Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Edventure Family Art
Project #2:

Canvas Painting

Special Note: If you read the comments from yesterday's post (which I encourage all our visitors to always do since many readers of this blog contribute excellent commentary) an anonymous writer asked an obvious heartfelt question about how to approach a special needs family in public or just simply how to respond to the situation that I wrote about. At the suggestion of Gretchen (Simon's mom) I am going to answer that tomorrow with blog entry. In all honesty that maybe the most important question asked of us since we began blogging a little over a year ago.

If we are to help change the level of awareness in regards to special needs concerns then we as families better be prepared to open up our lives somewhat to the general public. In all honesty I was completely caught off guard Saturday and given the the theme of the day I feel a bit embarrassed for not being prepared. The simplest way to establish dialog with anyone is making them feel comfortable to approach us. That child who "confronted us" obviously did and I missed out on an opportunity to educate a young mind.

I want to pick my wife's brain tonight about her thoughts on this. We have quite different personalities. I'm (obviously) the extrovert while she's the introvert. Because of that she is much less likely to suffer "foot in mouth disease" so I'd like to get her opinion before blogging about it. So on to today's entry...

Introduction: Ben and I would like to share with you some fun easy-to-do projects that your family can complete at home! If you have an exceptional child (or children) these projects can be even more beneficial serving as a form of art therapy. Our family can honestly say that we have seen improvement in Ben’s communication and fine motor skills once we began a regular “art class” for him!

We have three projects we’ll tell you about to get your started. After that be as creative as possible! These craft ideas just scratch the surface when it comes to ideas for art therapy. Share them with your friends and be sure to check out our blog regularly for more ideas and news about our journey!

When we go shopping at craft stores we ALWAYS spend a little extra time roaming the aisles in hopes we find new materials to work with. The main thing to consider when trying new materials is TOXICITY! Generally if it can be cleaned up with soap and water you should be safe.

Materials: Fredrix Artist Canvas Panels, acrylic craft paint (our favorites are Delta Creamcoat and Anita’s All-Purpose Acrylic), cheap paint brushes, sponges, rags, old t-shirts (for a smock), clean up with soap and warm water.

Overview: Let your kids become a real artist! Essentially you are letting them paint like a professional painter only using less expensive materials. Encourage them to cover the entire canvas panel. The best way to achieve this is start small. Canvas panels usually come in sets of three beginning at 5” x 7” all the way up to 16” x 20”. Ben prefers 8” x 10” which allows him to reach all of the surface area. Also keep in mind that the smaller works are much easier to display.

Uses: Since all the panels are standard frame sizes they make a nice small adornment for a wall. You can also buy stick-on magnets to create “refrigerator art” or even better, an interchangeable gallery! A customer of ours came up with this idea. He glued Velcro to the back of the panels and to a wall in his home. He has several themes of ours including Christmas trees, dragonflies, hot peppers, and flowers. Depending on the season he can decorate accordingly!

Costs: the panels are usually sold in a pack of 3 for less than $4. Larger panels may cost up to $3 each. The 2-ounce bottles of paint are sold for less than $1 each. Watch for special pricing which can get them down to around 30 cents apiece! For children with limited motion like Ben let them use their hands or a small sponge. The paints are non-toxic so there are no worries about hands to the mouth.

Total investment: $15 or less depending on the size of the panels and colors you choose.

Where to find: A.C. Moore, Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, or any arts & crafts store.


j said...

You seriously are doing a wonderful thing Bennie. Art is good for the soul, as Ben proves to us again and again!

Gretchen said...

I agree with previous poster, and I never thought about letting my kids paint on canvas. I smell Christmas presents for grandparents!!! :)

Karen said...

What a great idea! I think our Ben would enjoy this when he's a little older.
BTW, Mark gave me a very special birthday present today handpainted by two awesome artists. It is just beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, Karen!!!

Hey Gretchen, go check out JC's blog! That young lady will blow you away!!! If she ever wants us to, me and Joan will adopt her.

Anonymous said...

You're doing some great community service here, Bennie! Christmas is usually a pretty tight time for us, but I think I can swing $15 or so on art supplies and let the kids go to it. These are some great ideas...keep em coming!

Anonymous said...

Eh...sorry for the double comment, but I just wanted to add that I am really looking forward to tomorrow's post. I often wonder just how to appropriately handle situations like these, and it will be nice to hear your opinion.