Have you ever wondered who first thought of skewering small bits of beautifully decorated cake? Turns out the cake pop queen is Bakerella, and the idea first came to her back in 2008. It’s been a few years since I’ve been admiring (and eating) them, and finally got around to making an arts and crafts project inspired by them. Fake pops are easy to make, and adapt well to any theme. The only down side is that they’re not edible.
Category Archives: Artists
You may have heard of a film called The Clock by artist Christian Marclay. It’s been showing in galleries and museums around the world for the past two years, and is now in Toronto. It’s the result of an ambitious two year project involving collaging and remixing thousands of images of film and TV footage, to represent every minute of a twenty- four hour period. The film is edited to be shown in real time, which means it’s 24 hours long. Crazy! I recently saw it, loved it, and found myself wanting to stay much longer than I could but…no time. In fact it was really interesting to be so engaged in something, yet constantly aware of the time, and in my case, when the parking meter would expire.
There are plenty of clips on YouTube which will give you an idea of what the film looks like. Naturally, a clock project had to come out of this, since at some point we all have to learn how to tell time.
Gerhardt Richter recently had a phenomenal show at the Pompidou Centre in Paris. This German artist has explored and mastered many styles including abstract, pop art, minimalism and photo-realism, where he creates paintings derived from photographs and adds his trademark blur. His work sells for prices higher than any other living artist, and is considered by many to be the most important working artist today. I loved his series of lacquer-on-glass paintings, and thought it would be interesting for kids to explore the idea of creating layers on plexiglass.
Painting eggs is a popular activity and tradition this time of year, and there’s no shortage of styles to explore. Think of intricate and detailed designs on Ukrainian Easter eggs, experiments with marbling, speckling and layering, wonderful little characters emerging from creative minds, and of course the unexpected. Artists provide inspiration for so many things, so why not for eggs?
The American artist, Roy Lichtenstein, was born in 1923 and was well known for his work in the Pop Art style. For a number of years, he adapted images from comic books and turned them into large-scale paintings filled with thick black outlines, primary colours, and lots and lots of dots. Dots, comics, and bright colours? Sounds like a winning combination to entice children into a little egg painting.
Jean Dubuffet was a French artist whose work included paintings and large-scale sculptures. He used a range of unconventional materials such as sand, pebbles, and butterfly wings, and was often inspired by found objects, patterns, and textures. He was also drawn to the powerful work created by children, prisoners and psychiatric patients, who had received no formal training in art. This prompted him to coin the term Art Brut to refer to their art, which was filled with a spontaneity and freedom he greatly admired and was inspired by. Let’s celebrate that spontaneity and freedom children have by playing with plaster and creating some textures.
After all your hard work entertaining, cooking and putting up with varying levels of dysfunction and joy, you’ll surely be in need of a much deserved break. Here’s a list of some of my favourite films about artists, which you may want to watch as an antidote to all the holiday excess. Be prepared to be taken on some passionate and turbulent journeys which explore the transformative power of art, and often seem to end in some form of madness. What is it with art and madness anyway? Not all of these are suitable for children, but some are definitely worth sharing with them. Happy viewing and Happy Holidays! Continue reading
Back in 2008, Apple dramatically changed our fingerpainting options by offering a painting application called Brushes for the iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone. No more drop sheets, no more gooey paint, no more cleanup. Its popularity has surged, particularly since Jorge Colombo’s painting landed on the cover of The New Yorker magazine.
That same year, David Hockney got his first iPhone, began working with this App, and the rest is history. His current exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum, called Fresh Flowers, shows what he created using Brushes. Needless to say, I left the show very excited about trying out this medium for myself.
While I found Brushes a bit pricey compared to other drawing Apps, it was cheaper than a bottle of wine, and got the most favourable reviews. Purchase made. It’s been a lot of fun to use even if you can’t draw for toffee. And if you head to YouTube, you’ll find an amazing selection of paintings to inspire you.
The coolest thing about this App? Watching your drawing being created in playback mode, the fact that you can use it anywhere, and of course seeing how much kids enjoy it.
The artist Niki de Saint Phalle, was a french painter, sculptor, and film maker. Today would have been her 81st birthday. Much of her work is naive in style, and has a playful, whimsical quality. The Tarot Garden in Italy is a perfect example of this, with its large scale sculptures covered in brightly coloured mosaics. So is the Stravinsky Fountain in Paris, filled with water-spraying sculptures made by Niki and her husband Jean Tinguely.
Of course it’s all much too happy looking for Halloween, but as luck would have it, she happened to create a unique looking assemblage called Portail de La Mort providing the perfect inspiration for this unusual, quirky little Halloween project. Trust me to sniff out one of the few colourless pieces she created! Joyeuse Anniversaire Niki.
The Austrian artist and architect, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, had a truly unique way of expressing himself. His work was filled with bold colours, organic shapes, and an obvious respect for nature. Some his architectural designs included rooftops covered with grass, deliberately uneven apartment floors, and always a preference for curvy lines over straight ones. He loved to experiment and often chose to make his own paints, while also exploring a variety of different supports for his work like wood and wrapping paper. He remains one of the most well-known contemporary Austrian artists, and his unique and unusual architectural designs and paintings continue to draw admiration today.
This mixed media project is about painting a building inspired by Hundertwasser’s style, filled with vibrantly coloured waves, curves, and irregular forms.