Monday, September 13, 2010

Mark Rothko-inspired Toddler Art

I was motivated recently by a post on Superheroes and Princesses to try some sort of artist-inspired painting with my son.  When Adventures of Bear posted about her new link-up for artist unit studies, I was sold.  I searched our library's art catalog, and was excited to find this book in the juvenile non-fiction section:

Abstract Expressionists (Artists in Profile) Abstract Expressionists (Artists in Profile)

The Bibliophile and I looked through the book together and I let him tell me which paintings he liked.  I originally thought we'd probably try something Jackson Pollock style (maybe next week), but he kept pointing to the Mark Rothko paintings.  So, we set out to create a Mark Rothko painting, two year old style.

If you are not familiar with Rothko's work, here are a few examples:
Mark RothkoViolet, Green and Red, 1951 Poster Print by Mark Rothko, 24x36

I intended to buy some inexpensive canvases from the craft store, but I was too eager to start, so we ended up just using printer paper. 

Before we painted, we talked about
  1. how Rothko covers the whole canvas with paint (I thought he might struggle with this)
  2. how he only uses two or three colors per painting
  3. how he uses rectangles
We decided the way to do this would be to take a brush, swipe a long line across the canvas, then paint the whole area on top one color.  Then paint the bottom another color (or perhaps another line, if we want to go tri-color).

I gave him the choice of using bright primary Crayola paints or some Prang metallic paints we've had in our art cupboard and never used before.  He chose the metallics, in gold and copper (I loved these.  We even left a cup of paint out overnight and it didn't dry out at all). 

I thought he did a great job with it, and seemed to enjoy it.  It is very unusual for him to cover a page with paint.  He kept going onto a second painting.  On the second one, we talked about how to make long brush strokes by moving the brush from side to side, rather than the scribbling sort of style from the first painting.

Here is his finished work (next to the inspiration):

The next day, he opened the book up on his own, grabbed the paints, and pointed to a William deKooning painting, saying he wanted to paint that one.  Here is what he made (next to the inspiration):

I'm linking this up with Adventures of Bear, Tot Tuesday, and Little Masterpieces.

Comment: What kind of a little artist do you have?  Do they like to get messy?  Are they timid, doing one swipe of paint and declaring their work complete, or do they throw on gobs of paint until you have to tear them away? 

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Raising a Happy Child said...

IB did great with his takes on impressionists. I have a reluctant artist here (or maybe a budding decorator) here - she doesn't care much for painting. She is interested in painting or rocks or wood, but paper is always an afterthought after we run out of 3D things to paint.

The girl who painted trees said...

Thanks for linking up! I love how he was so enthusiastic about it that he chose his own artist the following day. I'd never heard of Rothko. I will add him to our very long artist list:)

Eva said...

great work, it's so nice to see that he enjoyed painting so much he picked out another :), my daughter did the same thing!

Christy said...

He did so well! I love his artwork.

I got two books about Andy Warhol, but we haven't had a chance to read them or create any art. It's one of those crazy weeks.

Thanks for the link.

RedTedArt said...

Oh how wonderful!! We "covered" the Renaissance today!!! Love the idea of doing abstract art with them!!

Would love for you to stop by at Kids Get Crafty and link up too? Every Wednesday at Red Ted Art. This week's link is here:

Hope to "see" you later?



Joyful Learner said...

I love how you let him decide on the art and Rothko is a wonderful choice! I always loved his work but when I tried to recreat it, believe or not, it was not easy! Bibliophile, on the other hand, did great!