Famous art? Sometimes it looks more like a kids’ project. How many times have you walked the galleries a museum and thought to yourself, “I could have done that” or, “My 4-year-old could have done that!” Well, now it’s time for your 4-year-old to actually give it a try. I’ve always enjoyed using real-life artworks as inspiration for children’s’ art activities. I’ve made Andy Warhol pop art prints, Van Gogh clay landscapes and Monet-inspired layered color creations.
This time we are going to create a geometric work of art modeled after Paul Klee’s 1922 work Red Balloon. Like Klee, your child is going to deconstruct a city scene into shapes. This is perfect for young kids who aren’t yet developmentally ready to tackle realistic drawing. Your young artist can create her own city scene using only simple shapes. Keep in mind, the goal isn’t for your child to exactly copy Klee’s work. It’s for her to create her own piece of art that uses some of the same concepts or what she sees.
Before you start the art-making, show your child the real piece of art (the real one is housed at the Guggenheim, so if you aren’t taking a trip to the museum you can show your child a reproduction). As she views the art as her a few open-ended questions such as:
· What do you think is going on in this painting?
· What do you see?
· Why do you think the artist Paul Klee (use his name to make the connection) used shapes?
· How do you think Paul Klee created this work of art?
· What do you think this work of art is made out of?
Here’s What You’ll Need:
· Card stick or poster board
· Tempera paint
· A paintbrush
· Construction paper
· Clear drying school glue
· Colorful chalk
Here’s What to Do:
1. Paint the paper to create a base for the city. Ask your child what time of day it is, what season it is and what the weather is like in her picture. She can choose colors to match these outdoor elements and the discussion adds in a science element as well. For example, if it’s a rainy day she might pick grey, but if it’s a sunny summer day she could opt for light blue and yellow.
2. Cut out shapes rom the construction paper. Enlist your child’s help. If she is struggling to cut squares, rectangles, triangles and circles, give her a template or stencil to trace first.
3. Glue the shapes onto the painted base (after the paint is dry) to make a cityscape. Ask your child how she could make a house, skyscraper or office building by combining the shapes that she has.
4. Color in some of the shapes using the chalk. Klee used artists’ chalk when he created Red Balloons. Explain this to your child and let her act out her own famous artist scene.
Don’t forget the red balloon!!!! When the city is complete, have your child cut a red circle from a piece of construction paper and glue it to her masterpiece.
Add a book to the art-making activity. Read the story, look at the pictures and talk about what your child sees. Here are a few Paul Klee books for children:
The Cat and the Bird: A Children’s Book Inspired by Paul Klee, by Geraldine Elschner
Dreaming Pictures: Paul Klee, by Paul Klee and Juergen von Schemm
Paul Klee (The Life and Work of), by Sean Connolly
Paul Klee: Animal Tricks (Adventures in Art), by Christian Rumelin and Paul Klee
Are you looking for more famous artist activities? Follow my Pinterest board for ideas!