We’ve marked this time slot as our family picnic tea date time, to tune in and watch my talented artist friend Alison Stafford taking part.
You can follow her journey, as she documents it on her blog
I was so excited to hear that Alison had made it through the rounds to be one of 10 out of 6000 applicants taking part in this new series! From 1987-90 we studied fashion and textiles together at what was then, The Manchester Polytechnic.
Many years later, back in touch via facebook, I saw a portrait that Alison had painted of her young daughter posted on her page – it really touched me deeply and I knew she had to paint my children, who were around 5 and 3 years old at the time – here's what she came up with - they are still in pride of place in our family room – awesome!
My son Charlie, 7 has really observed the artists painting on this tv programme and is now talking confidently about 'where the light falls' and asking if he 'has overworked his drawings' - as we know, kids are like sponges and this is such a positive experience for them to watch artists experiment and agonise over their work!
I picked up some competition postcards yesterday from our local library - have you heard about The Little Painting Challenge? Make your creative mark on a postcard and it may well feature as one of a 1000 entries to be exhibited at Manchester's Whitworth Art Gallery in May. Adults and children 7 and over can take part.
Charlie has really been inspired by Georgia O'Keefe's work. Last night, he produced 3 amazing postcard sized artworks for the competition - I'm a very proud mum, he was sitting in cardboard boxes scribbling away with stumpy crayons way before he could even crawl!
Kids love art and getting messy don’t they?!
I run creative workshops, with both adults and children, in schools, hospitals and all manner of community settings – it always amazes me that children are so naturally experimental and free to express themselves – and so many of us grown ups have lost that ability and have become tentative, self critical and nervous around creative expression – is that because we were once told we were ‘no good at art”?
Everyone can be creative and the younger we start – the better!
So how can we adults....parents, teachers, family friends..... encourage kids to get painting?
Here are some ideas and suggestions that I've picked up along the way……
What kind of painting can I do with my kids?
- anything is the answer!
Babies love painting with food - try puree on a tray
Finger painting, hand prints, foot prints
Dabbing, printing – cotton balls, buds, sponges, potatoes, wooden blocks
Stippling with big brushes
Paint outdoors, make paintbrushes with twigs, dip tennis balls in paint and bounce them off paper!
They love mixing it all til it goes beautifully gooey brown……
It will get messy – use washable paints, plastic table cloths aprons, wipes at hand
Even better, go outside if you can - tape a big sheet of paper to the patio
Encourage mark making, experimentation, colour mixing
Art doesn’t have to look like anything, it can be a random series of abstract marks.
Paint simple squares and circles
Have fun, join in - kids love it when their parents get stuck in - turn off your inner critic
and allow yourself to play.
Don’t ask your child – 'What is it ?'
Instead, say 'Tell me about your painting'.
Exhibit the finished artwork somewhere special at home - such a self esteem booster for kids.
And back to The Big Painting Challenge
Best of luck Alison, who wraps this blog post up very neatly, by saying,
"I hope you enjoyed watching the programme. I have played my part in it if it has given people the impetus to have a go and to know that anyone can paint - you just have to keep practising! I am!"
Here's a selection of our family painting experiments over the last few years, hope you enjoy them and why not give it a go yourself?