I often think kids art is best when they have look at a real artist’s work – it seems to stimulate their creativity and gives them ideas outside the usual pictures of a house and tree and bird they will often draw.
The Tree of Life is visually rich – the gold background with spiralling branches is lush and beautiful and is a great piece of art to recreate. I have only taken the central part of the painting as either side are some figures which represent desire and fulfilment – and are not really suitable for the under fives.
First we looked at the painting and discussed the techniques shown. Molly really loved the spirals and enjoyed practicing drawing spirals using black paper and gold pens. This produced a really lovely effect on it’s own.
We explored the painting in more detail and these are some of the questions I asked:
Why is it called the tree of life?
Why are there so many eyes in the picture? How many can you find? Who is always watching?
What is the darkest point in the picture? Why is the bird so dark? What might it mean? What is the opposite of life?
Can you spot the animals and birds hiding in the picture?
We also looked at some Asian and Islamic art for spirals and some of the animal images.
From this we decided to make a large painting. First the girls painted the background of an old canvas I had started to paint in my pre-child days. The twins enjoyed helping with this.
Once it was dry I used masking tape to make the tree. I was planning to get the girls to paint over the whole canvas and then peel the tape off to reveal the shape – but actually the tape looked really good as it was – producing a 3D effect. Older children could do this themselves – but it was a bit fiddly for my under sixes.
Charlotte gave the background another slightly darker coat of gold.
Molly painted the tree a dark brown.
Once these layers were dry we added the details.
We loved watching this animation which explains a little more about the art.