Every year, each class in Eliza’s school creates an art project that is then sold for auction at the school’s biggest fundraiser for the year. I’m on the team of parents organizing the project this year, and it’s been so fun to have so many people collaborating on a single project. We all brainstormed the idea for the project last Autumn. The projects that are useful typically are the most sought after, so one of the moms had an idea to make a corn hole toss (also called a “tailgate toss” and “bean bag toss”) that the kids could paint on. I thought it would be super cool to have the kids use thumb prints to create an impressionist look. Fast forward to this month, and we started getting the project in gear. One talented parent is sewing all of the bean bags, another cut the wood shapes for the toss and primed them black, and I was on a team with another mom to help the kids paint the thumb prints. We decided on having them do a background for French monuments (because Eliza’s school is French immersion).
When searching on Google Images for impressionist paintings of the Eiffel Tower, the room parent team for the project decided that the kid’s thumb prints would work best if we based the projects on work by Leonid Afremov. He sells original paintings, and I’ve purchased prints of the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triumph that these class projects were based on, as well as several small prints of his other paintings. Afremov also teaches lessons online, and I’m thinking of signing Eliza up for the beginner course. His work is beautiful.
The next step was a fun meeting to make sure we brought all of the right supplies to Eliza’s class for the big day: a tarp, smocks, tons of paint, styrofoam egg cartons to hold the paint, popsicle sticks to use as mixers, plenty of wipes, rulers, and inspiration picture. When we went to the class, my team mate and I each took one of the boards to supervise, and we rotated through one child per board at a time. We timed them so that every child would get an equal turn, and they had a lot of fun with it! (My favorite part was mixing the paint. Being able to get the right color mixed together makes me feel very accomplished.)
This is what the backgrounds looked like after they were dry and home with me. The kids did such a great job!
Now for my main job: painting on the monuments. It was so scary to paint on the kids’ backgrounds, because if I messed it up, there was no turning back! I sketched the outlines lightly in pencil first, using rulers and a protractor to get it just right. Then I painted in the base color (a mix of yellow, white, and gold) over the basic shape of the monuments.
The next day, after a second coat of the background color, I was ready to add the detail. This was a lot less nerve-wracking, because I could just easily paint over any mistakes I made on this step. It took a LOT of time, as this style requires a lot of layers and blending, but I’m happy with the results. All in all: much harder than it looks.
That’s my contribution to the Post-Impressionist Kid Thumb Print French Monument Corn Hole Toss Project! (I had such a hard time coming up with a post title because you really do need all of those words to explain what’s going on here.) Next I took it to another parent, who is painting white stripes where the green tape is currently and adding sealer. Then she’ll take it to the next parents who will add the wood boarder and the legs!
This year it’s my goal to complete 52 projects; an average of 1 a week. Projects can be art, crafts, home improvement, tech, gardening, or whatever else my brain ventures into. The point is to MAKE. This is project 7 of 52! Check out the other projects: 1 : Script Art, 2: Striped Scarf, 3: Pillow Covers, 4: Eliza’s Doctor Who Valentines, 5: DIY Periodic Table Mirrors, and 6: Band Pin Display.
P.S. This took WAY longer than I thought it would, but thankfully the kids thought it was great to do art while I was doing it. Eliza and Jonas had a paint session together the night I did the bases, then when I painted the detail Jonas was creating with Play Doh and then finger paint. I’ve found that he’s a lot more likely to want to do creative stuff if he can to it alongside me!