Silhouette Art – What & Why?

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At the studio, we use silhouettes as a teaching tool for a variety of skills. Not only is this task simple enough for ages 5+, it is beautiful and teaches a lot. I’m going to give you the steps to make your own silhouette art and below I’ve outlined the skills you will acquire along the way!

Skill number 1: Simplifying an object. This sounds easy but it really can be difficult. You want to focus on the bare basics of your subject. Start by analyzing what are the most important and identifiable details about the subject. Once you have recognized those, you can start there. Not focusing on too much small detail. See the big picture.

Skill number 2: Drawing what you actually see. Most people have a set image in their head when they think of the item they are drawing. The key to a successful silhouette is erasing all preconceived notions of the object you are portraying. You need to be able to draw what you are actually seeing in front of your eyes. This way, your drawing will be easily identified after you have turned it into a silhouette.

Skill number 3: Lighting. Learning how to paint a silhouette and about the illusion you are creating can give insight into how you can use lighting to create a realistic work of art. By painting your image in complete black with an illuminated background this will give you a clue about where your light source is located and how that relates to shadows and colors.

Now you know the why, here is the what —->

STEP ONE: Think about your silhouette and come up with a sketch. Maybe it is something you can see in the room or something you have designed yourself. Sketch Sketch Sketch

STEP TWO: After you have your sketch complete you need to create a colorful background. Think about the silhouette you are making. What type of background would make sense? It is important that you pick a color scheme that makes sense and is appealing. *Use acrylic or watercolor paints for the background* LET DRY

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Above: Gracie being awesome 🙂

STEP THREE: Lightly sketch your silhouette over your dried background. Begin to use the black paint to color the silhouette image. Be sure to paint a ground and don’t be afraid of creative flare!

Your finished product should be colorful and make a cool illusion, just like Gracie’s.

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Cats Rule!

Visit our website at http://www.feelartistic.org

Camara Obscura: A Drawing Technique

I use a Renaissance-era technique, referred to as ‘Camera Obscura’ at my studio. This technique helps my students to identify lines and shadows. By looking into the camera, they can easily sketch an image of the scene onto a piece of paper to create a realistic drawing. The idea behind this exercise is not to copy an image but to learn how to see an object and recognize outlines and shadows which will eventually help them build perspective and to create a realistic, detailed drawing in their artwork.

My students love this process of learning. In the picture below, a girl is drawing a pear and a cube by looking into a camera.

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Visit our studio at http://www.feelartistic.org

Art Therapy Benefits

Art Therapy Benefits For The Average Person

By expressing yourself through art, an art therapist can help you see things about yourself that you otherwise may not have comprehended. Art therapists can help you process emotions and feelings that you are struggling with, so you can begin healing. Since art therapists are trained in the arts and, obviously, in therapy, they are capable of guiding you through the process of creative expression. They are also quite capable of providing insight into your creations and helping you understand certain aspects of yourself that maybe you didn’t know existed, whether good or bad.

It is this idea of self-exploration that can often lead a person to some insightful conclusions about themselves. Don’t be surprised if the effects of art therapy lead to a general sense of relief and overall better mental health. Again, it’s therapy, but with a completely different ingredient than most people are used to, art.

It’s important to note that you don’t need an art therapist to reap the benefits of art therapy. If you go into art as therapy and learn about the basic concepts and ideas that it represents, then you can learn a lot about yourself through your own isolated creative expression. It’s something you can do on your own to just relieve stress, discover yourself in new ways, etc. It’s also something you can do with other people. It’s truly a beautiful thing when you’re sharing art in an open, friendly, loving environment with other people that are on the same wave.

For more information visit

Benefits of Art Therapy

The Importance of Art in Child Development:

In recent years, school curricula in the United States have shifted heavily toward common core subjects of reading and math, but what about the arts? Although some may regard art education as a luxury, simple creative activities are some of the building blocks of child development. Learning to create and appreciate visual aesthetics may be more important than ever to the development of the next generation of children as they grow up.

Developmental Benefits of Art

Motor Skills: Many of the motions involved in making art, such as holding a paintbrush or scribbling with a crayon, are essential to the growth of fine motor skills in young children. According to the National Institutes of Health, developmental milestones around age three should include drawing a circle and beginning to use safety scissors. Around age four, children may be able to draw a square and begin cutting straight lines with scissors. Many preschool programs emphasize the use of scissors because it develops the dexterity children will need for writing.

Language Development: For very young children, making art—or just talking about it—provides opportunities to learn words for colors, shapes and actions. When toddlers are as young as a year old, parents can do simple activities such as crumpling up paper and calling it a “ball.” By elementary school, students can use descriptive words to discuss their own creations or to talk about what feelings are elicited when they see different styles of artwork.

