On President’s Day, Monday 2/16/2015, we invited Anne Marie Boroughs (artist and preschool teacher) to the house to do an art workshop with us. Anne Marie had previously told me about her special technique of using one’s fingertips to make impressionist style paintings, and I had immediately thought to myself that having her make one with us would be an amazing experience to share with Will and Ben. The perfect opportunity to do it arose with William’s 12th birthday, and since it was his gift, he got to pick the motive and decided to go for a hummingbird (his “spirit animal.”)
The process started with Will picking a photo of a hummingbird to use as inspiration. It took him about ten seconds to find one:
Anne Marie showed up and we had lunch together. Afterwards we set up the canvas and all the supplies. Anne Marie drew a grid over both the photo as well as the canvas, then numbered the squares. We (Will, Ben, Chuck, Anne Marie and I) each picked one or two squares from the photo and started to sketch on the corresponding square on the canvas. No erasing allowed! We learned that it doesn’t matter if the drawings are exact, they will just work as a guide.
Once we were finished with our pencils, we got a lesson in color study. We learned what the primary colors are, and how a color wheel works. After that the truly fun part began! We started mixing up the colors and painted the bird, flowers, and background with their OPPOSITE colors on the color wheel (at this point using brushes.) It was kind of odd to see green flowers and red background, but the purpose is to make the art more interesting and have the background layer make the top layer “POP.”
We finished the bottom layered, drank some coffee and let the paint dry. We used acrylics so it dried pretty quickly. At least dry enough to make the top part. This is where our fingertips got to get busy! We simply dipped them in the paint and lightly tapped them onto the painting. Wow it was so awesome to feel the paint on your fingers, mix colors up and go “dot dot dot” over the canvas.
The entire process took less than two hours and was amazingly fun! I was a tad nervous if the boys would enjoy it, but Will said “this is kinda fun” and Ben said “that’s probably the best painting I’ve ever seen.” It makes me so happy that Will is always going to have this piece of art that has such a special meaning and story behind it. (And I’m going to print this blog post and tape it to the back of the painting.) The final result is pretty darn nice, if I may say so myself. Thank you Anne Marie for giving us all this fun experience…it’s good to have talented friends!