*denotes affiliate links. All images are affiliate links as well.
Although I’m not an especially artistic person, I have found a lot of real enjoyment in taking time to do some art with my kids. It can be so relaxing to just put on some music, gather at the table, and do something creative. Last year I even hosted a class in our home where we did art, poetry, philosophy, and other good stuff regularly with some other homeschooled middle and high schoolers.
Today I just wanted to share some of our favorite items that we’ve used recently when painting. I have found that having good-quality materials really makes a difference in the enjoyment and success of various art projects, and really the nicer stuff isn’t that much more costly than cheap stuff, and in many cases it is longer lasting. I know it definitely has a better outcome for the finished product, and I believe it makes a difference even to children, in how much they feel they enjoy and are good at artistic pursuits!
I know we are all used to seeing cheap little watercolor sets for sale at Walmart, but these Crayola Watercolor Mixing Sets* are nothing like those! I first found out about these from reading an art teacher’s blog, and my goodness, these are beautiful! The colors are vibrant, they mix nicely on watercolor paper, and they last a pretty long time. From the picture it doesn’t really look like you get that many colors, but actually there is a really nice range here. Reds, orange, yellow, blue, purples are all here.
Good watercolor paper is a must for doing justice to any attempts at watercolors. The texture and thickness of the paper is needed for such a wet medium. Regular paper tends to get over-wet, rips, and curls up at the edges. Watercolor paper like this will not. The generous size (9×12) of this pad is great for all sorts of watercolor work! (other sizes are also available)
If you are looking for a good set of acrylic paint that won’t break the bank and gives you A LOT of color choices, this one is really good! You get 18 two-ounce bottles, which has so far been enough for me to share with 10 students for many class sessions without running out of any colors yet. I prefer this set to buying individual large tubes because of price and variety available. It also is packed in a nice sturdy box that makes storage and use really simple, so I don’t have a bunch of paint bottles falling all over the place. Win!
Having good paint brushes is a must. Too often I have seen students stuck with flimsy little brushes that can’t hold their shape and lose bristles frequently, thus messing up their art work. These Royal & Langnickel brushes were recommended to me by an art teacher, and they do not disappoint! They feel good in the hand, have a nice weight to them, the bristles hold their shape, and the variety of brushes is very nice. The clear plastic case they come in has a zip-lock closure that so far has held up to our use quite well. The brushes are great for watercolors, acrylics, and tempera paints. With 12 brushes included in the pack, there is enough for several children to share quite easily. They clean up great with warm water and soap. We are very happy with these!
Not being incredibly intuitive about art myself, I have found the Deep Space Sparkle site to be very helpful to me in finding art projects that are simple enough for even a beginner to do. Often, when working with unfamiliar materials, having some project to copy or guide you is super helpful for getting started. You can learn so much by imitation (most, if not all, the great masters of art did the same!) and it helps you become familiar with what the materials can do, and soon you’ll be able to branch out and do more things on your own.
Here are a few of the things we’ve done with Deep Space Sparkle projects + the watercolor items I shared with you:
I hope that you will plan in some times to do art with your kids this year! They love it when we’ll sit down and enter in to what they are doing, and you’ll probably be delighted to see how much you enjoy it. 🙂
*Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”