Decision Making: According to a report by Americans for the Arts, art education strengthens problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. The experience of making decisions and choices in the course of creating art carries over into other parts of life. “If they are exploring and thinking and experimenting and trying new ideas, then creativity has a chance to blossom,” says MaryAnn Kohl, an arts educator and author of numerous books about children’s art education.

Visual Learning: Drawing, sculpting with clay and threading beads on a string all develop visual-spatial skills, which are more important than ever. Even toddlers know how to operate a smart phone or tablet, which means that even before they can read, kids are taking in visual information. This information consists of cues that we get from pictures or three-dimensional objects from digital media, books and television.

“Parents need to be aware that children learn a lot more from graphic sources now than in the past,” says Dr. Kerry Freedman, Head of Art and Design Education at Northern Illinois University. “Children need to know more about the world than just what they can learn through text and numbers. Art education teaches students how to interpret, criticize, and use visual information, and how to make choices based on it.” Knowledge about the visual arts, such as graphic symbolism, is especially important in helping kids become smart consumers and navigate a world filled with marketing logos.

Inventiveness: When kids are encouraged to express themselves and take risks in creating art, they develop a sense of innovation that will be important in their adult lives. “The kind of people society needs to make it move forward are thinking, inventive people who seek new ways and improvements, not people who can only follow directions,” says Kohl. “Art is a way to encourage the process and the experience of thinking and making things better!”

Cultural Awareness: As we live in an increasingly diverse society, the images of different groups in the media may also present mixed messages. “If a child is playing with a toy that suggests a racist or sexist meaning, part of that meaning develops because of the aesthetics of the toy—the color, shape, texture of the hair,” says Freedman. Teaching children to recognize the choices an artist or designer makes in portraying a subject helps kids understand the concept that what they see may be someone’s interpretation of reality.

Improved Academic Performance: Studies show that there is a correlation between art and other achievement. A report by Americans for the Arts states that young people who participate regularly in the arts (three hours a day on three days each week through one full year) are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, to participate in a math and science fair or to win an award for writing an essay or poem than children who do not participate.

By Grace Hwang Lynch

For more information visit:  http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/music-arts/the-importance-of-art-in-child-development

Keeping Kids Safe at Summer Camp

From nature walks to cookouts to sing-a-longs — camp has many fun and exciting things to offer kids freed from school and homework during the long, hot summer months.

But before packing your child off to camp, you should get to know what medical and safety services are available — or not, as the case may be.

For starters, according to recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, a good camp will have written health policies and protocols. And all children attending the camp should be required to have had a complete exam by a doctor in the past year and be up-to-date on all childhood shots.

Before camp starts, parents should make sure the leaders have a detailed health history of their child, including any significant illnesses, operations, injuries,allergies, and any current medical problems.

“A lot of camps have a nurse or other medical person on-site. That would be an important question to ask when looking at camps — what kind of medical support do they have, and is there a place where kids can go if they don’t feel well,” says Garry Gardner, MD, a pediatrician in private practice in Darien, Ill., and a member of the academy’s national panel on injury and poison prevention. 

“Most camps, I would think, would have first-aid supplies on the premises — but that’s a valid question as well. How do they stock the first-aid or the medical office or clinic?”

And not every problem is a physical illness or injury — you also might want to know how the camp handles outbreaks of homesickness.

Eight out of 10 campers report being homesick at least one day at camp, according to American Camping Association statistics. The good news: Less than 10% of those cases are so serious — the child becomes so anxious or depressed that he stops eating or sleeping — that they are sent home.

What, Exactly, Will Your Kid Be Doing?

Gardner says parents should also ask questions about activities available at a potential camp. If your child will be involved in boating, swimming, or other water sports, for example, you’ll want to know about such things as life jackets, supervision, and the CPR certification of instructors.

Another reason to ask about activities: if your child has specific allergies.

For instance, parents of children with allergies to horses will want to know if campers will be taken horseback riding or exposed to horses on nature walks. If necessary, parents should send along Benadryl or Epi-pens for children who could suffer a serious attack if exposed to a known allergen, such as a bee sting, Gardner says.

Some camps may provide these things, but it can’t hurt to send your own supplies just in case.

While parents probably will not be told about every cut, scrape, or bruise their child gets at camp, they will want to familiarize themselves with the procedure in place to deal with a serious situation, such as a broken bone or an illness. This is particularly important for parents whose children attend camps far from home

By 
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Dominique Walton, MD

For more information visit http://www.webmd.com/baby/features/keeping-kids-safe-at-summer-camp