Kids Create: Plein Air Painting

Monday, May 11, 2009 11:15am  |  COMMENTS (4)

plein_air_painting[1].jpgRecently I had an inspiring outing. I went to Philadelphia to see the Cezanne and Beyond Exhibit. This is the time of year that everyone should take time to be inspired by nature. I suggest taking some time to show your kids some art by Cezanne and other landscape painters. The Montclair Art Museum has a great collection by Montclair’s own, George Innes. Then plan an outing to your favorite park. I think Verona Park would be great!
Here’s what you need to bring:

1. Heavy cardboard
2. Paper
3. Oil pastels
4. Crayons
5. Colored pencils
6. Paints
7. Snacks and drinks ( we don’t want cranky kids!)
Here’s what to do:

  • Go and find a nice place to sit, where you have a great view of some trees, shrubs or flowers.
  • Set up your outdoor workspace by sitting down, placing the cardboard on your knees, and laying the paper on top of that.
  • Look at what you are going to draw, discuss with your children all the shapes you see. Talk about all the different shades of greens in the landscape and blues in the sky,
  • Remind them that is just the impression of what they see.
  • The sky truly is the limit and the only rule is to have fun!
  • Once they have finished one picture,encourage them to draw another, and another, and another!
  • Don’t forget to sign, date and label your work

Some helpful hints for traveling to the park with art supplies:
1. A fish tackle box is great for supplies.
2. Days of the week pillboxes make great traveling containers for paint.
3. Collapsable cups are perfect for water to rinse out brushes
4. Have wipes on hand for dirty hands!
Post by Nancy Breslin
We would love to see your artwork. Please email your creations to us!


  1. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  May 11, 2009 @ 12:18 pm

    So now I’m confused again.
    The Cezanne and Beyond Exhibit link brings you to Cezanne’s “The Large Bathers, 1906.”
    This pix features large naked people, bathing.
    NOT KID FRIENDLY!!! (Though if the kid is over say, 12 it may be age-appropriate… )
    The landscape idea is good.
    Most landscapes ARE kid friendly grass, trees, etc.
    An Urban Landscape, however, with say, crack whores, IS NOT kid friendly.

  2. POSTED BY Georgette Gilmore  |  May 11, 2009 @ 12:27 pm

    I don’t recall seeing anyone say that children need to have only “kid-friendly” art, music, etc.
    We take the girls to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Montclair Art Museum, and many others. But sometimes, we take them to The Children’s Museum of Manhatthan or kid’s concerts. Children enjoy a variety of things and sometimes they like songs about a rooster all around the kitchen. There’s nothing wrong with that.

  3. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  May 11, 2009 @ 12:47 pm

    Ahh….. I don’t know….
    In several posts here the terms “kid-friendly” and “family-friend” are in describing art, music or other activities that are “acceptable” for the little ones. This, presumably to the exclusion of “adult” (?) art.
    (Most, music especially, I find devoid of all heart, matter and substance. But that’s just me.)
    And that’s my point. The term “– friendly” is dumb and reductive.
    Moreover, your link makes the point, or raises the question: is seeing naked people bathing good for young children?
    They might think public nakedness is natural or something.

  4. POSTED BY mhew  |  May 13, 2009 @ 10:26 am

    I think this is a wonderful idea. I’m going to see if I can get my playgroup organizer into it.
    On the note about whether nudity in art is age-appropriate. I think that when it comes to art, we need to separate from the idea that nudity is pornographic or unnatural. Unless the people in the paintings are engaging in questionable acts, why are we so worried about it? If we don’t make a big deal about it, neither will our children. Nudity IS natural. I guess, as an artist, I view it differently. I don’t see it as a perversion and I have no problem allowing my children to see artwork with nude models in (again, as long as we’re not talking about lude poses). If the child asks questions, you can simply tell them that it’s better to practice drawing/painting the human form without clothing in order to get the shapes and contours (anatomy) of the body correctly. If we run away covering our children’s eyes, wouldn’t that make them more curious? I believe children are a lot smarter than to imagine that just because there are a bunch of naked people walking around a garden in a painting, that it’s OK for them to. After all, is that what they see when they walk outside their own front door? My parents took my the Met as a kid and I never thought anythign strange about the nude artists. I recognized it was art. I never felt the need to streak because of what I saw, LOL.
    Anyway, I can see why some might be uncomfortable with it. But, please, let’s try to get away from the idea that nudity is ALWAYS a perversion. This is art, not playboy!

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