Thursday, January 18, 2007

What Kids Can Do

I spent last Sunday in my studio with my 10-year-old nephew Ryan. He has an amazing attention-span when it comes to art, and it struck me how natural it is for kids to create, without all the self-doubt and striving for perfection we somehow pick up along the way to adulthood.

I had him choose a cigar box, and he chose one with a beautiful orange finish, and was determined to leave some part of the orange showing. I showed him how to glue old book pages all over the box, and that's the only part of the project where I actually touched the box, as he got a little tired of that labor-intensive effort. I worked on a tissue box while he was working on his box, and demonstrated how to paint over the glued pages with a transparent wash, then add depth and interest with a darker color and drybrushing. His natural eye for color made that part easy for him.

Then he chose all kinds of animal images, both printed and rubber stamps, and added them to the box. I showed him how to add more paint to integrate the images into a whole, which he took to like he'd been doing it all his life. As a last step, I handed him a box of 3D embellishments, and he went to town with those.

Here is his finished box. The photos don't do it justice. Amazing.

And here's the tissue box I made at the same time. Of course, I had to spend another couple of hours tweaking it after he left. Damned perfectionism! This is a "commissioned" project for my daughter and her boyfriend, who requested it after seeing the ones I made my parents for Xmas. They wanted blue and a sea/beach theme.

1 comment:

Shari Beaubien said...

This might just be my favorite tissue box yet, Lori! It's lovely. And how lucky is your nephew to have you to play with?!?! Way to go for sharing your art knowledge with him and inspiring him. Hugs, Shari