn't use that?

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I used my watercolors to paint 2 whole sheets of watercolor paper.  1 sheet I left whole, the other sheet I tore in half.  I hand tore all the edges of the paper bc I think it looks better than a straight edge.  I also made sure to darken the edges all around the paper to really highlight the texture.

denver childrens photographer paint sessions
denver childrens photographer paint sessions

When the sheets are dry, I glued the half sheet on the whole sheet, right in the center.  Next, with pencil I wrote their names and then went over it again, with a darker water color paint color so it would be really easy for them to do the following step. 

Then I had them trace their painted name with glue.  Once they're done, I let them cover the whole sheet with salt- normal cheapo kitchen salt variety is fine. Best to do this step in a baking sheet with raised edges to keep the salt contained.

denver childrens photographer paint sessions
denver childrens photographer paint sessions

Give the glue and salt a few hours to dry.  When it's ready, mix up your food coloring, keeping a color palette similar to the colors you painted with earlier.  Then use an eye dropper to apply the food coloring on the salted letters.

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When you're done, again wait for it to dry a bit and then use some adhesive spray to make sure everything stays intact once it's hung up.  And there you have it- a customized nameplate for your little(s) to hang and stake their claim (and it's easy on the eyes!).

 

Creative Children's Portraits- Artist in Residence Bio: Devyn, age 5

Creative Children's Portraits

Devyn is currently exploring two themes with her current work: Old with New and Re-purposing.  She practices this by using traditional methods and tools like markers, chalk, crayons and scissors and combines them with dry erase markers/boards and cardboard.  The result is an eclectic mix of houses, cars and spaceships.  Often times she is so engrossed in her work she does not realize it turns into a public performance piece, as she narrates while she creates.  Audiences are amazed by her ability to formulate a screenplay incorporating inanimate objects nearby, complex mysteries involving shampoo bottles and wooden beads are not unheard of.  She pulls inspiration from older media attributing Magic School Bus, original Scooby Doo episodes and Nancy Drew stories to be major influences in her work.  


She’d like to thank her Mom and Dad for continued support and encouragement; BFFs: Abby and Annabelle; and family friends, Aunt Wendy and Grandpa Will.

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 denver childrens photographer paint session
 denver childrens photographer paint session
 denver childrens photographer paint session
 denver childrens photographer paint session
 denver childrens photographer paint session
 denver childrens photographer paint session
 denver childrens photographer paint session
 denver childrens photographer paint session
 denver childrens photographer paint session
 denver childrens photographer paint session

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Kids art project perfect for Valentine's Day

Kids art project

Looking for a simple handmade kids craft idea to give to someone for Valentine's Day? This is the perfect kids project, that's fun, easy to do, not time consuming and ends up looking great.  A perfect gift to give to your child's favorite teacher or Grandma/Grandpa for this upcoming holiday (or any day!). 
You will need:
1. 1- 5x7 canvas, you can usually buy two of these at a time, great for siblings!
2. 1- black or brown oil based Sharpie paint marker
3. 2- different colored ink pads
4. 1- heart shape stencil
5. 1- piece of card stock, any color

First draw your tree with your Sharpie paint marker,  lay the heart stencil down so you can visualize where the branches should go.  You don't want branches under the stencil or touching the sides.

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Next, using your stencil and card stock, draw and cut out your heart so you're basically making another heart stencil.  Technically, you can just use your heart stencil but I didn't want my original to get ink all over it, so I made another one.  Lay the stencil on the canvas and tape it so it stays in place.  Then break out the ink pads and get them ready.

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My son knows I like blue so whenever he gets the option to pick a color he does his Mama proud (que the collective internet sigh)!  Once your stencil is taped down, it's time to start "stamping" with thumb prints.  Continue until all the white space in the heart is filled with different colored fingerprints.
 

 denver childrens photographer paint sessions
 denver childrens photographer paint sessions
 denver childrens photographer paint sessions
 denver childrens photographer paint sessions
 denver childrens photographer paint sessions
 denver childrens photographer paint sessions
 denver childrens photographer paint sessions

When you're done you have a cute little heart tree canvas suitable for hanging up and one really proud kiddo.  Look at these smiles, art makes everyone happy!  Try different color combinations for different kids and give someone a whole forest of heart trees.  If you try this at home show me what you made, I'd love to see it!

Creative and Unique Children's Portraits- Artist in Residence Bio: Davin, age 7

Creative and Unique Children's Portraits

Hailing from the hills of Aurora, Colorado, Davin started his career in the arts at a young age.  Armed with pencils and paint, he'd sketch on canvases or paper at home.  Soon he traded in his pencils and paper for a different kind of artistic expression: dance!  He continues to explore this new avenue by experimenting with different types of dance, countless auditions, rehearsals, competitions and performances.  During his down time he enjoys watching Adventure Time and Suicide Squad and can replenish his creativity with a timeless favorite childhood activity:  playing with Lego.

Davin would like to thank the special people in his life that help him to fulfill his creativity destiny: Alex, Danny, Ian, Karson & Hayden (school entertainment), Abby, Madison & Gabby (dance partners), Nana, Noni, Ariah, Sofia, and most of all Mom and Rob for helping him to pursue his dreams.

On a serious note: I typically take a pretty campy approach to these write ups but keep your eyes on this kid.  He's driven and dedicated and one day we'll all be watching him on stage!  Keep up the hard work, buddy!
 

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 denver childrens photographer paint sessions
 denver childrens photographer paint sessions
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 denver childrens photographer paint sessions
 denver childrens photographer paint sessions
 denver childrens photographer paint sessions
 denver childrens photographer paint sessions
 denver childrens photographer paint sessions
 denver childrens photographer paint sessions
 denver childrens photographer paint sessions
 denver childrens photographer paint sessions
 denver childrens photographer paint sessions

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