Sunday, January 24, 2010

Art Glass

Many moons ago I blogged about turning an old picture frame into a felt board. At the time I said I'd share a few art activities to use the glass. Well finally here they are.

First up the materials.
In these pictures Rainbow is using my glass cutting board. The plastic 'glass' used in Ikea's photo frames are great. Alternatively you can use a picture frame with just glass in. Low windows are also great for the final two activities. Though glass is obviously dangerous.I must say that in the past Rainbow has just used the pane of glass but only I get to pick it up.

All of these activities use poster paint.

Art Glass 1: Finger Painting
Glass is excellent for finger painting. Finger painting is about the sensory experience. The joy of moving the paint and see the patterns and the colours that emerge. Finger painting on glass heightens the sensation as the paint glides over the glass. You can get a similar effect using paint on damp paper.

It took a long time for Rainbow to get into finger painting. You can sort of see her trepidation in her raised right hand. (Yes she's definitely a lefty.) She enjoys finger painting on glass and will often use her whole hand.

Not all art needs to have a product but if you want one you can always take a print.

The nice thing about prints from glass is they are almost textured.

Art Glass 2 : Print Making
Once the glass is covered in paint a picture can be drawn using a variety of materials - cotton buds (as shown), fingers, pieces of card (cut like a comb)...This task can include representation design or just experiential making it excellent for very little children. Experiential is also really important for kids of all ages. A chance to just focus on the sensation and getting to know the possibilities of the materials.
We've printed on to coloured paper here which gives a different effect.
Art Glass 3: Collaborative Painting

This can be a collaboration between two children or an adult and a child. You sit on opposite sides of the table with the glass standing between you. I hold it at the top with my left hand. Each person has a different colour paint. You then take turns adding to a collaborative drawing with lots of talking about what you're adding. It's great in that you can add new ideas but can't disturb the other's additions as they are on the other side of the glass. You can also colour in or add patterns on top of the other person's contribution.

Art Glass 4: Imaginative Portraits
Take turns holding the glass with your nose pressed against it. The other person then adds on facial features - real or imagined. In this case Rainbow is an elephant. When Rainbow paints for me she tends to paint on my existing facial features (eyes, nose, tusks - just seeing if you're paying attention.) Her way of doing it is probably great for extending kids who are just starting out at representational drawing.

In the next day or two I'll show you what we're doing with these art works.


  1. All of these are so lovely and inspirational :-) No.3 reminds me of The Shape Game by Anthony Browne (the UK's current children's laureate), which I reviewed last September on Playing by the book if you want to look it up. The Imaginative Portraits are brilliant - I've been thinking about a little art project to do no Tuesday when we have (little) friends round and I think we'll try this.

  2. Hi Zoe, I have read your entry on the shape game and you could play that game on the glass. It would work very well. That entry of yours was one of the first I read as I came to your site to see the little touch and feel book that M made for J. I'm actually thinking about helping Rainbow make one for Moonshine's birthday.

  3. Mono prints are so fun and instant gratification for a little one. The portrait idea is wonderful! Great post!

  4. I love "imaginative portraits"!! have been sooo busy.

  5. Lovely, Kristine! Enjoyed the print-making series of pictures very much as we have been experimenting with it as well... Imaginative painting is great too!