Art Book review: Beautiful Oops!

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There is no right or wrong in art.

This is a message I try to teach the kids every time we create an art project. Art is not about right and wrong answers; it is about creativity, fun and self-expression. That is why I love this book so much.

Barney Saltzberg did an amazing job showing kids that every “mistake” is an opportunity to make something beautiful. Every stain, cut, drop of paint can be used to make something new and exciting.

I have used this book with kids 2-10 years and all of them love the message. It helps them to see what ‘no right or wrong in art’ truly means. I would definitely recommend this book to every budding artist and especially those who are afraid to start painting because they are afraid they will make a mistake.

I sometimes even do a little exercise in mistake-making. I ask the kids to doodle randomly on a piece of paper, make a stain or a tear and then try to figure out what to do with it. You can even mention that some artists, like Joan Miro, used this technique to make some of their art. Miro loved automated drawing: basically random doodles on a piece of paper that he later transformed into art… here are some examples of my older student’s work (K-2nd grade). What do you think, aren’t those Oopses wonderful?

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Matisse & Valentine

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Are you ready for Valentine’s Day?

This is a little Valentine dancer project that I did last year with my kids. We decided to use Henri Matisse and his art as our inspiration.

How can you make it? It is super simple. You need: black, blue and yellow paper, card (or card stock paper of any color), scissors, glue and about 10 minutes of your kid’s time.

First, let your child pose in a funny pose in front of a mirror (or you can take a picture of them with your phone). Then let them draw themselves on a black paper. Let them cut the picture out (or help them, depending on the age of the child), add a little red heart. Now you can decorate the rest of the card: words, letters, zig-zags, hearts… glue it all onto a card and share with that special someone.

Btw, these are some of my other favorite Matisse-inspired projects:

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Printing Valentines with Love

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Printing Valentine pictures with love (and a lots of ink)

Printing is one of my favorite art techniques. And Styrofoam printing is such a great way to let even three-year-olds experience it – with wonderful results. Sometimes we use new Styrofoam plates, sometimes we use recycled ones (I feel much better about using these but it takes a while to get as many as you may need).

For this projects, I let the kids draw their flower with a pencil. It cannot be too sharp or they will poke a lot of holes in the Styrofoam. But they loved it! We talked about flowers, lines, patterns and repetition a little bit… and then I let them draw whatever flower they wanted. They even helped with the printing!

Great thing about this technique is that you can print it as many times as you wish! And if you want to use another color, just wash it off and do it again.

How to print?

After you have your picture ready, spread a little bit of block printing ink on a smooth surface (we use old placemats) with a hard-rubber roller. When you get an even layer of the ink on your roller, spread it onto the picture. Place a blank sheet of paper on top and go over it with another roller. 1, 2, 3 and peel the picture off. If you are not happy, do it again!

You can watch this video I made some time ago about the printing process (for a little bit more complex project that I did with my elementary-school-aged students):