Acrylic Ice Cream Cone Paintings

I think my students are picking up on my love of colors.


I may have said this once, or a hundred times, but most importantly I want my students to have fun and positive experiences while they explore art.


But, I used to be a lawyer, and that Type A side of me is always trying to teach basic art concepts.


With this lesson we got an introduction to painting standing up at an easel with acrylic paint.



And a lesson on color theory and value.


Hope these brighten your day.


XO, Jamie

Acrylic Pour Painting

As I explained to my students, I don’t have a great appreciation for modern art.  A lot of the time I just really don’t get it.  But I do have an appreciation for expressive art – art that tells a story, makes you feel something, shares someone’s unique view of the world.

I have had my eye on acrylic pour painting for a while and thought this would be a great medium for the students to explore expressive art.



We started by talking about how color and lines can convey different moods or feelings.  For example, red may make you feel excited while blue can make you feel cold or calm.  We looked at how different styles of lines can impart different feelings too – jagged lines can make you feel stressed, wavy ones calm and irregular ones can make you feel uncomfortable.


I then had all of the students write their names on a piece of paper and a feeling or mood on the back side.  This was for their information only.  I encouraged them to express that feeling with their art work.


The Steps

Our experimentation with acrylic pouring involved these steps:

First, I mixed up a solution of 1 part acrylic paint (really any cheap paint is fine) and 3 parts pouring medium.  I added a few drops of water so it had the consistency of heavy cream.  For every one cup of this mix, I added 3 drops of silicone.  I wanted to keep the palette limited, so I mixed up a few ocean colors and one color of a transparent gold acrylic to have the effect of sand.  Just for fun, I mixed up a small container of red.


Here are links to the products I used on Amazon:

I also mixed a container of white paint that did not have any silicone added to it!

Second, pour the colored mixtures on a surface.

Add the white paint and gently swipe the white across the surface of the colored paint.

Watch the cells appear!  The less you swipe the better (you will have bigger cells) but the students had a hard time not wanting to play in the liquid paint.

Add marks with a palette knife and lastly you can set the top layer and bring up more cells by using a blow torch (don’t worry parents, the students skipped this part).

Here is a video with a more detailed looked at the process:

Here is some more of the work.  Can you find yours?

Since I had extra paint, my family made a group painting during Thanksgiving.


Painted Papers and Zentangle Hands

For our first project of this year, (I am a little late posting this one) the Wednesday Elementary Art Class completed a two-step project of Zentangle Hands and Painted Papers.


Color Lesson and Intro to Acrylic Paint:

We completed the Background Papers for our Zentangle hands while learning about color and with a brief introduction to acrylic paint.

We talked about warm and cool colors, and how cool colors recede when you look at them and warm colors come towards you in a painting.

I also wanted them to be able to “play” with acrylic paint as we will move into using it in more directed ways as the class proceeds.

What we did after we put on our aprons:

  1. Paint on a solid color. Paint off the paper with long strokes.
  2. Add second color paint  in swirls, circles, stripes
  3. Add texture with:
  • sponges
  • clay scrapers – just one time through or lines disappear
  • rollers
  1. Splattering with white paint and added other designs.

Zentangle Hands:

The painted papers were the backgrounds for our Zentangle Hands.


I picked this project as a nice easy starter project to get them drawing and an introduction to line.  It also incorporates the PTA Reflections Contest theme “Within Reach.”

We started by talking about Zentangles as an expressive art form.

  • Use of repetitive basic drawing patterns.
  • We looked at some of the 110 Official Zentangle Patterns
  • There are more than 300 Certified Zentangle Teachers

We then talked about how our drawings can reflect the theme “Within Reach.”   We wrote down 5 things that these words mean  and then translated those things into small zentangle patterns.

We traced our own hands and we were off and drawing.

I love their creations!


Fall Leaves Finger Painting

To celebrate Fall, the Wednesday Elementary Art Class completed a Fall Leaves Finger Painting.



It was such a beautiful day that we set the easels up in the front yard.

We used Daniel Smith Acrylic paint on Canvas Sheets.  The backgrounds were painted with brushes – we drew a horizon line, painted the sky darker to lighter, the ground and then added a loosely drawn tree stump and branches.


Next we added the leaves with finger paint.  We went step by step starting with umber as a background leaf color and working our way up to the warmest oranges and yellows last.


Then we added hints of cerulean blue  – if you have seen my paintings you know I love this color.  Adding the unexpected touches of this bright blue helps move the eye around the


The paintings turned out just beautiful and you know it’s a great class when you hear “this is so fun!”



Acrylic Paintings

It is so awesome to be back to teaching!  I love the energy that these little beings bring to my studio –

It took me 4 years to paint like Raphael, but a life time to paint like a child.
-Pablo Picasso

This week the elementary class completed an acrylic painting of an electrical guitar.  The students learned a lot from this process.  It started with an observational drawing of an electric guitar.  We looked at a real guitar and drew it as accurately as we could.  As one student said, “it’s a lot harder to draw guitars than flowers.”


We transferred our drawings to a canvas and then began the painting process.  We talked about complimentary colors for the background and the guitar, color mixing and shading.


They learned that it is better to make darker colors by mixing in a complimentary color instead of just adding black.


It was so much fun and their paintings turned out awesome!

Thanks for creating with me!


Teen Still Life Paintings

As part of our Acrylic Painting series, the Teens painted fruit still life paintings.  Here is a peek at their work.

We warmed up by doing some exercises with brush strokes, surrounding color and layering of colors.

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They picked the fruit they wanted to paint and the background colors.

