Today, I welcome Varya from Creative World of Varya for a post about teaching the impasto technique to kids. This is such a fun process art activity. I know I am planning on doing this with my girls very soon. I think they will love it! Thanks to Varya, and I hope you hop over to her page to see what else she has to offer on her blog about the creative development of children!
I must admit – I was never great at art, especially drawing and painting. I am rather on the average when it comes to those. However, I love creating, and I love making personalized cards and gifts.
Despite not being a great artist myself, I believe that introducing your child to art skills, like painting and drawing, is very important. You can read about Four Things to Remember when Raising an Artist on my blog; this was actually one of my first blog posts.
This is how I have naturally come to explore Impasto technique, and I think it is my most favorite way of painting. Of course, I am far from comparing my simple creations with Rembrandt, but Impasto is actually perfect for young children who are just learning to work with acrylic and oil paints. Moreover, this technique gives immense room for creativity and helps the child practice fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
When I first started introducing Impasto to my children, my oldest was 5+ and my younger one – 1+. They both enjoyed the process, and we made some pretty cards for friends!
So, let’s talk Impasto!
What is Impasto?
Impasto is a thick application of paint where you can see the ridges and lumps of paint. Artists often will use a palette knife to scrape the thick paint onto the surface. It ends up with brushstrokes that you can see and adds another dimension to the artwork.
Vincent van Gogh was one of the artist most known for using impasto. You can see it very clearly in Wheatfield with Cypresses.
Impasto Painting Activity for Kids
- Several brushes of different sizes (I would choose the ones with thicker handles for younger children, though my 1+ year old at that time handles a regular brush well!)
- 3-4 acrylic paint colors
- one big palette or several small ones
- butter knife
- Pieces of construction paper or cardstock
- Wet wipes and/or water in cups (we had both and we had to change water several times)
- Apron (optional)
1. Introduce your child to different sizes of brushes. Talk about painting, and if it is the first time for your child to paint, introduce some paintings on famous artists who painted with Impasto technique (Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Titian).
2. Start by adding some of the paint to the palette with the butter knife. Your child can help, and it is always a fun process.
3. Take a wider brush and show your child how to apply strokes with 1 base color. Make sure to cover as much of the area as possible.
4. Once step 3 is complete, take a less wide brush and choose another color which you will apply with the strokes on top. You don’t need to cover the whole area, just some spots.
5. Continue the same with the next color, but now sort of press harder when making strokes to have the lower and the base colors show. Sometimes colors will mix and a completely different color will appear.
6. Soon you will have a very beautiful result:
This is the card a recently made for a friend who lost her baby.
Once your child learns the basics of Impasto, you can start creating more complicated works (try flowers, stars, shapes). The beauty of this method is that the picture is almost in 3D and sort of pops out.
Don’t worry about it being perfect – it is the beginning and even if your child doesn’t show further interest in mastering this technique, it is always a great and more-or-less quick way of creating personalized cards for any event!
Varya is a mother of 2 beautiful girls and 1 handsome boy, an ESL teacher, a Montessori teacher and a dance teacher, an early educator, a breastfeeding consultant, a perinatal fitness, and a baby massage instructor. She blogs over at CreativeWorldofVarya.Com about creativity, craft, parenting, spiritual and moral education, cooking, multiculturalism, and multilingualism.