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We talked about using complimentary colors to create shadow and they practiced color combinations that would work for their paintings.

Then they got busy painting. They all seemed to really enjoy this project and I love the paintings they created.



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We framed the paintings in clear glass.





We have added a new Tuesday night Teen Class that still has a few spots in it.

Register for Weekly Teen Art Classes (grades 6th – 9th)

Tuesdays 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm  – Limited Spaces Available

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See you next week as we continue to work on our Figurines.


Teen SunFlower Paintings

It has been so fun to share my love of painting with the Teen class.

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In December, we started painting sunflowers with acrylic paint in a Van Gogh style.


Not only did this introduce us to a new medium and artist, this project was extra special to me because I am dedicating it to my dear friend Marcia.  Marcia is an amazing artist who has shared her gifts of art and service with the world.  We used her Sunflower Painting as inspiration for our acrylic paintings.

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The Teens have really taken to acrylic painting.  I hope you are enjoying the art they are bringing home.


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We have added a new Tuesday night Teen Class that still has a few spots in it.

Register for Weekly Teen Art Classes (grades 6th – 9th)

Tuesdays 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm  – Limited Spaces Available

[shopify product=]


See you next week as we start a new figurine project with Paverpol.

Elementary Van Gogh Paintings

Elementary Art Classes Van Gogh Paintings

We pulled out our easels and brightened up The Studio this week with our Van Gogh style sunflower acrylic paintings.


Art Studio

Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh was born in Holland in 1853. He had two bothers and three sisters.  He was closest to his younger brother, Theo. Vincent loved to draw as a child and by the time he was 27 years old, he devoted his whole life to painting.

When Vincent first began painting, he painted images from his surroundings, which were a bit gloomy. He used dark, sad colors.

When he moved to Paris he noticed the work of the famous Impressionist painters like Renoir and their use of bright, unmixed colors.  Artists were placing opposing colors next to each other to bring out their intensity. Yellow would be painted next to purple, reds next to greens, etc.

Van Gogh started using brighter colors and painting with short brushstrokes.   He was part of a group of painters called Post-Impressionists.

He painted hundreds of pictures, sometimes finishing a single painting in a day. But then he became unwell and he moved into a hospital so others could take care of him.   Van Gogh painted seriously for about 9 years and painted almost 900 paintings. Sadly he only sold one painting before he died at age 37.  He died in 1890.

We looked at Van Gogh’s Sunflowers

Yellow was the color of happiness for Van Gogh.  Sunflowers was painted during a rare period of excited optimism, while Van Gogh awaited the arrival of his hero, the avant-garde painter Paul Gauguin.  The painting was intended to impress Gauguin and was a gesture of friendship.

Sunflowers, 1888, Oil on Canvas, Post-
Impressionism, National Gallery of London

Our Sunflower Paintings in a Van Gogh Style

We started our project last week by drawing our own versions of this famous painting by Van Gogh.  We looked at the painting and at details in some silk sunflowers that decorated our easels. We then transferred our drawings to a stretch canvas and painted our Sunflowers in a Van Gogh style.

Painting Like Van Gogh

Van Gogh used short, choppy brush strokes to apply colors to his canvas. His idea was to place his colors on the canvas and allow the eye to blend the colors.  To do this, scoop up a color you like and paint a few horizontal strokes on the paper. Then, pick a color that closely matches the first color and paint in the same way.  Repeat

By Katie, Age 9
The Gritty Details of our Painting Steps

This was a big project for the kids and pushed most of them out of their comfort zones as we were standing at easels to paint for the first time and this was a very involved painting.   They did great and were very impressed with their accomplishments.  I can’t share all of the images as some were sent home wrapped in paper as Christmas Presents but here is a peak at a few that the kids were happy to share!







More Gritty Details of our Painting Steps:  If you really want to know what was involved read the following!

1.    Paint the background – Dab paintbrushes in white and lemon yellow.  We talked out not mixing the two pigments together and leaving traces of pure pigment in the mixture.  We did this by loading paint onto the brush and painting two horizontal lines and two vertical lines.  Flip and do the same with paint on back of brush.  Fill in the background.
2.    Paint the table – We added burnt sienna to our palette and warm yellow to paint the table.   We painted the table in the same manner adding longer strokes to make it look like wood.
3.    Paint the vase – We added orange to our palette and painted the upper part of the vase using medium yellow and orange, mixing in some burnt sienna toward the edges to make the vase look curved.  We painted the lower part of the vase with lemon yellow, medium yellow, and white again mixing in some burnt sienna toward the edges to make the vase look curved.  We dabbed white highlights on the vase.
4.    Paint large flower-  We added red and burnt umber and painted the petals by dipping paint brush in one color and then into another color.   We painted inside of the petals with medium yellow and lemon yellow, the edges with a dab of red.  We added some burnt sienna to the petal that was closest to the center.  Add a mixture of white and medium yellow highlights with a palette knife.  Center of flowers were painted with burnt umber and medium yellow.  Highlight with white and medium yellow.  Optional to add a dab of cerulean blue.
5.    Paint round flowers:  Using the palette knife we picked up medium yellow and a dab of red and painted in a circular pattern with light strokes pulling outward from the center of each blossom.
6.    Paint the leaves:  We add green and painted the leaves by starting with the outside of the leaves and a dab of burnt umber and green on the brush.  Paint the outside of the leaves then using the same dirty brush, dip into yellow and paint inside of the leaves.  We painted the stems in the same manner.
7.    Optional – we traced over the flower petals of the big flower with burnt sienna.
8.    Lastly we signed our paintings.


Thank you for sharing your student with me and have a very Merry Christmas,